Step into My Dream… A new landscape painting and life in Santa Fe revisited

"Southwest with Adobe", 36" x 30", oil on canvas, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2014

“Southwest with Adobe”, 36″ x 30″, oil on canvas, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2014. Please click for larger view.

I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, painting away, the year before I got married, and often traveled the roads of the northern part of the state by car or bicycle for the pure love of discovering this amazing new natural beauty. Pursuing my painting vocation, those landscape views seen first-hand fueled my love of color and light that stays with me today.

South West Adobe, detail

South West Adobe, detail. Click for larger view.

At some point I realized that I could not paint from photographs I took on the road, that never did justice to the real life places. So I eventually crossed over to learning to commit a scene or place very loosely to memory. This is liberating for a painter like me who is inspired by imagination after the likes of artists before me like Chagall, Klee and Dufy.

I you are a new artist, you may begin to notice the paintings you find intriguing, time after time, amidst all the hundreds of images you study, maybe in art school or on your own. This painting below, by Paul Klee is one I do love to see time and time again. Now, all these years later, I realize how I was drawn to his sense of color and value explorations.


"Fire in the Evening 1929", Paul Klee, oil, 37 x 36 cm.

“Fire in the Evening 1929”, Paul Klee, oil, 37 x 36 cm.

"Orange Reverie", detail from Acrylic Painting 2014, Karen Gillis Taylor

“Orange Reverie”, detail from Acrylic Painting 2014, Karen Gillis Taylor

If a painter imagines a place or a city out within the vast country of mountains and forests, why not bring it to a canvas or image in paints? I mimic the colors of nature. I love her harmony and light, and great surprises happening so often out here in my vantage point of Niwot Colorado. I am blessed to see it, envision, and then paint what I see in my mind’s eye.

Collage of my color and friendship inspirations from our American West. December 2014. KGT

Collage of my color and friendship inspirations from our American West. December 2014. KGT

This collage is about my love of New Mexico, Colorado, and my girl friend Judy, who is the most hospitable person in Santa Fe, and a dear friend from college days at CU in Boulder. We lost track of each other for many years and then reunited a decade later when I asked myself, “why did my friend Judy go to Santa Fe and never looked back?” I hit the road on an adventure in my little red Fiat. (FIAT = Fix It All The Time, said my dear brother-in-law Gary, who kept me on the roads. I love you, Gary!)

Judy showed me her Santa Fe. We visited all the galleries on Canyon Road and walked the Alameda river trek, up and down. It was glorious September, and the frosty mornings amidst the golden outdoor leaves called homes to stoke fireplaces with pinion wood, creating the enticing aroma of early fall kiva surroundings of warmth. Kitchens went back to cooking pots of red and green chili dishes to warm the soul. Pretty much heaven to me.

When I set out the words, “Step Into My Dream”, I am hoping to share a vision with people that respond to art, and color. My Dream is about cultivating a new life, every day, that starts with joys of my past and hopes for the future.

What is your Dream? The dream that is yours alone?

We are all unique people possessing something special to give, first to figure out on our own, and then maybe to share with others if we feel called to do that.

It gives me joy to hear back from those who do love color and images that might evoke feelings of warmth and inspiration. What inspires you?

The color palette of Northern New Mexico is one worth exploring for students interested in becoming what some might call a “colorist”. Perhaps I can help with that effort in some way.


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6 Responses to “Step into My Dream… A new landscape painting and life in Santa Fe revisited”

  1. Judy Says:

    Hi Karen,
    It’s 2:00 AM,woke from a dream, couldn’t get back to sleep, perfect to be reading of your dreams and creations.
    It makes me remember that feeling of expansion, where everything is possible and exciting. You seem to be able to access that place more than anyone I know.
    Thanks for reminding me, sometimes I loose that essence of me, forget how unique I am, filling days with all the shoulds and have to’s.
    You have your priorities in order…Creativity FIRST!
    Love, Judy


  2. Melanie McNeil Says:

    I visited Taos in September, my first time in New Mexico. It won’t be my last. The sky is different there, held up like a tent on posts by the mountains, unlike how it snuggles like a blanket, close to the ground and broad, in the midwest. I’m learning color and value and courage. The last three years have taught me much about all. I continue to surprise and excite myself with the change in my art. Others may not notice it (or they might…) but I do. My husband does.

    Thanks for the post and showing the Klee again. It’s a beautiful, inspiring work.


    • karen Says:

      Melanie, it’s so nice to hear of your growth and newfound courage. Aren’t new surprises in our own art wonderful? The New Mexico skies offer such a gorgeous light, it’s hard not to return. You picked a good time to visit Taos!


  3. RMQ Says:

    I lived in New Mexico for about seven years, in a little former ghost town on the back road midway between Santa Fe and Albuquerque in an area known as the “little hills”. Though I had not even begun to think of becoming a painter at that time, the magic of that land is still with me and emerges when I least expect it. These paintings of yours capture the color and feeling of it so emphatically and beautifully!

    Thanks for posting the Klee. It’s interesting how much more brilliant the color is here on the web than in the reproduction I have in a book of his work (even on quality glossy paper).


    • karen Says:

      Hi Rennie- those back roads in New Mexico reveal gems of places. I am envious you got to live there for 7 years. My time there was too short. You did say it, the magic of that land. Hence the “Land of Enchantment” state motto is so right. Isn’t it amazing how some of us find our way into painting, sometimes unexpectedly? I love hearing people’s stories about this. It did happen to me too.
      It’s wonderful when a place stays with a person, as you said it did you. I looked at your abstract paintings, by the way, and enjoy their sensitivity and intrigue.
      Thanks for your comments! -Karen

      Liked by 1 person

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