Letters to Tuvia Y2/#sol17:Art Collecting 7 (March 7, 2017)

Morning T and Slicers,

Just one week ago I was on a United flight, with a seat in  Business Class (heaven with air miles)  heading home from 2 weeks in my other home and I was ready to be back in my own space. We were just beginning our month together, slicers.  Just one week ago.

Jet lag is still hanging on.  Last night I was sleeping by 9 and  up this morning by 4:30. I was supposed to be out and on the road by 8 to visit a tech program at Dover Middle School, about an hour+ away, but  I woke to a text from my buddy Jack, sadly share news of an emergency  and we would have to reschedule. Yes, I was disappointed but hey, as teachers we live in a dynamic world.  We put another date on the calendar. I can afford to be fleixble.

So instead, I took a walk around my apartment, enjoying the natural light appearing on  the art work covering  all my  walls, one factor in moving from my last apartment. There was  just too many paintings stored in closets and hidden behind doors and Tuvia was also pushing for a larger space, remember?

Most of the art on my walls are orginial pieces, created by artist-friends and artists I’ve come to know once I was hooked on one of their creations.

Here’s a story about Alvaro Cardona-Hines.

Probably 30 years ago I took my first trip to Taos, New Mexico just to be in Georgia O’keefe country and write with Natalie Goldberg in her workshop. I was a big fan for her writing books. We would be housed  at the  famous Mable Dodge Inn. YAY!!!!!

Natalie and workshop part was a dud.  She was way too full of herself and talked through most of her writing sessions, but I was in love with Taos…. LOVE!!!!

Alvaro knew Natalie well. The artistic network in New Mexico was just amazing and he was an invited quest who presented a workshop where we could finally write and share our pieces with him and our community.   We all had instant crushes on this Costa Rican guy who wrote, who painted and who knew how to wear a hat.

As he concluded  his workshop, he casually invited us all to visit his home/studio in Truchas, a small town close to Taos. I drove my small rented car, filled with 3 friends to his place the next afternoon.

He offered us wine and graciously  walked us to his studio.  He painted, we drank, we explored his work. He was interested in us. We were spellbound. Soon we were selecting our favorites from his work that covered the walls.  One by one each of us selected a piece that we loved. He made it very easy for us to decide. He would  allow then us to pay something monthly depending on what we could afford.  If, once we were back home and decided we didn’t like the piece we could send it back with a full refund or maybe one day, when we were back in New Mexico and stopped by and found something we liked even better we could swap it.  And, in my case, he would ship the art free of charge.

How could anyone say no to that?  Of course, my piece, his version of a Picasso was of a group of circus  performers preparing for  the start of a  show, just perfect for me and my high school casts.  I was sure I would never send it back.

Over the next 10 years I made a number of trips to New Mexico.  I always stopped to see Alvaro and his painter- wife Barbara, for meals, for more art (all those pieces above), for amazing conversations.

We met when they came to New York for exhibts, I sent friends to meet and look at his work, Tuvia just missed meeting him when we drove through Truchas on our trip in the west and sadly, a few months ago, Alvaro joined Tuvia. But both are with me here, now and always.

I am rich… so rich in life  adventures…

Bonnie S.


7 thoughts

  1. Love that last pic of you and Alvaro. We love Georgia O’Keefe country too. We went there more than 30 years ago too. We loved stopping by O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch. And you’ve given me a new slicing idea – write about art you love.

  2. I love hearing this special story, and your picture with Alvaro. And I love Taos, have been there many times with friends, family & students. New Mexico is a special place to go & not far for a long weekend. You’ve made me want to go again, Bonnie. I haven’t been that way in a while. Happy memories for us both.

  3. It is this writerly observation that makes me notice: “…who knew how to wear a hat.” I love that observation as it conveys a sense of confidence, amor. It is good to take a break from Trump and the nonsense and admire art on your walls and elsewhere.

  4. That’s the thing about art, there’s always a story behind it and it speaks to the one looking at it. Awesome story of your travels to NM.

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