Since my arrival…

It’s been all go since I arrived in New Mexico on the 6th June.   Paintings to finish, article to prepare for,  (more on that when it’s published),  tending to our somewhat overgrown garden and the very occasional foray into DIY!  In addition to which I have been catching up with dear friends and family and my lovely husband (Barry McCuan) of course.  It’s been eighteen months since I was here last and it’s lovely to be back, but it is also quite strange and takes a little getting used to, a little like a parallel universe!  Driving on the wrong side of the road certainly concentrates the mind for sure!

Spending the odd half hour in the hammock under our Black Locust trees has certainly helped me slide back into New Mexico life.  The warmth of the air, (the heat of the midday sun), the cool evenings and mornings feel so good to me.

Here are a few photos to start with…   The dust devil photo was taken on our drive back from Albuquerque on the day of my arrival.   Amazing to watch, as it slowly made its way across the arid landscape.   I have been enjoying taking photos around our house.  The strong shadows created by our coyote fence have particularly intrigued me and one of our Agave plants flowered in my absence, leaving a most beautiful ‘living’ sculpture.  The wildlife has been making their presence known and I love the way the moth matches our adobe walls!   However, I am rather glad that the fierce looking Assasin or Robber Fly stays outside. (Thanks to Russell Stebbings at the Zoology Museum, Cambridge for identifying this creature).   It’s the first time I have ever seen one in New Mexico.  

I have been to the Santa Fe Etching studio only once so far (yes, Eric, we will be back this week!), where I created a tiny soft ground.   I will leave you with the view from my hammock! 

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Back in Santa Fe

I have been back in Santa Fe now for just over a week.  It’s good to be back of course and now jet lag has gone, I can enjoy being here.  I did manage to stay awake long enough to go etching last Thursday though.  I couldn’t possibly miss that!  Thursdays with the etching group was one of the things I missed the most about not being in Santa Fe (besides my husband of course!).  Not only do we get to use the facilities and materials for $10 per session, we also get dinner cooked by Eric’s fair hands!

Just a few of the Santa Fe etchers

The Santa Fe Etching Club first began meeting in 1980, in Eli Levin’s studio.   Formed by Levin and artist Sarah McCarty, with the patronage of print collector Dr. Robert Bell, the club promotes traditional intaglio printmaking.   Eric Thomson, the Director of Argos Gallery which exhibits many of the prints created at the club, also organises the wonderful exhibitions of prints from the amazing personal collection of Dr. Bell.  This last month we have been lucky enough to be surrounded by some of Goya’s incredible prints and if you are in Santa Fe it is well worth a visit.  There is something quite special about creating your own prints at a table with a Goya by your side.   Here is a pdf for you download of an article on the Goya exhibit. 

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Ducky – Etching

I am at the second stage of my Ducky etching. Here I am wiping off the excess printing ink from the copper plate.

First Stage

Second Stage

Close up of the Second Stage

I won’t be able to go to etching this week… not happy about that, but I have more exciting news. At 7.30 am I have to go to the Convention Centre in Albuquerque for my Oath of Allegiance ceremony, so we are staying Albuquerque the night before. I shall be an American Citizen on Friday! Last night I dreamt (just found out that this is an British English term), that I arrived early, but then almost missed the ceremony because I wasn’t paying attention! It’s funny what goes on in our minds when we are sleeping…. and when we are awake!!

Another wonderful evening etching.


I have been working on this new plate for a few weeks now. We only go to etching once a week on Thursdays and usually after running around Santa Fe doing errands first, so we usually arrive late afternoon and work until 10 or 11. It’s hard to go home and thanks to Eric, who always has some food cooking, we can stay the whole evening without interruption! I decided this time to methodically etch a plate without aquatint or dry point. So the bottom photo displays a steady progression of the results of adding the wax ground, etching the lines, cleaning the plate and printing the plate, then adding another wax ground and doing the whole process again and again. I think it helps with a greater understanding of the process. So many times in the past, especially with aquatint I have ended up with the plate being too dark and I have had to burnish a lot. I like this method, it has a little more control. I think it’s almost finished, but I need to just darken the shadows and add a few more highlights.