Art in New Mexico!

Belated posting... Traveled to New Mexico in late July with Mum, Daughter and Niece packed into the intrepid "Monk" Toyota Matrix with a (borrowed) large soft-sided turtle green car top carrier strapped tightly to the roof. (Thanks Karen!)

The 16 hour trip was long but beautiful and funny and lively with two 15 y/0's in the back seat.  We arrived in the ever astonishingly beautiful Jemez Canyon while there was still daylight and were able to drink in the deep red cliffs and rich green of the river plain.

As you may remember, the area just to the north of the Jemez Valley, as close as the Los Conches Trail Head all the way to Las Alamos had been ablaze for weeks so the entire forest system was closed to ALL activities - fishing, hiking, camping, hot springs, etc. 

Without our usual diversions, we set about working on a project in the Village of Jemez Springs that would entertain us for a portion of almost every day.  We re-painted the wall mural on the side of the Laughing Lizard Cafe.  As the nearest store is over 45 minutes away, we shopped for colors here in Lawrence; guessing at shades that would match the original mural.  We found some reeeeally old exterior paint that my Daughter Maddie managed to reconstitute and by blending it with some of the new paints, we were able to freshen up the old images and put in some new sparkle!

Here is what it looked like before we began:

The mural shows a fanciful Laughing Lizard Cafe, with two outside lizards enjoying hot beverages, a waiter, one indoor counter lounger, a small one-top lizard at an indoor table to the far left and a skateboarding lizard zooming by on the right.

Thanks to my Niece, Photographer Ruby Love, for providing before and process pictures!

It was once a lovely whimsical piece painted at least 15 years ago by Coral Clark - the same artist who did all the sweet ivy and morning glory accents on the inside of the Lizard.

I wanted to preserve the composition and the general style, while adding some little extras from my own aesthetics.  In additon, a few new characters appeared on the scene.

Since the Village of Jemez Springs has fewer than 500 residents, the mural painting was big news... at least 1/2 of the cars slowed down and made comments or gave the thumbs up as I was working and I even got my picture in the local paper!

Here are some in-progress pics taken by my Niece Ruby:

My daughter, Maddie, mixing colors...

The stack of cafe cups getting new highlights:

Here are some of the new features!

Roger's Slice of Pinon Pie:

Jim's Slice of Chocolate Cake: (look closely at the glass dome....)

A sneaky little Boston Terrier:

The new Chef wielding his whisk, based loosely on a portrait of Elliot from the Laughing Lizard Cookbook:

Here are few more highlights and then a full "After" photo!

The lettering got a nice new coat of paint and a shadow effect applied....
The awning, counter stools and lizard limbs all had extra highlights and shadows added...

All the lizards now have cartoon googlie eyes....

This lovely lady had a hair bling upgrade, from a sweet bow to a fanciful fascinator....

This ageless fellow scoots by with a new compliment of yellow spots on his back.... is he related to any of the other adult lizards by any chance?

It was an honor to contribute to the Laughing Lizard's facade, to work on a piece of this size and to hopefully do justice to the original artist.  Thanks go out to all my helpers and all the drive-by encouragement from locals!

If you're ever in the area, please stop by and enjoy the fine fare, views and overnight accomodations offered at the Laughing Lizard Inn and Cafe!

Although there had not been rain of any significance in almost a year, by the end of our (too short) week, the afternoon thunderheads started deluging the canyon, making the Jemez River run not red, as expected, but black as the rain washed all the soot down from the burned mountains to the north.  The forests slowly re-opened and the locals are now welcoming the end of summer season visitor rush to shore up for winter in this seasonally-based economic region.

I have been instructed, in no uncertain terms, to add a representative of the Pug family to the mural on my next visit!

xxoo Liza

1 comment:

  1. That is totally fantastic! I love the whole mural and your additions added a lot of interest. What a great job!


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