When I Discovered I Was A Transcendental Artist

It was 2003 and I was invited to be artist in residence at the legendary Harwood Museum in Taos, New Mexico.  Little did I know what to expect upon arriving in Taos, a southwestern town famous for its art galleries, attracting hundreds of artists who ended up living there, and whose art subjects were primarily themes of the American southwest: sagebrush and mountain sunsets, native American dancers and cowboys on the open range, adobe architecture, and so on. My accommodations at the Harwood were spare: I bought some chairs and rugs to warm up the tiny adjacent apartment where I would be living for at least three months.

While in Taos and roaming the galleries and bookstores I came across a book "Pioneer Artists of Taos' that featured some of the work of Emil Bistram, a painter who lived and worked in Taos in the later years of his life, and who is credited with have a significant influence on the artistic growth of Taos in the 1950's through the 1970's. He was co-founder of the Taos Art Association, but more importantly was a founder of the Transcendental Painting Group in Santa Fe, whose goal was to "bring painting beyond the appearance of the physical world."

The book I found showed one painting of Bistram's that could have been mistaken for one of mine painted a few years before, not knowing about either him or the Transcendental movement in America he helped to create. BIstram had actually worked at the Harwood, most likely stayed in the same apartment I was now living in, and the museum honored him by holding a retrospective of his work in 1959. As I lit the Kiva fireplace that kept my Harwood apartment warm at night that cold Fall of 2003, I raised a glass to Bistram for helping me discover what to call my art. One of my works, "Man's Link to the Universal Mind", still resides at the Harwood in the museum's permanent collection.


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