Saturday, June 30, 2012

Family Art, Kenyon Thomas

I wanted to share a bit about my father Kenyon Thomas and his artwork.  He is a master ceramic artist who also paints in pastel and is a fine musician too.  It is very difficult to find words to describe my dad.  He has never written an artist bio and refuses to share about his artwork in a statement, so how can I adequately express his art vision when he is such a private man?  I know he has never pursued art for the glory of being an artist, instead he believes in creating for the sake of the beauty of the artwork itself and that is the greatest satisfaction of all.  He is always true to himself in his art and has developed a very unique style, combining the fine art of pottery making with intricately designed paintings and modern motifs executed precisly on each plate, ginger jar, vase or whatever form for his subject matter.  Every part of the process is done by him alone, from mixing the dry clay, kneading it, throwing it and of course several firings and painting.  He has spent a lifetime developing and perfecting his craft. 

A favorite piece, hanging on my wall,
Crow and Poppies plate, 16"x16".

Not only is he a ceramic artist, he also paints landscapes in pastel.  

Landscape in Pastel

Please be sure to check out his site for more paintings and pottery:

front side

Sunday, June 24, 2012

First Light and the Open Road

sarah siltala
 "First Light"   11"x14"

I am an avid road trip out the car window picture taker.  I always have my camera close at hand to capture a moment.  It drives my family nuts, and on a recent trip when I forgot the memory card for my little camera in the computer (argh) my husband breathed a sigh of relief.  There would be no distractions on my side of the car and oohing and aaahing at the passing scenery and no begging to pull over just for a minute so I can capture a captivating scene.  Just yesterday in the car he said "I love how you make me feel like a tourist no matter where we go!". 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Randall Davey House II

Randall Davey house in Summer

I thought I'd post a few more pics of the intriguing Randall Davey house where my sister was married.  I had to research Randall Davey to find out more about him and his artwork.  Davey was a prominent artist in New York City in the early 1900s.  In New York he studied under Robert Henri and eventually became an assistant instructor.   During the summers he travelled, painting and teaching with Henri across the US and Europe.  During that time Henri suggested to Davey that he visit New Mexico, most likely due to Henri's contact with the Taos Society of Artists, and in 1919 Davey drove across the country from New York to Santa Fe.  Once he arrived in Santa Fe he knew he would stay.  He bought an unused mill and converted it to his studio and home which were eventually donated to the Audubon Society and is part of 135 acres of national forest and the Santa Fe watershed land at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Davey loved New Mexico.  And what a dashing character!  He owned horses, played polo, and frequently painted polo scenes.  He had a great bar tucked away in the back of the house and was a purchaser of locally made spirits during prohibition.  There were many gatherings and social events at his home, they sounded quite lively.  He hired locals to pose for his artworks, asking neighbors to wear costumes so he could paint different scenes.  He also loved music and taught himself to play cello, which he had received as a Christmas present.  There are many portraits of local practicing musicians during that time hanging in his home and studio, along with still life, formal nudes and landscape, not to mention the many fantastic murals in and outside the home. 

"Living out here in New Mexico I can see the political manipulation in the art world back east, and I know that if I chose I could have more success with my work if I wanted to play their game...  But I prefer to live here and paint for myself, and get along with teaching.. and raising chickens."

"I wouldn't trade my life here where I can hunt, shoot, ride, for all the committee-going and boot-licking you've got to do in a city for anything. An artist might starve for food here, but he'll starve spiritually in a place like New York."

--Randall Davey

the artist's cello

sarah siltala
The Studio

sarah siltala

sarah siltala

click here for more images

Monday, April 16, 2012

Randall Davey House

 Photo of Randall Davey by Laura Gilpin

It was a wintry day for an April wedding, there were clouds, blustery winds and even snow.  My sister Mary had her heart set on being married on the grounds of the Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe.  We were so nervous as the big day finally arrived.  We drove to the center wishing the weather would clear, even briefly, just to give us a little hope that we could carry on with our outdoor wedding plans.  No such luck.  Fortunately, in a moment of divine intervention, the gracious manager of the center swept us away to the beautiful and enchanting rooms of Randall Davey's private residence and studio.  The house was given to the Audubon society and sits on acres of trails and nature preserve.  The house itself is nestled among cottonwood trees, lawn, flowers and an orchard.  Randall Davey and his wife Isabel are actually buried on the premises near the orchard in a mini cemetery tucked away amongst the greenery and you can feel their presence and spirit when you explore all the rooms of their amazing home.  The artist's paintings hang on the walls, art and antique furniture fill each space so elegantly, and there are the most fabulous murals in his wife's private dressing area off the bedroom.  His studio is delightful and left very much in the same state as if he were still alive.  Outside the trees and flowers were in bloom and inside the house was so incredibly romantic, especially because of the clouds and dim light which lent an aura of mystery.  We lit candles inside the sitting room and enjoyed the enchanting setting and union of two beautiful people as they began their new life together.

I will share more photos of this very special place in future posts.  The Randall Davey house is only open on Friday afternoons for guided tours.  We were told the last marriage that took place inside the residence was over ten years ago.

 **~The Bride~**

click here for photos of the artist's studio

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Wedding, the Cake, and Moving

One hobby of mine when I can't be creative in the studio is to get creative in the kitchen.  I love to cook, I even wanted to be a professional chef when I was young and was planning on going to cooking school. 

My current kitchen adventure is making my sister's wedding cake.  I have never made a wedding cake.  I have never worked with fondant.  I have taken on the task of learning the ins/outs of wedding cakes, plus fillings, frosting, fondant, and decorations while in the midst of closing on our home.  I had no idea we'd be knee deep in inspections, appraisals, estimates, and appointment after appointment when it came time for the wedding.  and did I mention packing?  (deep breath)  I am slightly frazzled, to say the least.  Spending time on the cake has been rewarding, there's something calming about a creative endeavor, and the achievement creates an inner satisfaction much like the feeling after finishing a painting.  And since I can't paint, I need a creative outlet!  In the midst of moving chaos I have escaped to the kitchen and created one sugary concoction after another.  From cake baking to cooking the lemon curd filling and swiss meringue buttercream frosting, then the decorating, it will have taken three full days to create the cake.  I have never used so many eggs (dozens and dozens of eggs!) and pounds of butter in one cake in my life~    Tomorrow is the wedding--I hope the cake holds up okay and I'm sure transporting the cake will be quite an adventure but I'm really really looking forward to it.  I can't wait to see my little sister get married!  


 lemon curd

Swiss Merangue Buttercream

 Lemon Buttermilk Cake