Coffee "shop" in the middle of nowhere outside of Taos.
I hope you had a chance to read Part One of this post, where I talk about amazing residency experiences offered by The VCCA in Virginia, and Le Moulin à Nef in France. These next two residencies were both located in high deserts. I live in the high desert of central Mexico so I have been in several similar landscapes in my travels lately. These were both beautiful and meaningful retreats for me, in different ways.
3. Herekeke Arts Center, Lama, New Mexico
Herekeke is a stunning and peaceful retreat center in the northern part of the state. New Mexico is well known as the long time adopted home of artist Georgia O'Keefe. Her life at Ghost Ranch is well documented and photographed and the landscape she painted is still a big attraction to the area. Many people love Taos and Santa Fe, both operating as centers for art in the southwest. Just thirty minutes outside of Taos, is the little village of Lama, a small community located in Taos County and populated by more animals than humans. At over 8000 feet, it backs up to the more-than-million-acre Carson National Forest in the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. If that scenery doesn't inspire great art and writing, I don't know what will.
Herekeke which is situated on about 100 acres, is run by Peggy and Nat, who also live on the property. This retreat was a solo act for me which turned out to be just what I needed. There is room for two fellows at a time sharing a sweet and homey two bedroom/two studio house. It just so happened, that aside from one night of overlap with a previous lovely young resident, I had 2 weeks alone with my thoughts and brushes—plus horses and goats.
My mornings usually began with coffee and meditation from the "Really Big Chair" on the porch. The view was stunning and tranquil and a great start to the day in the studio. The more -than- million -acre national forest is no joke. It was absolutely the most gorgeous, solitary hiking place I have ever personally been. It was my first time in this part of the country and O Keefe's high desert did not disappoint.