Friday, November 23, 2007


The bells of St.Francis sound the hour, and from my porch I can hear them perfectly. A little distance, a little elevation. Even with the light snow, and the damping effect it has, the tone and timbre come through completely. Actually far nicer than when you're pedaling by.
But I pedal by often. I like the park, the architecture, the details. Get off, lock up, take a little walk around and pay attention for a minute. There are a lot of buildings like that here, old buildings, elaborate details. You could spend hours sketching the layers. You can spend hours on one doorway.
Riding a bike around downtown gives you the chance to see these buildings, and the freedom to stop on a dime and enjoy a new treasure. Sundays are the best because no one is working, the crowds are usually mellower, traffic's a bit lighter. Old, government buildings are the best for details; our penchant for excess, especially during the territorial days (which coincide with British Victorian excess), left a legacy of millwork that boggles many a modern mind. The East entrance of the Bataan Building is a perfect example. It took me over an hour to sketch the mouldings above the door. There are so many layers, so many elements stacked, both vertically and horizontally, that the process of deconstructing them is nearly as involved as the original drawings must have been.
I like to keep both a journal and a sketchbook in my bag, though I usually end up with one or the other. Sketches on lined paper, notes on blank sheets... Having separate volumes isn't a requirement, but it makes file searches easier in the future. It is insane how many times I have gone to look for a note, or a sketch, and had to go through six or seven different Moleskine's to find it.
But the point here is; carry something to record your visions, your discoveries. We are fortunate Santa Fe is a very old city, and many of us are jaded to it's beauty. Those of you reading in other cities and towns probably have equally amazing treasures. The idea is to go out and find them.