Doors, gardens, art along Santa Fe’s Canyon Road

September 14, 2022

The adobe structures of Santa Fe appear to be an extension of the earth itself. Curved walls in warm, desert colors — tan, soft rose, terracotta — rise up from the gravelly ground to enclose courtyards and living spaces. Wooden doors, some with slatted windows for a glimpse inside, add mystery and perhaps a dash of color, often a shade of blue. Dried chile ristrus hangs on many doors, a sign of good luck and welcome.

We visited Santa Fe, New Mexico in late August and stayed at an Airbnb within walking distance of the main plaza and the famous Canyon Road, a half-mile stretch lined with art galleries in historic adobe homes.

One morning we e. Walked down Palace Avenue to Canyon Road, and continued to admire the beautiful doors and walls of the houses I passed.

We found more charm in the historic neighborhood just off Canyon Road.

Here’s a sampling of my favorites from that lovely walk.

Agave, adobe, and Corten steel, a match made in heaven

Canyon Road

In a gallery on Canyon Road, I saw a stunning metallic tree with silver-chain leaves.

acacia Works by Travis Seeger and Foster Talz – who happen to be Austin-area (Elgin?) artists! It is part of their companion tree series.

A small one is available. I love it. As it happens, 11 years ago I posted about another metal tree by Foster Talje, which impressed me on an East Austin studio tour.

A different kind of sculpture based on desert flora, my heart skipped a beat when I saw it. These botanical ceramic totems are the work of my friend Dustin Gimble, a visionary Los Angeles garden designer and artist.

Just now. Aren’t they great?

I wrote about Dustin’s work last spring, so click through for more information and photos.

Other sculptural pieces pop up in the tawny grass on Canyon Road, where larger ones seem to do the trick.

A glowing terracotta wall with arching sprays of pyracantha also calls for a photo op.

The orange berries against the salmon wall are so beautiful.

Sunflower too

And nearby, yellow dahlias with near-black leaves

Back to the art and architecture of Canyon Road, and that blue New Mexico sky

This head sculpture wears a red stripe that echoes a painted window frame.

The arbitrary curves of a Rubenesque nude remind me of the city’s curvy adobe architecture.

Kevin Box’s metal origami sheep touches the nose in another gallery.

One of Kevin Box’s classics: a sculptural representation of the rock-paper-scissors game with an origami crane for paper material. I have photographed many of Box’s charming works over the years, especially since he is now exhibiting in botanical gardens around the country.

The glistening, white trunks and groves of aspens welcome shade

I love the paper-bag texture of this tall adobe structure with a sea-green picket fence and sunflowers.

Flocks of plastic marigolds and felt balls adorn this cobbler’s room. a neon Corazon The light is ready to shine after darkness.

Door decoration

A golden hand knocked on the door. Don’t you want one now?

A pumpkin-hued adobe wall and rustic gate — gorgeous!

And a new, more polished version – also good

Classic Santa Fe color scheme

Shadow play and falling pears

Nedra Matteucci Gallery Garden

An extensive sculpture garden at the Nedra Matteucci Gallery on Paseo De Peralta was recommended to us, so we made our way to the end of Canyon Road.

The gallery itself has an amazing collection of art for sale. Outside, I was also amazed by the size of the garden, a shady oasis surrounding a large pond, with many animal and human figures in bronze sculptures.

I immediately recognized some of the animal sculptures, like this drinking baby elephant by Dan Ostermiller, from an over-the-top River Oaks estate in Houston that I toured in 2014.

In that River Oaks garden there was this upright, tusked elephant — he was splashing in a round swimming pool surrounded by palm trees. I never thought of meeting him again, but there you go.

And it can be yours for the low, low price of $195,000.

I read that Matteucci Gallery has been sold, and the owner will be moving to a smaller gallery on Canyon Road. The property — which includes 10,000 square feet of galleries and guest houses (where Val Kilmer, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie O and President Gerald Ford have stayed, Santa Fe New Mexican Articles) and gardens – will become condos. I wonder if the garden and the pond will survive. I hope so too. But change comes in every garden. In fact it is the only constant.

As we left the gallery and headed back to our Airbnb, I paused to admire the bright pink hollyhocks against the buff-pink adobe.

I love these simple cottage flowers. Add a dark wall and a bright blue sky and this is probably all you need.

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All material © 2022 by Pam Penick for Excavation. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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