We left for New Mexico on March 8 and returned two weeks with 3,600 miles behind us and a roller-coaster ride of experiences in our memories. The primary goal was to show-and-sale my work at two back-to-back fine art shows. The first, which was also our first time there, was the Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival Spring Show set for March 11-13 in Albuquerque. The following week we were booked for a return visit to the Las Cruces Art Fair. Between the shows, we had planned a business trip to Arizona combined with some R-n-R and sightseeing to and fro, and that's where things deviated from plan a bit. But let's start at the beginning...
David and I love to travel about as much as we love sharing my happy art with the world. So when we can plan a trip around a show or two, well, it just doesn't get much better than that!
We left Texas and headed to Cloudcroft and Ruidoso for the first night's layover before making our way to Albuquerque. We were in for a treat as snow was on the ground both at Cloudcroft and at Ski Apache. Of course, we love the pine trees and I got to enjoy seeing Aspens tucked here and there. We left out the next morning for Alamogordo with a couple of ideas in mind. First, we'd be stopping off at the pistachio farm and then we'd head out to White Sands. It's long been on our to-do list and we decided to make it happen. It you ever find yourself in that part of New Mexico, you need to check it out!
After playing in the sand, we hit the road for Albuquerque. We were able to arrive and settle in, anticipating our set up the next morning.
The show was held in one of the buildings at the EXPO New Mexico. We spent the day setting up and getting to know our show neighbors and the wonderful staff behind the scenes. The show opened to a large crowd on Friday morning and almost immediately we knew that many of the visitors were serious art collectors. We visited with dozens of potential buyers over the next few days and acquired many new "fans" in the process. We learned long ago that you never know who will return and become a collector...whether it be a day later or months, or even years later. But before the close of the show, we did acquire two new collectors. The first was Roann, who purchased two of my paintings for her business, A Love of Life, a residential assisted living facility for seniors located in Albuquerque. The paintings, "Garden Delight" and "Evening Romance," were each 30x40 in size. Then right at closing time, another new fan, Debbie, decided to take the 30x30 wildflower painting "Indigo Delight" home with her.
Needless to say, the show ended on a high note. By the next morning, however, we were about to face an unexpected challenge. Overnight, David was hit by a "bug" and I was soon to follow. We later found out that several other artists also got sick after the show. We are still not sure what was going around, but it got us and held on!
Our between-the-shows plan was to take a leisurely drive to Arizona, pick up some of my art from a gallery there, make a few other gallery visits and then do some sightseeing before making our way back into New Mexico for the Las Cruces show. As our health deteriorated, we did good to just make it to the gallery for the pick up and then back to New Mexico. The only sightseeing was from the Interstate.
Over the next few days, we both would seem to improve and then head downhill again. David was much sicker than I was so I did most of the driving. By Friday morning, we made a trip to a walk-in clinic to try to get him meds to kick it. He really didn't get any better so before we left town on Monday, we made a return trip to the same clinic. A different PA had a better understanding of his condition and with a new set of meds, he was well on his way to better health by Tuesday. But let me back up and tell you about the show!
David was able to help set up and do some of the break down but otherwise he stayed at the hotel for the weekend. Overall the attendance was strong and, again, we made new fans for my wildflowers and other paintings. I even met a few people who already knew my work. One man was from San Antonio but also had a home in Las Cruces and instantly recognized my wildflowers. We had several buyers come back and discuss specific paintings. But it was one very sweet couple, Mollie and Jeff, who knew that my art needed to be a part of their lives. On Sunday afternoon, they returned to pick up a painting but ended up with two works: "Fresh Breeze" and "Sunny Side Up."
We left Las Cruces Monday and decided to take two days to get home rather than push too hard. As we reviewed the options for the drive, we decided to bypass taking I-10 through El Paso (which can be pretty stressful as some of you may know) and instead looped around north of the city on Texas 375 through the Franklin Mountains and north of Fort Bliss. So glad we did...it was a spectacular drive! We then picked up 180 and headed toward the Guadalupe Mountains National Park before cutting back toward 285, which took us to Pecos and then Fort Stockton, our layover for the night.
The next day we made our way to Fredericksburg and took one last little detour to an old cemetery that David found a few years back. We wanted to see if the Bluebonnets were blooming again and, oh my, it was just amazing. What a great end to our trip...better health...almost home...Bluebonnets!
As always, thank you for reading and for you interest in our travels and in my life as an artist! Our next road trip will be a be shorted but exciting still as we'll be heading to Lubbock for the Arts Fest there on April 15-17.