This is a pair of paintings by Andrea Vargas entitled, “High Noon at Ghost Ranch #1” and High Noon at Ghost Ranch #2. They are sold as a diptych, revealing the vast expanse of the area near Abiquiu. Both paintings are rich in coloration and the reflection of the light. She says of her Plein air paintings, “Plein air painting challenges the will and determination of the artist. It tests patience and demands humility. Like the strategy one must employ for a game of chess, Plein air yields the satisfaction of minute movements yielding the glory of a final masterpiece.”
Andrea thoughtfully says of her new work for “Following Water“:
“I spent the last year following the pathways of water. Traveling through New Mexico put me in several precarious positions this season while plein air painting. Once, I was trapped in the desert for half a day after an unexpected rainstorm flooded the arroyos. Once, I tried to turn back toward Santa Fe after arriving to Abiquiu Lake, only to find the lighting too beautiful and frightening to leave behind. As the rain pummeled the car, I filled my sketchbook with frenzied illustrations of the storm and the lightening bolts.
It is my experience, that painting in the desert is an affair for camping supplies and regalia for the unexpected. Without fail, the sacrifice of comfort always gives way to enrichment that I can take back to the art studio.
This new body of work is titled Following Water. In September, I hiked inside Valles Caldera, which is a dormant volcano located in Jemez, New Mexico. After the rains, the crater was a valley with flowing water and a palette of wealthy greens. In my new series, the Chama River has a dominant role in my paintings in addition to landscapes of rain clouds and the trees at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.
Following the paths of water has inspirited my process for painting and serves as a means to access the past as much as the present. Rainstorms and rivers are interconnected, and I’ve chosen to show those qualities of movement. The palette knife is my favored tool for designing an experience of texture that travels vertically in every single painting.