Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Santa Fe Look

If you've been around for a while -- say, the 1980s -- you may remember a decorating trend called "The Santa Fe look." The dominant colors were mauve and teal -- not colors you actually see in the city of Santa Fe, NM with its emphasis of Pueblo Revival architecture. Supposedly, these colors represented the Southwestern desert, perhaps before sunset. (I never thought that, but others did).

The furniture used a lot of smoothed-and-varnished natural wood tree limbs; fabrics used mauve and teal. Artwork was sometimes abstract; otherwise, it was quite desert-themed, with cactus, agaves and other prickly plants and/or pueblo Indian pottery, structures, ladders -- stuff like that.
mauve,teal,Santa Fe look,1980s art,pueblo,Indian,cactus,desert
By "Teresa"
Unfortunately, I only have Teresa as the artist's name...I believe i saw this on eBay. I hope she won't mind if I showcase her work here.

This piece is very typical of the wall decor that was common during those years. (Note -- I'm NOT putting this painting down). Although it is desert-themed, I never got into the Santa Fe look. Too trendy for me -- I was more interested in developing as a more classical-realism painter -- I goal I continue to chase.

In fact, I got so tired of what I was seeing, and how readily people bought these things, that I made a sort of surreal version of the Santa Fe look in protest.

mauve,teal,peach,Santa Fe look,cactus,surreal,surrealism,desert
Parasonoran Life Zone
 As you can see, the landscape features broken stand-up cactus in Santa Fe-look colors. Peach was a color that was just being added to the mix, so the only color that is isn't "right" is the blue of the sky. Some viewers actually laughed when they saw this -- I glad they "got it" and saw the humor and sarcasm in it.

So if this look was profitable, why didn't I pursue it? Because it was a trend -- nothing to build a lifetime career out of. After all -- where is all that Santa Fe artwork today? Certainly not on collectors' walls or in art museums!

Eventually, mauve and teal faded into beiges and earthtones. Desert and pueblo subjects seemed to disappear. (One artist tried to discourage me from painting desert landscapes because that subject came and went -- I don't think he realized I wasn't making mauve and teal desert landscapes!)

And I hope that the paintings I'm making today will be around longer than the Santa Fe look of the '80s.


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