The houses of the Santa Fe area have been influenced by the architect, John Gaw Meem (1894-1983). He is credited with the Pueblo Revival, a style which promotes mass driven, boxy adobe volumes with modest, vertically oriented windows. The principal spaces are high ceilinged and the entrances are sheltered by overhangs or deep recesses.
The houses are not ornamented. Their interest derives from the arrangement and height variation of their volumes. The flat roofs, bounded by low parapets, are drained via projecting scuppers, which are copper lined wood troughs. Porches, gates and doors are often made of unfinished, natural wood. The exterior walls are finished with stucco, which may be subtly colored. The proposed house in my paintings has stuccoed volumes of pale yellow, pale orange, pale red and pale violet.
The public spaces of this house — living room, dining room and kitchen — are separated from the private spaces — bedrooms and bathrooms — by a gallery. This is a fine space for art display and also for receptions as it gives access to a patio and to a deck.
My paintings capture the details of this house by focusing on a corner view which can show several colors. Some colors are in full sun, some colors are in glancing or raking light and other colors are in shadow. The principal volumes are linked by the pale grays of the articulated gallery volume. The wood doors, gates and porches are left uncolored.
Each of the four corner views has yielded several delineations or details of a portion of this house. These drawings were enlarged to become the basis of my paintings. The volumes in the paintings, are expressed by the color changes at the corners and more emphatically by the shadows which occur at the deeply recessed doors and windows. Overhangs deliver the boldest shadows at the scuppers and at the many porches.
My enthusiasm for New Mexico's culture, varied landscapes and its people continues unabated. This is my third New Mexican painting series. The first was the Truchas Acequia series in 2004 and the second was the Chama Valley series in 2007. Additionally, I provided design input for the new Gregory/Lannon house completed in Aldea de Santa Fe in 2008. With every visit, I find new inspiration for future projects.
Malcolm Montague Davis