Shelley Armitage | Author
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Shelley’s Blog

It was the yellow shirt I saw first.  A canary yellow tee-shirt against the parched bench he sat on.  But there was a flash of something else. "Are you a potter?" I blurted out, surprising myself with my spontaneous directness. (I'm normally rather shy and though I get accused of encouraging conversation on airplanes, think of myself as more of an observer than an aggressive talker.} "Hmmmm." I couldn't quite make out what Mr. Yellow Shirt was saying. But he kept marking--what some folks would call doodling--on a cup. A styroform cup, the kind...

It wasn't the first time I'd stood in front of an O'Keeffe painting.  There was the one at the Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon, Texas and of course all those at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.  This one, at the Harwood Museum in Taos, seemed special though. 1929.  She had already established herself as a major American artist and had visited New Mexico several times.  "Grey Cross with Blue" is one of her Taos paintings inspired perhaps by the Penitentes traditions or the famous Ranchos de Taos...

We were a group of writers at a University of New Mexico workshop in Santa Fe.  Ten of us poured over xerox copies and computers; the workshop leader, a faint redhead who looked vaguely like a recreational hiker--khaki shorts and pale checked shirt--shared our reading of the day: "Raptorous" by Brian Doyle. The piece had appeared in Orion, a prestigious nature/environmental magazine, and it had all the hallmarks of perfection: great voice, pacing, vivid language, and ever present surprise.  Doyle began by discussing facts about hummingbirds and riffed on...