August 11, 2021

Summer of 2021

July flew by! Most of it was consumed by preparing for a trip to New Mexico and then, of course, catching up on all the things I’d neglected to do while I was away.

One exciting piece of news is that the book that I published a year ago was included in the July news letter of my alma mater, The Union Institute and University. See below:

Authors of Union Logo

Welcome to Authors of Union, highlighting our many published authors who are transforming lives and communities.


A Leaf in the Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins is a beautiful book of poetry written by Jaro Majer and illustrated by his mother, acclaimed artist and alumna Rose Marie Prins, (Ph.D. 1998).  Sadly, Jaro passed away suddenly on September 10, 2016. To honor his memory and his creative talent, Rose Marie compiled twenty-one of his poems and twenty-two full-color images of her art into A Leaf in the Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins.

She started work on the images during a residency at an artists’ retreat in India. She describes the book this way. “These paintings, images of Indian leaves in Sumi ink on a watercolor ground, are filled with color in an attempt to dispel my grief. The poems express the heartfelt yearning of a young man’s search for the Truth. Our book includes twenty-two full-color illustrations in watercolor and Sumi ink. The twenty-one poems are devotional, yearning, and often ecstatic. They address agape, yogic philosophy, love of both nature and the divine in its many manifestations in accessible language that people of many walks of life and differing spiritual paths can relate to.”

In the foreword and afterword, she describes Jaro’s short life and the suffering that mental illness caused him. A goal of this book, besides honoring the memory of her son and his creativity, is to sensitize readers to the realities of living with schizophrenia and the stigma attached to mental illness.

Click here for other featured Authors of Union.

Like many of my friends and family, I had itchy feet during the months of isolation of 2020 and early 2021. I’d planned a trip to New Mexico for months, waiting for the state to open after the pandemic. It finally opened at the beginning of July; early on July 8th I was on my way to Tampa International Airport. I wasn’t the only person feeling the urge to travel. The flight was packed. When I reached Albuquerque I joined a long line of travelers waiting for rental cars. At last my name was called and I was given the keys to shiny blue compact on which, in the course of eleven days, I put over five hundred miles.

My first stop was Albuquerque’s South Valley. There I stayed for a couple of nights with Linda Piper, a writer/activist, theater director and story teller with whom I had collaborated as an Artist-in-Residence when I lived in New Mexico. Linda and I have stayed in touch throughout my years away from the state. She even attended one of my Day-Long Mixed Media Workshops in my St Pete studio one fall. Linda is also one of the people who wrote an endorsement that appears on the back cover of A Leaf in the Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins. 

The following morning Linda and I visited artist friends of hers who have created a delightful compound in the South Valley. They have a charming adobe home in a garden where, among other things, they keep bees. Each have their own studio which they kindly allowed me to visit. The wife, Julie Reichert, is a papermaker and her husband, Bill Mohr, is a painter. I was struck by the colorful, glass bottle fence that flanked one side of a shady seating area—evidence of the vital creativity that impressed me during my visit. 

Linda then gave me a tour of Albuquerque, pointing out the many changes that had occurred since I left New Mexico. The art scene there is so much more vibrant than I remember it! In the evening we attended a gallery opening where I was impressed by the quality of the art. After the opening we had a meal of typical New Mexican fare that, of course, included green chili. The following morning I took a walk along the arroyo, one of the irrigation ditches that one sees throughout New Mexico. It had rained the day before and I was charmed by the sight of a mother duck with her ducklings swimming with the current while a rooster crowed nearby. 



Linda Piper attending art opening at Gallery 208 in Albuquerque, and images of Old Town, Albuquerque

From Albuquerque I drove to Santa Fe, eager to see my friend Anna Katherine, a counselor and poet with whom I was to spend a few nights. One of the highlights of that stay in Santa Fe was my visit to the New Mexico Museum of Art which, architecturally, is a combination of the traditional and the contemporary with a beautiful sculpture courtyard linking the two.

Another highlight was dancing to the music of some local bands on the Santa Fe Plaza with a joyful crowd of people who ranged in age from toddlers to ancient hippies. As we left the Plaza we saw the golden orange sun setting in the distance. Anna commented on the peculiar haze that filled the sky. We realized later that this was the smoke from the many fires that plague the western United States. Happily, throughout my stay in New Mexico, I saw evidence of rain, most notably on my drive to Taos—the Rio Grande was running and folks were enjoying white water rafting. And I drove through numerous water-filled potholes! This, we know, is a rarity for the Southwest which has been plagued by drought for almost a decade.

Luckily, Anna and I encountered neither smoke nor rain the evening that we dined at Gabriel’s Restaurant north of the city. We were able to sit outdoors and enjoy a leisurely meal of delicious traditional New Mexican fare.


New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe

Anna and I also spent an afternoon exploring downtown Santa Fe which seemed, in spite of the pandemic lockdown and the intervening years, to have remained virtually unchanged. We also spent a day hiking a trail in the Pecos mountains. I have fond memories of a camping trip in Pecos in 1980 and I longed to be in that green mountain landscape once again—so different from the landscape of Florida. We ate lunch alongside a mountain stream and then rested under the shade of a tree. I was entranced by the multitude of wild flowers of all colors and shapes and had to stop numerous times to photograph them.


Pecos. NM

I arrived at an Airbnb in in Taos in the late afternoon and got ready for dinner with a friend who had recently moved to the area from St. Petersburg. In my review of the Airbnb I commented on the typical New Mexican eccentricity of my lodgings. To reach my room I had to climb up a precarious winding stair case. Precarious, because none of the steps were level and they were precipitously steep. There was a pole overhead to hold onto in case you lost your footing. The inside was equally unconventionally  patched together with a variety of building materials. Dinner at The Love Apple restaurant in a former church was far more elegant and the food was fresh and delicious. I enjoyed the charming company of Robbie Puskarich who, since arriving in the area, has become a successful realtor. 

The garden at the Blumenschein Museum, Taos


Taos, NM

While in Taos, I explored the Harwood and Millicent Rodgers museums. The Harwood Museum featured an exhibition of low riders that awed me in their creative use of New Mexico motifs and colors. Also at the Harwood Museum was a gallery filled with early works by Agnes Martin. (See my earlier post about a day spent with Agnes in Galisteo in nineteen-eighty.) Of course, I had to spend time in the octagonal gallery on the floor below that houses eight of the acrylic and graphite canvases for which Agnes is justly famous!


Agnes Martin at the Harwood Museum


Harwood Museum, low riders

This was my first visit to the Millicent Rogers Museum just north of Taos. It was an opportunity to brush up on my knowledge of the history of the area (I lived in New Mexico from 1980 until 1993.) Rogers lead a glamorous life. Her jewelry, much of it featured in the museum, reflected that glamour with conch belts, wrist cuffs and gorgeous squash blossom necklaces. I was fortunate to see an exhibition of the works of Michael Naranjo, a sculptor who was blinded during the Vietnam War. His expressionist figurative sculptures feature faces with eye sockets but no eyes—a poignant reminder of his sightless state. 

Mildred Rogers Museum, Taos


Michael Naranjo at the Mildred Rogers Museum, Taos

Mildred Rogers Museum, Taos

Before leaving the area I stopped in Ranchos de Taos to view the iconic San Francisco de Asis Mission Church which, with its iconic architectonic forms, has been painted and photographed countless times. My drive back to Santa Fe along the Rio Grande River Gorge was as breathtaking as I remembered it with stunning views around practically every bend in the winding road. 


San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, Ranchos de Taos

I had dinner that night with Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio in their lovely home on the hills overlooking Santa Fe. Garth, a former ceramics gallery owner/director in New York, is now the Curator and Editor in Chief of CFile, a global community of cutting-edge educators, ceramics creatives and others. I have known Garth since our youth when we lived in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was among the first of my friends to meet our son Jaro as a baby when he stayed with Jaro’s father and me in Noe Valley, San Francisco. Later, when Jaro developed an interest in ceramics in his teens, Garth gave him a copy of The Eccentric Teapot, one of the numerous books on ceramics he’s written over the years. Much later, he too, wrote a touching endorsement for A Leaf in the Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins. 

I also got to spend time with depth psychologist and painter, Nina Ross, whom I’ve known for many years. I spent my last morning in Santa Fe breakfasting at Reunity Resources, a market garden and popular Saturday morning destination for Santa Faens. We ate freshly prepared New Mexican food from the food truck, Roses Kitchen, in the shade of an enormous tree. Later, I explored Santa Fe’s art district, The Railyard, home to some elegant art galleries and home furnishing shops that ranged from high end to exotic and quirky. The Railyard is an active railroad station—a commuter train, running between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, is a welcome addition since I last lived in New Mexico. 

On the evening before I left Santa Fe, another friend, Sheela Hewitt, held a party in my honor. A group of some of the most interesting, creative and independent women I’ve met in years came together in Sheela’s lovely garden. From there, in the hazy distance, one can see the Sangre de Christo mountains. In that glorious evening light, unique to New Mexico, we sat on the garden terrace and shared stories of our life’s journeys.

Sheela Hewitt’s party, Santa Fe

From Santa Fe I explored the small towns of Bernalillo and Placitas before returning to Albuquerque with it’s still charming Old Town and its new arts district. I even got to visit a winery! Then, sadly, it was time to return to Florida.   


Old Town, Albuquerque and a sign for an Albuquerque winery

Because I was out of town, I missed St Petersburg’s Second Saturday ArtWalk in July. I have works in two exhibitions that opened then—The Members’ Show, Landmark, at The Morean Arts Center, up until September 12, and the exhibition titled Hoopla! in the Tully Levine Gallery at the Warehouse Arts District. I have small sculptures in both shows. I’m enjoying the challenges of working in 3-D again!


“In the Beginning…”, found objects and mixed media, at the Morean Art Center. Center; “Filipino Rain Dancer”, found objects and mixed media, at WADA; works by my Morean Arts Center students, Martie Fagan (left) and Colette Bancroft (right). Both acrylic on canvas.

If you stop in at the Morean Arts Center to see the Landmark exhibition, don’t forget to check out A Leaf in the Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins in the gift shop. Digital prints on watercolor paper of the colorful images are also available there. Or, if you’re not in St Petersburg, you can purchase our book and the prints from A selection of the Leaf in the Wind prints are also available at Lida’s Jungle in St Petersburg. There you can also purchase some of the healthiest plants I’ve seen anywhere. It’s a tropical jungle in the heart of St Petersburg! One of the owners will be visiting my studio soon to document me at work. Stay tuned!

If you’d rather be making art than looking at others’ art, sign up for my six week Beginning/Intermediate Painting Course at the Morean Arts Center. I teach acrylics, oils, watercolors and mixed media on Tuesday evenings and Friday mornings. Sign up on line or by calling 727-822-7872. If you’re a returning student, you can sign up for just three weeks. As usual, I’ll be teaching a Day-Long Mixed Media Workshop in the fall. Date to be decided. Let me know if you’re interested in participating. Here are some of the comments after my last Day-Long Mixed Media Workshop:

My expectations of an inspiring group process were fulfilled. And, I had a lot of fun and learned even more. And, I’m excited that I got so much done. And, Very enjoyable—the day flew by. And, Great workshop and thoughtful theme…[you are] as always, full of ideas, inspiration and guidance…always improving the work.

My next Day-Long Mixed Media Workshop is on Saturday, October 30th in my St Pete Studio. Space is limited–for more details and to reserve your space, contact me.

Save the Dates! I will have work in Creative Pinellas’ Arts Annual 2021. The Gala Reception is Thursday, November 11th; VIP premier 6-7pm; general admission 7-9pm. The exhibition is up November 12th to December 19th with a virtual Arts Festival on Sunday, November 14th.


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