Barbara C. ( later Stevens )- majored in Painting and Art History and received a BFA at the University of Oklahoma in 1959. By 1961 – received a Masters of Art- Painting from Berkeley and stayed on to take Education classes at Berkeley. All work from this time- college art and work done in the summers in Oklahoma City, in NYC and in Baltimore up until 1965/66 when we moved to a farm in Northern Baltimore County will have to be made digital from slides and will be dealt with later. CONTACT:STVNS@GREENBELT.COM
Barbara Stevens :Art of the 60’s: THE FARM IN MARYLAND
This “Farm” painting is possibly in the Collection of Alex Epton, son of Carolyn Brady and Bill Epton. All work before these sixties farm paintings are sold and still saved as slides. This one I believe is the first I did between 1965 and 1969 at the “Farm .
This is a collage of things that Bill and Carolyn and Frank Macfie ( see; -franklinmacfie.wordpress.com )were doing. The Hex sign by Bill Epton – the blue cow- on the barn, Carolyn’s egg tie for Bill, Bill’s “Slipping Stars plastic table cloth 1968 American Flag, Franklin’s found design for Carolyn’s dress from when she and Franklin worked at Jack Prince’s Design Studio in NYC, most importantly the crystal Ball full of pot plants- Bill Epton ordered from China many gross of plastic pot plants to sell in Head Shops… by the time they got here there was too much paranoia for him not to end up with them like albatross’s forever, well, it made us laugh. The Cardinal Feed sack.. that was me. …
Please see * franklinmacfie.wordpress.com for more about Franklin and the Farm. Franklin spent a lot of time in 1967 and lived at the Farm with us most of 1968… The marches, and “flying blue wedge” of cops – a war for Peace. the Zig Zag man with Franklin in the trees, the pleasure of living – referenced with Giorgone, later Manet’s.”.luncheon on the Grass”, Millet’ s Gleaners up in the tree tops.. in other words the Farm in Maryland. And Somewhere in here had been the Moon Landing.
“Franklin MacFie lived at the farm for seasons at a time, he was at the surrounding of the Pentagon October 21, 1968 . He was in the group that held on over night, spotted a agent provocateur the next day in at Fort Myer- who the night before had been urging the demonstrator to cause havoc and mayhem. We went to all the Demonstrations /Peace marches in New York City and Washington. Meanwhile we had wonderful “trips” at the farm and in NYC.”From franklinmacfie.wordpress.com
This was a portrait of Ray ( and Barbara..see the High Contrast face in the peak of the Root Cellar’s roof… and then Barbara and Susan near the portrait of Ray- these were drawn from the high contrast photo’s Ray was doing and developing at the time). Its a kind of a collage of things to do with Ray. There is a symbol of Aquarius, his birthday is Feb.12, 1935. His old high school 1929 Ford is there. Bits of Ray’s peace time army stay in Korea. Ray working , perhaps on a tractor? his favorite goat is their but painted red in keeping with the optical thing going on.
This one is a mix of the whole Farm scene… a million young hippies -our old truck, the Gleaners again by Millet… we were raising all most all of our food!. the 4 leaf clover Luck symbol.. hmmm? maybe a reference to the Franklin painting which is a canvas back to back with this one. and the Lunch on the grass reference – nude in the open..etc.. I think of Abby Grafton with this one.
This is Ray with a sweater on with elbow patches.. it is possible to think the elbow patch and his fingers below it are a badly rendered octopus… flowered sofa, ear, nose.
BARBARA STEVENS : In the 1970’s, we lived in New Mexico- Santa Fe and then we bought a place in Agua Fria on the outskirts of Santa Fe from Jan. 1971-to the summer of 19 74 when first moved to Chimayo and started building there.. Bill Epton went to the lumber yard and got me 14 circular pieces of wood to start a mandala series when they visited and saw me painting on found circular road signs.
This one is one of the first – birds and the Sangre de Cristo mountains as they are seen from Santa Fe. I think this is in the collection of Beth and Blake Sutton.
This next one – was done a little later but it was hung in a vegetarian restaurant in Santa Fe as I remember and was sold at that time. The Eagle and the Cactus is a reference to Aztlan and the Aztecs in Mexico who’s symbols became a part of the flag of Mexico but New Mexico and Mexico are connected. AND Birds!.
The Next one is the one we have here with us in Greenbelt and is to us a treasure. This one which I have named “Cielo” for ceiling and of course sky – Certainly done after the house in Chimayo was at least partially built as it features the vigas and latia ceilings in our traditional adobe. It is also very personal.. the blue beams and ceiling elements on your right as you look at the painting are from Ray Stevens photos of Korea then there is lots of Native American Designs – one that looks like a magpie, then my rendition of a magpie. This might have been done while we had a pet magpie living with us in our kitchen. Imagine the intense Blue of the New Mexico Sky, laying on the ground looking up.
The next one is also from after we moved to Chimayo and built the first few rooms and moved in just in time for a home birth of our son Philip. This Virgin of Guadalupe is in the collection of Linda Pedro in Chimayo. This is one of my favorite – with Aztec designs and the snake and Eagle , the Roses and Juan Diego who saw them -a New World shroud of Turin like experience. Some think of the Virgin de Guadalupe as a Catholic reincarnation of an early Mexican Earth Goddess.
This one below is sold .. and most definitely was finished after we were in the Chimayo house because the views are those at the house of both the eastern Sangre de Cristo mountains and the western views of the Jemez mountains – the tail end of the Rockies. The views are incredible there and have been a source of my Southwest work from the 1970’s and into the 1990’s and on going. To both the north and south are beautiful badlands, a bit of these badlands views is in this mandala below.
This next has a little reference to snow flakes , the organic fractal like design and maybe honey combs, but mostly from Korean Flower cards… Ray brought some back from Korea when he had been drafted and was stationed there after the war, gratefully. Ray was carving a table top from Flower card designs and I came to put these into this piece of the mandala series.
This one is a little damaged and is being used as a table top on the portal in New Mexico… but is one of my favorites. it is about the rock formation in the back western view from our back portal and courtyard -the hill behind us. I call it “Serpent rock ” -maybe you have heard of “Camel Rock” ?. But our “Serpent Rock” – looks like a great snake that could have something to do with Quetzalcoatl, the feathered snake who was mistaken as Cortez ,the invading Spaniard, hence the conquest of Mexico happened.
This is the last that I seem to be able to post until the slides are made digital.
This one references that wonderful somewhat ancient manuscript print illustration I believe-that was “discovered” in the 60’s and /or 70’s and used widely- of the medieval person beginning to get a bigger picture of the universe and there were pictures of planets!
We spent the ten years 1974/75-1985 designing and building by hand an adobe house, starting fields and gardens along with Susan growing up and raising our son Philip Stevens. And during that time I worked in a CETA Government Funded Program for Artists as a Muralist. I will eventually post a digital photo of the Mural I did for the Food Stamp Office in Espanola and my airbrushed designs on Library Bookmobiles.
THE NEXT SET OF WATERCOLORS – ARE PART OF A LARGER GROUP- MANY ARE IN MY SLIDES YET TO BE MADE DIGITAL . THESE WOULD HAVE BEEN SHOWN IN THE BOND HOUSE MUSEUM IN ESPANOLA AND IN VARIOUS NEW MEXICO GALLERIES DURING THE 1980’S
This small water color is in Sue Farington’s collection. The Matachines are Traditional Dancers that perform throughout Mexico and New Mexico..The costumes are beautiful. Every Christmas Day at various New Mexico Indian Pueblos you can find a performance. We saw them deep in Mexico at Easter, we have seen Matachini performances many times in local Catholic churches. There seems to be is a story connected with it that brings up the story of Malinche helping Cortez in conquering The Aztecs.
There is along with the colorful dancers, who seem to have multicolored ribbons and headdresses flowing with them, wonderful varied costumes, a Beast sometimes a man with a whip, with Bulls horns, variations on the beast man and a young girl dressed in her first communion frilly white dress. Some how the story goes that somehow this group has something to do with Malinche who helped Cortez conquer Mexico for the Spanish, the Aztecs mistaking Cortez for Quetzalcoatl – the feathered Serpent God- a complicated story. There is special fiddle music for these dances that has been passed down for generations in northern New Mexico.
Here is my version of the image that is on the Seal of New Mexico and the Flag of Mexico that includes the Eagle , cactus and the snake. These are some of the badlands near by us in Chimayo -the intense blue of the sky, the dark green of the pinon and juniper – that makes it seem like God’s Garden. And the border design from close by Native American Pueblo pottery.A little spirit figure from Atzlan (Mexico) and the state bird of New Mexico the Road Runner are in the scene.This one sold here in Maryland and is in Sue Madison’s Collection, along with a collection of snakes!
These watercolors were shown in the 1980’s and this one was sold during this time. The Show was called Connexiones / Connections New Mexico /Old Mexico. Adobe Walls are same in both places, as is the overwhelming Sun, those Pueblo Pots from New Mexico high Sonoran Desert Pueblos and images fron Atzlan.
This one from the “Connexiones” show, was sold at that time. It includes the Mexican Pyramid and Scupture head of the Feathered Serpent but also here is a Pueblo Pottery Design under a Hispanic Traditional Death Cart figure . The chili’s are there , the adobe wall.. Mexico with traditions from New Mexico.
These paintings were sold from my ” Connexiones” Exhibit mid-1980’s. The idea was from a Program for New Mexican students to study the Connections and roots – between New Mexican culture, etc. and Mexico. A program our daughter was participating in through Northern New Mexico Community College.
The small watercolor below .. is mostly about the deep light and dark patterns because of the strong sunlight in the desert, water carved sandstone landscape all around us in northern New Mexico. It was easy to see finally that there is a implied feeling of happiness in seeing deep shadows. which means full sun.
These two water colors (above) are from around the same time period. Both of these were sold. The First one using a local New Mexico landscape and a Pueblo Design Border may be from a later set of watercolors and not part of the Connexieones -Mexico and New Mexico watercolor series.
The second using a design on a Mexican style arched doorway in my own free form design using something from New Mexican Hispanic Colcha designs is likely from the Connexiones Show.
We met Dan Stat who studied the Peruvian Pots found in Museums and worked with Archeologists and came up the understanding that these are meditation whistles. He figured out how to make sets like the old ones ,using ball bearings as a replacement part that made them sound just like the old ones. The archeology people had previously said they were water jugs–( with a part that could be replaced by a ball bearing that made an incredible sound ! He shared them with us and others. The Hopi said they could be used to bring rain to the desert.. We played them in Maryland one New Years and had the icyist winter imaginable. The Whistles are in the New Mexico desert here with the rock formation we call Serpent Rock, and a Pueblo Indian Pottery Border. A Treasure in our collection.
THE NEXT SET OF SOUTHWESTERN WATER COLORS WERE DONE BEFORE 1991 IN CHIMAYO, NEW MEXICO AND EXHIBITED THERE AND SOME ARE SOLD. THERE ARE STILL SOME TO BE INCLUDED FROM SLIDES AND PERHAPS THERE ARE SOME LEFT IN MY COLLECTION IN NEW MEXICO.
These paintings were done and some sold in Galleries at the end of our time there before we came back to live in Maryland. This one reminded me of Georgia Okeefe. Though it is simply the view out of an east window in our adobe house that we built, with a antlers and geraniums and the view of the Sangre de Cristio mountains.
I was still using mostly Watercolor in this group of paintings on paper but had learned to use some Acrylic some times in the sky , but not at all in this one with it’s water color sky. These full sized works on paper were the last series of southwest work. there were a large number and though I have here several of this last series in New Mexico before we moved to Maryland there are more still in slide form. The three large acrylic on canvas paintings done at this time also between 1989 -91.
This damaged photo was scanned and will be replaced when I make my slides digital. This is a sandstone formation very close to our place in Chimayo a continuation of the beautiful badlands formations and the flora around like Indian Paintbrush. This is a beautiful out croping of wind and water carved rocks to the west of us. The Border is as usual a Pueblo pottery design.
This one is in the Collier/ Malmgren collection. It is part of the group of paintings that mixed in New Mexico landscapes with Mexican / Aztec images, the Connecxiones concept- in this case, as old Aztec clouds floating by….. The lacy quality of the Pueblo border design and a similar feeling of the Aztec design clouds with the intricate winter pink cactus and delicate snow pattered mountains seem to work visually…if you remember the idea of connections of the North New Mexican Sonoran desert cultures somehow with the Southern Sonoran cultures of long ago..
This one was a favorite of mine even though there is such a heavy sky -still I love this one – the border is a Chimayo classic woven rug design. The clouds are Pueblo pottery designs. The sky is a heavy Gouache ( a water based tempera paint) . Some of these painting were sold -this one above is definite, but I think I also may have some still and just won’t know for sure which ones I still have until i go back to New Mexico and find out.
Next are the large canvases from this last part the the time in New Mexico -1970-1991.
This is large canvas done in acrylic with a return to the circular format of the mandala series. It is a very nostalgic subject matter.. a place in the dusty road nearby our house with an old crumbling adobe , with the appropriate cow skull . The designs were a new direction, traditional Hispanic NM Colcha designs (embroidery type stitch). Photo is cropped wrong and will be replaced.
This is another of the large acrylic on Canvas works that I did in the last few years before we left for Maryland. This was done after the one above..It is Landscape near by – a view from our land with the border becoming a n imaginary New Mexico wall… with birds…
This one of my all time favorites of the New Mexico works. I must have sold the painting. This is one of my favorite Pueblo Indian Designs.. and the place is wonderful Echo Cave (Amphitheater-natural rock formation) which has a huge echo. This is one of the places I took my water color workshop to draw and paint outdoors about 1993 or 94 – Georgia O’Keefe country… though she did not paint this place.
THE IS A LA RAZA UNIDA ANTI -URANIUM MINING SILK SCREEN POSTER;
THE LAST WORK SHOWN AT THIS TIME DONE IN NEW MEXICO- BEFORE 1991: A Fresco Mural, installed on the back Patio of our hand made house – an Artist/Craftsman made house. The center figure is Santiago -Patron Saint of Chimayo and in the rings and corners of the Mandala.. is Chimayo. I attended a Fresco workshop lead by a Student of students of Diego Rivera from Mexico Mural fame. Rivera was also the teacher and supervisor of his apprenticeship of one of own favorite art professors at the University of Oklahoma in the late 1950’s, Emilio Amero, who went on after helping with the amazing number of miles of Rivera mural in Mexico , to bring modern printmaking techniques to Mexico.Diego Rivera traveled to Italy to bring the secrets of Fresco to Mexico. Used lots of lime with the ground up river rocks etc. but the photo is too washed and will be replaced.
The next two works are also in a completely different medium, as are two above, one a silk screen print then just above a real slaked lime fresco – done while the fresco is still wet- had to be completed in one evening-before the lime dried. Below is one of two mono prints I did in a day long workshop, again a very immediate medium. One paints on glass then pulls a print of of it. My studied, close drawing approach completely missing in this quick paint on glass then print method.
The next two smaller works on paper are maybe from the New Mexico period… I think that the one with a Pot of Cactus was done before 1991 because I remember drawing the cactus from our back patio and drawing with a drawing board out side way back near the north mesa those particular hills, on site not using a photo. Here is that one.
It has the Colcha old Hispanic embroidery styles and two conflicting views and though I was drawing from one view and turned around to put those mountains in that would have been in a different place for compositional reasons.
Next one I am not positive was painted in New Mexico before 1991 – it may have been done at Montpelier using designs and photos and drawings direct from the landscape -always these Santa Fe Snow Patterned ones were done from drawings in the car in Santa Fe… This view is the Sangre de Cristos from the middle of Santa Fe only.Our view in Chimayo is a different view of those mountains of course.
NEXT: We moved to Maryland in the summer of 1991. I began teaching at Prince Georges Community College, and I found a studio at the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center in nearby Laurel.
THE CONTINUATION OF NEW MEXICO WORK WHICH WAS PAINTED AND SHOWN IN 1992 AT MONTPELIER RESIDENTS ARTIST GALLERY IN A SHOW CALLED “CHIMAYO, NEW MEXICO (GOD’S GARDEN)”
This painting (above) is of a very special place on the Northern Horizon behind the house in Chimayo. It is the subject of a lot of my Southwest work. This picture which was sold is where the design starts getting threaded through the all parts of the picture plane.
The next set of paintings are the Desert Track Series. The Idea was given to me by Susan Stevens on a walk in the badlands behind the Chimayo house..the heaven walk I call it. She saw the clear imprint of ubiquitous New Mexican truck tire marks in the hard desert ground as a Border for my work. The Border concept lets the whole of the “picture” work as a design…
There is a new found work similar to the one above and it is in my collection it is presently un-framed and the photo is not quite right -and will be re taken – it is almost a companion piece like the one above At one point I was thinking of combining them in a double mat.
Then this one- the Desert Tracks Diptych from the Georgia O’Keeffe Country around Abique near Ghost Ranch, around the Echo Amphitheater -called that because its wonderful echo and the shape of the echo cave but theses are rock formations/ hills near by.
“Desert Tracks at Abique -Diptych “
This seems to be when the idea came about of using a double mat to turn a vertical format into a horizontal one by placing two vertical views of something side by side in the same double mat. my artistic preference is always upright rather than sideways. I like circles and squares maybe best then tall and thin… its seems to be about composition. The last of these, the Desert Tracks at Abique Diptych was taken back to New Mexico.. maybe some others of these are there and are still in my collection-but in New Mexico. If this had been painted in NM the colors would not be so pale! But is was so much fun making compositional useful borders from wonderfully organic because of the sand and rhythmic because of the nature of Tire Tread.
This kind of land formation is not really that unusual in desert landscape – where everything is revealed not concealed by heavy greenery, the beautiful tans and here in northern New Mexico there is amazing dusty blue green ground cover whether it is Chamisa at lower elevations or sage higher up, plus always dark green organic spots of pinon and juniper low scrub trees everywhere – so much color- All revealed.
This one is named Starry Day similar to Van Gogh’s Starry night… something about the cedar trees on the left and the activated daytime sky..led me to connect them. Below this one is called “Mesa Horizon” my precious “place on the horizon”.
This one is drawn most likely out side on the hill behind the house we built, looking out to my favorite place on the horizon – the north mesa. It has come to represent the feminine principal and some where else on that same horizon is a sand pinnacle which seems like the male principal! This one the place I call the feminine is the highest place on the horizon- the high northern Mesa leading up toward the Sangre De Cristos Mountains.
The High Road to Toas in Northern New Mexico winds around toward Chimayo. Here is where the movie City Slickers was filmed near the land fill near this wonderful outcroping of a wind and water carved Sand stone formation I am calling Guardians. The whole way to Chimayo is beautiful.
Done in 1992
Climbing Sand Pinnacles for a Canyon Overlook
This was drawn from a photo taken while I was climbing up in the very intricate formations in the beautiful badlands behind our place – I called it all God’s Garden- a heaven walk.