New Mexico Agave
By Renee Nolte-Hodnett
This is one of my favorite paintings from Michael’s Southwest scenes. The way he captures what I call “drinkable colors” are breathtaking to me! The lotus and cactus are my favorite type of plants on the planet so I might be partial to this piece, but I say let the beauty speak for itself.
New Mexico is a favorite place to wonder about, explore, eat, experience, shop and learn of its history. There is immense beauty all around. This is one of my favorite places to get away.
I visited the ABQ botanical gardens with my daughter a couple years before Michael and I met. I’m certain I’ve awed at this very New Mexico Agave. We had a wonderful stroll through the 36 acre themed gardens beside the Rio Grande. So many spots were mesmerizing and even heavenly. I recall taking a lot of pictures and saying how I wished I had a garden, even of small proportion ,just like this.
When Michael wanted to take me somewhere for a quick R&R, I naturally said “well, New Mexico of course”. I can never get enough of its beauty. Michael hadn’t been and shared he’d love to see these places I boast about and even discover new areas we haven’t explored together. I told him “sure, sounds great, but just after we visit Sandia Peak, Old Town ABQ, El Pinto’s and The ABQ Biological Park in Albuquerque!”
Michael and I spent all day at the Bio Park. We spent a lot of time in the Desert Conservatory. This part featured plant life from deserts of the American Southwest. This one particular cactus,the New Mexico Agave, stood out with its “drinkable colors” of blue, teal, aqua, gray, and greens. A wonderful contrast was the reflection of the sun on the hot desert bed as it glowed of orange and hues of clay colors. He photographed many angles, studying its shapes, colors and light. Michael knew this would be part of his collection on canvas. I couldn’t wait for him to finish it because my living room is decorated in a Southwest motif. Now this very piece we have hung in that room. It is such a beautiful upgrade to that room!
The Southwest Genre is sure to be loved by all that love this life, culture and beauty of The great Southwest! We discovered so many wonderful sites and beauties, just waiting there turn to be painted, our photo album is in abundance! The ABQ gardens are a place to visit next time your in Albuquerque so be sure not to miss!
El Santuario de Chimayo
By Renee Nolte-Hodnett
El Santuario in Chimayo, NM is its own charming and spiritual work and wonder. Michael and I visit every time we’re in and around Santa Fe, NM. This historic landmark built in 1815 is famous for the story of its founding and as a contemporary pilgrimage site. It consists of a sacred little adobe church and sacred grounds where people travel long distances to be healed and made whole.
Some of its 300,000 visitors a year come for its history, others for spiritual culture, to us, Michael and I, we love both aspects but mostly it’s the charming beauty and a perfect depiction of life in Old New Mexico.
That’s why we knew we had to bring it back. We timed it just right as the sun was setting with hues of orange glow on the mountain just behind the church. Michael set up his easel. I grabbed the oversized suitcase full of paints and poured him a bowl of water so he could wash off his brushes. We took a few steps down the stairs right next to the river stream that flowed through the grounds.
Let’s go Picasso! He began painting and I began walking the grounds taking the history all in again paying attention to the silence, the wind, the rush of the waters in the stream, and all the symbols of love left for ancestors, prayers, momentous and religious culture.
Every time I made my way back to Michael he’d have a good part of the scene painted. We wanted the perfect glow that the scene radiated. We had a little over an hour to get most of the details before packing it all up due to the sun was going, going, gone... he laid his brushes down. He had captured El Santori and its charming reverent essence.
The painting is now back in Texas and almost finished. The original is for sale.
This piece will be a perfect addition or even a start to a southwest motif as it says so much of Historic New Mexico.
“As I painted this little gem in the desert the sun was setting, the light was changing rapidly. It was all I could do to keep up. Then out of no where the mountain in the back suddenly became a brilliant orange against a still blue sky like it had ignited on fire. It was breathtaking. . “ -Michael Hodnett
The Mission Church
By Renee Nolte-Hodnett
Oh, what a beautiful day this was at the Old Mission Church in New Mexico. Michael and I had just walked on the grounds in a guided tour with a fully informed Pueblo descendant. Besides the “stay on the path,” she reminded us so often due to rattlesnakes it was a most beautiful walk and reverent grounds. Land of the Pueblo. Boy was it ever so hot. I rationed my water most carefully as the sun beat down with no shade in sight, or any that we were allowed to get to. A cool comfort was the Kiva (a room used for religious and political meetings mostly). Once down from the ladder Michael immediately was inspired to create art of the Kiva. This is often how it is every time we visit New Mexico in all its various beauties, a lifetime of inspired work.
We knew we’d have these glorious moments, if you will, in Pecos, NM, at the Mission Church. After we took the tour we went on our own self guided tour taking it all in, saving the best for last. With parched faces and sweat on our brow we finally arrived onto the church grounds. It didn’t matter to us that workers were present replacing bricks to preserve the site or if the clay and mud machines were loud at moments, it was still a most reverent site. I truly felt a sweet, even bold and passionate spirit from these ancient ancestors as I imagined the life of The Mission Church and it’s daily service and love of people, the Pueblo.
I stopped to chat with a worker as he shared his delight in the preservation exercises. I listened to him share his favorite New Mexico landmarks, one being this Mission Church. He pointed out his favorite place to sit while replacing the brick.,At times He catches himself gazing upon the land and wondering about his ancestors and the comfort it brings and makes him love his work even more.
The air was so clean. I felt so refreshed and full of nature’s colors as I too gazed at every crevice of what’s left of the ancient church. These areas are paint worthy but no, not yet, something is calling me...and then I made it around the corner and there...picture perfect!
This moment sealed the deal. The open sky, the ancient timbers, clay bricks, the shape of the wall, the height, the breathtaking earth colors had me at hola! I called Michael to come quick, come enjoy this moment with me and take it all in, this will be your next masterpiece!
“The timbers jetting out of the walls that are hundreds of years old with the mountains in the background made real how old this place was. It communicated a blend of European and Native American tradition. European architecture built with available native resources. There was a great sense of reverence there Knowing that the place was sacred to the native Americans and has been a religious site for hundreds of years. This painting here has allowed me to take that moment with me.” - Michael Hodnett
Galveston Beach Waves
By Renee Nolte-Hodnett
I grew up in Galveston, TX. I loved every moment of my youth on the Island. Each time I return home for a visit I get to reminisce about those days on the beach.
Those beach days...memories that started when I was just a toddler. My dad was on a surf team and my mother created beaded surfer necklaces. I was a beach bum child and absorbed every splendid moment. Our Volkswagen van and clothes always had that coconut oil, and surfer wax smell; our family was golden and bronze in a tan. )ur clothing was beach attire 24/7 as we cheered our dad on while wearing those necklaces.
I recall my dad putting me on a board teaching me how to surf. It was thrilling feeling the waves under me while learning how to balance with the swells as the motion rocked me,. I really didn’t know any other part of the island even existed until I was a little older. I was in my own heaven and didn’t even know it, my moments were just always bliss for me.
I knew of Galveston’s beauty. The views, sounds and smells truly could only be appreciated most by an islander. Galveston has its unique blend of colors and I’m prejudice to it. I’ve seen numerous beaches across the globe and yes, all breathtaking, no doubt about it. But the joy I felt in my heart ,always reflected in my smile, came from my first beach love right in Galveston, Texas.
The gulf separated by the jetties, he spray of the salt water, the rush of the gulf waves, the warm sand between my toes, the beautiful sky filled with seagulls, the sounds of the birds and wind was and will always be home to me.
It was only natural for me to share this love with my husband. After we were married we began traveling together. He hadn’t been to Galveston or at least he doesn’t remember ever going. He spent his childhood in Provo, Utah. So, I took him to my first home and automatically he fell in love. We were again united in love, isn’t that awesome?! To be able to enjoy a thing together is so wonderful in itself and to add the desire to capture beautiful scenes and paint them to make them our own and to share our love with the world is a grand work all together!
”I am mesmerized by water movement whether the clouds in the sky or ocean waves. When we were in galveston painting I really wanted to capture the energy I could sense as the water moved relentlessly to the shoreline. The peaceful passing pelicans to me were a great echo of the water. Peaceful and full of life”. -Michael Hodnett