Summer in Taos is magpie heaven!
The birds who spend the winter foraging and fortifying their massive nests, come out in full force. On any given day one can see them dipping and diving from the sky all over town and in the countryside. They may as well be our bird mascot.
Many artists here have painted them, especially Jim Wagner who is known for incorporating them into his whimsical work, and Abbie Williams has taken up the magpie motif as well.
When I visited Sue Westbrook at Taos Blue last week, I wandered into the gallery’s back rooms to see what was new. Sue is always changing things around, keeping it all looking fresh and bright, incorporating new inventory in surprising ways. Taos Blue is the best place to discover hidden treasures in town! From vintage Americana to Fine Art, you’ll find it here.
Three women were gathered around a group of small paintings on a wall; the light from the windows illuminating the metal leaf the artist had used on a few of them. They were mostly of magpies in flight or not, their distinctive markings and deep blue feathers, captured brilliantly in these renderings.
“What are these birds?” One woman asked as I approached.
“We’ve seen them everywhere,” another chimed in.
“Magpies,” I told them. “Be careful,” I indicated to the bling they were all sporting, “they love shiny objects and the locals say they are tricksters too.” I laughed.
One woman touched the ring on her finger.
“I’m joking of course,” I said, “but they are spectacular birds, related to crows and ravens, they talk a lot!”
“They do,” the third woman exclaimed. “We first noticed them because of the racket they were making when we woke up this morning.”
These sweet paintings by Abbie Williams capture the energy and beauty of these curious and frequently comical birds, who really are a joy to watch as they cruise their environs looking for action, supplies, food and the occasional shiny object!
Williams is classically trained as a painter and has spent her life painting on the coast of Maine and here in the High Desert of Northern New Mexico.
She says she “works to capture the extraordinary way the light changes moment to moment which affects my response to the colors that are often too subtle for the casual observer.”
“I am continually inspired by the challenges the local environment presents.”
Clearly this includes mischievous magpies (as well as the occasional cow,)
Taos Blue is located across the street from the Historic Taos Inn. Just look (and listen), for the bells (and bats) hanging under the portal.
For more information about Abbie Williams and Taos Blue, please visit the site linked below this post.
All images taken on my iphone