Truchas artist Sally Delap-John has spent several seasons along the High Road to Taos, and her oil painting exhibit now running at Northern’s Center for the Arts (CFA) Gallery highlights some of the striking landscapes she has stopped to paint along the way. The exhibit, Seasons Along the High Road, is running now until March 15 and is free and open to the public.
“It is truly beautiful in every season,” Delap-John said of her time spent along the high road. “Fall is vibrant. Winter is beautiful in a quiet way. Every painter here knows there is a special quality to the light in northern New Mexico that’s ideal for painting.”
Originally from California’s Central Valley, Delap-John made an unplanned stop in Truchas during a family reunion trip to do a quick painting of a beautiful landscape that caught her eye. Before she was finished, a gallery owner spotted her painting on the roadside and asked her to return to Truchas to stay for ten days. Not long after this visit, Delap-John and her husband, a helicopter mechanic, made Truchas their home.
“In Truchas, I was accepted right away by my neighbors. They made me feel very welcome,” said Delap-John about her adjustment to living in New Mexico.
Before moving to New Mexico, Delap-John worked almost exclusively in watercolor. In fact, she says she used to not even look at oil paintings because she had such an aversion to the medium. Looking at her extraordinary oil paintings, this aversion is somewhat surprising and not at all evident. Upon moving to New Mexico, Delap-John, drawn to the buildings and villages of the High Road, found herself wanting to be onsite painting and quickly realized that oils were better suited to the plein air style of painting she began to favor.
“I start painting and I don’t stop until I’m finished,” she said. “I don’t even take time to stand back to look at the canvas, I just keep painting.”
Delap-John’s paintings can be seen at her gallery in Truchas as well as at La Posada in Santa Fe. The exhibit at Northern’s CFA Gallery runs until March 15. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. On Friday March 11 there will be an artist reception at the CFA Gallery from 4–6 p.m. offering an opportunity to meet Delap-John and enjoy the exhibit before it closes. The High Road String Band, another project Delap-John is involved in with other local residents, may make a guest appearance at the reception as well. These events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Fine Arts Department at Northern, (505)747-2295.
ABOVE: The artist outside her Truchas gallery and home, Delap-John Gallery.
RIGHT: Delap-John's painting of Truchas that she did on her first somewhat accidental and fateful visit to Truchas years ago on a family vacation.
BELOW: A sampling of Delap-John's enchanting High Road landscapes.