In southwestern art there is a set, or palette, of colors that appear more than any other. These popular colors are part of the local culture and seen in the Spanish and Pueblo inspired architecture in the area. Whether you find blue, green, red, tan, white and brown they all follow the pattern of being a natural color. That is a color found in the natural environment.
In my mind, any southwestern architectural design must include the color blue. Namely, the brilliant sky blue you find on the doors and windows of the houses and business in the Taos and Santa Fé areas.
This light blue color not only distinguishes itself by creating a wonderful contrast between the tan and brown of the usual adobe, but in a sense draws your attention to the doors and windows and highlights the reds and whites of the colorful chili ristas and fragrant flowers that are so common in the local gardens.
Not only does the blue work as a wonderful artistic counter to the other rich colors of the Southwestern palette, but it has a religious and spiritual significance too.
In the Southern areas of the United States, especially located where the original Spanish existed, blue is the color chosen to paint the ceilings of the porches that typically surround the colonial houses. This is not by accident. There was a belief, now more of a prescribed tradition, that the blue ceiling would confuse any evil spirits from entering the house. The spirits would think the blue ceiling is the sky and become trapped on the porch without the ability to enter the house proper.
The same tradition occurs in areas of the southwest. Here, The doors, gates, and especially windows show off the brilliant bright blue paint. So when the evil spirits try to enter the house either of their own volition or by following someone, they become trapped in the window or door unable to enter the house proper.
Whether you believe such stories or not, the fact remains that between the crystal blue skies of the mountains and the bright and cheerful colors of the houses, the Southwest has a lot to offer for artistic inspiration.
So, I leave you with a famous doorway that has been the focus of many an artist due to its size, color and sheer beauty. Enjoy.
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