Joe Anna Arnett and how to prepare for visiting and painting in Santa Fe.
“There’s so much here,” Joe Anna said. “We’re in this very unusual high desert, which people first think sounds desolate without that much going on, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The colors are so rich. I know if people haven’t been to northern New Mexico, they’re going to be surprised.”
See much more here about the NM landscape: https://www.outdoorpainter.com/joe-anna-arnett-on-painting-the-new-mexico-landscape/
But in particular scroll down to read these important tips for out-of-state folks:
"Joe Anna reminds us to be physically prepared for plein air in New Mexico as well. “Please bring a big hat,” she said. “You’ve got to shade your eyes. You’ll notice that the local artists are the ones with the really big hats. You want to shade your eyes, but the light can bounce. You also want to be prepared with sunscreen. I also wear long sleeves to protect my arms and hands from the sun. So when you go out on location, you have your big hat, you have your sunscreen, and you have to have water, because it is a desert and it is dry.”
Speaking of water, we advise everyone to start drinking extra water several days before you begin your travels to New Mexico, partly because of the change in altitude most of us will experience. For example, I’m coming from the forest-rich, rolling hills of Kentucky, with an elevation of only 530 feet. (You can simply Google your state and the word “altitude” if you’re curious about the difference for you.)
When it comes to arriving at PACE, Joe Anna reminds us that our water intake should continue. “You want to hydrate the whole time — before and during,” she said. “You may not be thirsty, but I kind of take water all the time. The high altitude can surprise you. If you’re hydrating, not gulping water but just sipping it continuously, you will probably avoid any kind of headache.”
It will be helpful to know what clothes to pack as well. “The key out here in springtime is to layer,” Joe Anna said. “I have gone out to paint on a cool spring morning and had to stop and shake the snow off because a little snow squall came up, and then roll up my sleeves because the sun came back out, and then it was back to light cold drizzle. I wear a shirt with pockets — artists have to have pockets. I also wear a sweater, and over that I may even have a light down jacket that I can roll up tightly in my backpack.”