A VISIT WITH TERUKO WILDE AT HER STUDIO IN EL PRADO, NM
Text by Bonnie Gangelhoff, Photos by Eric Swanson
This story was featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Describe your studio. My studio is located in El Prado, NM, on the mesa just north of Taos. The view from my main studio is, as the expression goes, a “million dollar” view. There are views of the Taos and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The distant mountains toward the south are covered by snow on the top, and that lasts well into June. Viewing the changes in the sky from dawn to sunset is something I still feel in awe of after living here for 28 years. I have set up three easels in the studio, and I always have works in progress on display there. I have a second studio space for the summer to do some smaller works, such as watercolors, and it is located in the house on the first floor.
Tell us about the original structure on which you built your third-floor studio. The original building, which is underground, is known as an Earthship, a term that comes from the architect Michael Reynolds, who developed the structures back in the 1970s. There are two floors underground. The room temperature on these two floors remains around 52 degrees all year. It is exceptionally cool and comfortable in the summer in the house. I added a third story for my studio, which is above the ground.
What do you keep in your main studio? I have a large collection of art by many painters and sculptors throughout my house. But in my main studio there are only my works and works by a few sculptors, such as Stanley Bleifeld, Les Perhacs, Melissa Zink, and Shirley Thomson-Smith.
Do you listen to music in the studio? I love classical music, mainly because there are endless choices by so many composers who have created pieces over the span of several hundred years. Their experiences in life and their personalities are similar to those of creative visual artists. I only listen to music when I am able to truly listen; I don’t have it on just as background. I like silence when I start to paint. Facing the white canvas is exciting, and it does not need any music. When I am halfway or more toward finishing my paintings, then I listen to music, simply to enjoy the sounds and study the progress of my painting.
Describe your summer studio, the third space where you paint. My summer studio was first built as an unconventional garage, about 70 feet from the main house and studio. It’s a covered porch that looks like, and has the feeling of, a Japanese tea house. I had to remove a roof that wasn’t functioning. Now there is a roof over part of this studio that is almost transparent. I use this space to do large paintings, so I can drip or splash paint without concern for making the floor dirty. The floor is gravel and I have it covered with a rug. In this studio I also have inspiring views and fresh outdoor air. I use this space mostly in the mornings because it becomes windy in the afternoons. My next project will be to enclose it with glass walls.
What attracts you to the landscape as subject matter? I chose landscape because I love nature. I have done many subjects and many styles for the first 10 years or more of my professional life. But since my move to New Mexico, the landscape is the only thing that inspires me to paint. I have traveled to many areas all over the United States. But the view from my studio is a constant inspiration to me. The Taos landscape influences me to be peaceful and appreciative of Mother Nature’s blessings.
If your studio were on fire, what one thing would you save? In case of fire, I will grab my purse and run. If there is time, I may grab some family photos.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not painting? When I’m not painting I am either using my time for “other” responsibilities, visiting cities for cultural stimulation, or going on painting trips, not necessarily to paint on location but to get lost in nature. I also enjoy hiking in the woods or meditating in open space. In the winter I may vacation on a beach, doing nothing.
Where do you take people when they come to visit you in Taos? I seldom have visitors, but when I do, I take them to Total Arts Gallery in Taos and McLarry Modern in Santa Fe.
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