I have written a few posts about the way each of us, Alvaro and myself, Barbara, approach painting, the female figure in particular, so we decided to hang the gallery to allow visitors to see those differences for themselves.

Thirteen of my paintings of women hang in our front room, while about the same number of Alvaro’s women hang in our big gallery room.

View of Front Room, July 2010

Second View of Front Room

It is both arresting and interesting to see the differences in so many paintings at once.

View of Big Gallery Room, July 2010

We also decided to contrast our views of landscape. We hung Alvaro’s paintings of Morocco, a land that continues to inspire him, in our second room, while we hung my land and seascapes in the large gallery room. Visitors seem to be enjoying the two themes of the gallery, the differences in our ways of viewing the world.

McCauley's landscapes, July 2010

Cardona-Hine's Morocco

If you are coming to New Mexico, be sure to drive up to beautiful Truchas and follow the signs to our gallery. We will be here all summer. You will be most welcome.

(Truchas is about forty five minutes north of Santa Fe, about the same distance south of Taos, at 8000 feet on the beautiful High Road [State Route 76]. Our gallery is located about a half mile in from the High Road, in the village. We are easy to find. Check out our ads in the Collector’s Guide and the Essential Guide where you can also find very good maps.)


Alvaro has a collection of magnificent museum-quality paintings that were exhibited in a one-man show in 1996 at the McAllen International Museum in McAllen, Texas. The show was titled Mythic Paintings.

Nine of the paintings are based on the Egyptian Isis Osiris myth. Deep rich earth tones with touches of luminescent paint depict parts of the story of Isis/Osiris as well as the myth’s origins in Africa; some of them are loose canvas gessoed to a stretched canvas, so that it appears as though the painting was done on a parchment.

The other five pieces in the show are inspired by Buddhist sutras with the feeling of what the sutra means or intends as the focus. All of the mythic paintings are very large and to be in the presence of even one of them is profoundly moving.

Very few people have had the chance to see these works. They are not pieces we want to sell on our website, but we recently decided to dedicate one page on the site to them in order that more folks have the opportunity to see them. It is not the same, of course, to see them as images on the web, as to be in their presence, but we are pleased to have them seen at last.

So please go to our website www.cardonahinegallery.com and click on Cardona-Hine’s Museum Paintings. I will be adding one painting each week more or less until I have all fourteen of them up. I hope you enjoy them.

This will be the last post comparing Alvaro’s and my paintings of the human figure. My Woman Rising and Alvaro’s Sea Goddess are below.

McCauley Woman Rising 41 x 3

One can immediately see that the approach to both subject and palette is totally different. Woman Rising is a more intimate portrait (albeit of no one in particular); Sea Goddess is contained, formal, the figure representing something larger than the individual.

My interest in the human figure is that I am moved by the gestures we make as human beings, gestures that unconsciously reveal us; in the case of this woman a shyness, a coquettishness.

I like to capture the psychology of the figure, the persona we would wish we were revealing, in this case humility and good manners, but which catch us as we really are and which anyone can see.

Cardona-Hine Sea Goddess 41 x 31

Sea Goddess expresses a more fundamental or archetypal view of the human figure. It harks back to a whole history of representing the figure as larger than our individual lives.

The effect is formal, even distancing, the palette deeply subtle compared to the bright, contrasting colors used in Woman Rising.

Cardona-Hine is aiming at something in us that he would say is our essential nature; we ARE gods and goddesses. We ARE larger than what we present ourselves as being.

Alvaro and I are two artists living together for over 40 years, in the same space, with our individual views, our specific focuses. The only way to be!

Cardona-Hine West Indies Girl 41 x 31

Alvaro and I both paint out of the paint itself. After putting on an undercoat of random, or not so random, colors, we each then move with the paint’s suggestions to find our subject matter. I usually use up whatever paint is left over from a previous painting; Alvaro just starts with paint out of his tubes, mixed right on the brush, and put on in free strokes. In some way, each of us is accessing intuition to lead us into the painting

West Indies Girl was painted in March, 2009, in Todos Santos, Mexico, where we stayed and worked for three months. The painting would have begun as explained above, and perhaps the head was first a sun above a horizon, them, as black was applied in other parts of the canvas, the face seemed a logical substitute and so the figure was born, the body loose and free and almost falling away into nothing toward the lower half of the canvas.

McCauley Leaving the Party 25 x 21

The woman in this painting appeared in the underpaint, not fully formed yet, but the rythmn of her body and her whole head were there for me to pull out. This sort of appearance has been happening with many others of my figures in the past couple of years. Of course I am looking, but I do not force them up out of the paint. When I looked closely at a darker spot where the face now is, that is what I saw–her face–and pulled out the fullness of it as you see it here.

I was not trying for a black, nor a Caribbean woman, but, not only the face,  but the rhythmn of the body, the dress, the arms, all suggested both black and Caribbean. I added, on my own, the boyfriend/husband in the distance, hands so familiarly on the hips as he waits for her to say her final good-byes! How many of us women have seen our husbands out by the car, in front of the store, or at the door of a house waiting like that? I couldn’t resist. And the painting needed another focal point beyond her. I love this woman, her energy, and confidence. I even love the guy with his impatience.

Cardona-Hine Cuban Dancer 41 x 31

Cardona-Hine’s Cuban Dancer exploits Latin rhythms to create a figure that is both elegant and flamboyant. The expanse of blue speaks for the sea, and the sun has ended black in tune with the African background of the dancer. Basic to the painting is a dynamic use of feminine curves everywhere except for the horizon, the only masculine element, which partially penetrates the waistline of the figure. Like his other figures, we have here an elemental person, not a real one.

McCauley Windy Day 24 x 29

Windy Day contains not only the energy and presence of the wind, but the balletic pose and elegance of the figure, both of which balance the painting’s surface and field. The colors also are balanced, but with an intuitive force rather than a thought-out plan. Like Alvaro, I approach the canvas with my own blankness, entering what begins to appear and drawing it out. I might have some idea that I’m thinking of a figure rather than a landscape, say, but, other than that it is all wide open. That is what gives the painting its spontaneity and life force, and what makes painting for both of us the great delight it is.

Windy Day is now in its permanent home with a wonderful couple in their home in Santa Fe.

I began this blog by apologizing for having lost all the material on our other gallery blog, with a different provider. Apparently that blog is still available though I’ve asked for it to be erased. The good news is that I got a couple of comments on it, so was able to retrieve all the material I had written on that one. I want to copy in a few of those entries in the next few blogs.

Today there are clouds overhead. Large, puffy, moving fast clouds, promising rain later today. The wind is puffing along too. Earlier I was out in front cleaning up the gardens. I love this time of year: the preparation for the new growth; the hauling away of all the yellow and brown detritus of winterkill; the earth still wet from the months of snow, smelling rich and deep, the green of things held close to the ground as though waiting for the full warmth to come.

The gophers are clearly happy too, their tunneling visible above ground all over the yard, in my vegetable garden, in the back field. It being spring I have not the bile up yet to curse them. All the daffodils I had planted to shoo them away–having read that they hate daffodils–are either the wrong kind, or I bought a myth instead of a fact. But again, it being spring, I delight in their resumption of life like everything else.

In the intensely blue sky, far above, ravens play. First they flap into the wind then let themselves be taken, sliding off fast over a huge distance. Once in a while I hear one of them call out in that hoarse, throaty rasp of theirs. The wind almost blows it away.

I will not be painting until the garden cleanup is complete. Alvaro is working on poetry and music, also not at this time painting. But we are both taking it all in, it being this magnificence we live within and one of these days, that accumulation will have to come out. Happy Spring!