No Art- Some Help, Please

Hey, followers and readers: I want your input.

But first, I want to tell you about Bandelier National Monument.

After we spent enough time looking over miles and miles of New Mexico from Whiterock, we headed back to Bandelier. Just like the bus driver had said, there were no rangers at the entrance. So we drove in. At the welcome center, there were throngs of people waiting to catch the last few buses, but the rest of the park was pretty quiet.

Bandelier National Monument is nestled in a gorge near the Jemez Mountains and Valles Caldera. It’s called Fijoles Canyon.  There is an ancient settlement built into the cliffs as well as a Pueblo on the valley floor.

Here’s something I found fascinating. Over a million years ago, the Valles Caldera super volcano exploded, depositing volcanic material for miles around, including a layer of volcanic ash on what is now Bandalier. Over the centuries, the volcanic ash hardened into a soft stone called tuff. The tuff has been sculpted into some fascinating features by the winds and the rains coming off Valles Caldera. There are spires, and buttresses, and small caves carved into the tuff. The ancient pueblo people and their ancestors carved their homes into the soft cliffs, and used the stone to build larger villages and kivas.

Valles Caldera continues to help shape Bandelier. The rain that fell miles away in the caldera made the little stream at Bandelier swell well past its banks. We could see where vegetation had recently been flattened by rushing water. I mean recently within the previous few hours! There were also signs warning of flash flood potential!

I can remember reading about a group of hikers in a canyon that got caught in a flash flood. It had rained many miles away, and all the water drained and funneled into the canyon they were in. I don’t remember where they were. In fact, a quick Google check shows me dozens of flash flood canyon drownings.

I haven’t painted anything from Bandelier yet. That’s where I hope you all come in.

So tell me, what do YOU think I should paint first? I’ve numbered them in the captions. Let me know in the comments. Or go to my Facebook page -the link is in the right margin. Or email me at john@artofjohnfrench.com .

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#1 A kiva at Bandelier. A kiva was used as a spiritual and ritual chamber. It would have been covered and entered through the roof.
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#2 Aunt, Uncle and the Boy walking the trail through the ruins.
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#3 This is a rebuilt structure against the cliff. I like this picture.
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#4 Walls of the village on the valley floor.
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#5 There are no doorways in these walls. Entrance was through the roof by climbing down a ladder. This protected the people against invaders.
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#6 Look at these spires!
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#7 The pueblo below, looking from the cliff dwellings.
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#8 I really love this one too. Great lines!
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#9 Look at the “sight holes” and loops in the rock.
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No number… I won’t paint this one. The Boy’s taking a look inside.
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#10 Neat stairways wind through the rock formations.
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#11 These dwellings must have been three stories high!
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#12 A desert stream. See how some of the plants have been recently flattened. The ground along the banks was still quite wet.
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#13 I love this tall ponderosa pine! At least I think that’s what it is.
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