Friday, July 3, 2015

More photos from the Aztec, NM, trip

On the last day of a family trip to New Mexico, my granddaughter and I sketched at the ruins in Aztec, designated a World Heritage site in 1987, where the elevation is high (5877 ft) and the heat (98-100ºF) is "dry".   

Right now, with our current heat wave in the Seattle area, the daily temperatures are surprisingly similar to northwestern New Mexico but the breathable oxygen is definitely not. The terrain and vegetation are completely different from where we live in the Seattle area.
My granddaughter, daughter-in-law (#3) and I sat in the sweltering hot sun while sketching at the ruins in Aztec. I sketched the skyline in watercolor (#1) while my granddaughter did a pencil sketch (#4) of the restored Kiva.
We explored this restored 900-year old ancestral Pueblo Great House (Kiva). It's the only one in the nation which allows visitors inside. You could look up and see original timbers holding up the roof. There is a superb video tour of the Great Kiva on the Aztec Monument site. More information about the ruins can be found there as well.

All the overlooks, viewpoints and benches were in full sun and high on sweltering hot hilltops. So my granddaughter and I sketched as fast as we could and then escaped into the shade between sketches. We finally had to cool off indoors to add color later.

A Few Details:
The shade inside the ruins was comparatively cooler, perhaps right down to the low 90's. You can see the thick walls, where we posed our sketchbooks in a doorway recess. The original centuries-old timber preserved in the wall made it possible to see ancient thumbprints in the nearby mortar. I saw what looked like a bird and snake carved into another one of the stones outside. (zoom adjacent image lower right.)

The Aztec National Monument was established in 1923 along with Chaco Culture National Historical Park to the south. It has an area of about 320 acres (130 hectares). Built of sandstone, mud, and stones by ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians, these multilevel communal dwellings have over 400 rooms.  If you search, you can find the fingerprints of ancient workers in the mortar.

PS. Back home now and I finally have access to my own internet, laptop and camera card. I trust that you enjoyed these extra photos from a trip that is indelibly memorable to me. We plan to return, since this visit to the ruins was only for under two hours. (See previous post.)  By the way, did I say it was hot?


  1. Love the photos of you sketching. Too bad it was so uncomfortably hot. Great photos of the inside of the ruins and the texture of the walls. Looks like a great place to visit!

    1. Thanks, Joan. I am always stunned by the sense of history that encompasses these places. It amazes me to think that 900 years ago someone stood where I stood today and built this.

  2. Welcome home, Michele -- missed you! I'm wimpier than you are about the heat -- I couldn't have done that sketch in the desert!

    1. Thanks, Tina. Missed you, too. Can't wait to take up regular Friday sketching again! I don't know about how wimpy you think you are. You've been holding your own against our little heat wave around here! :))