grand canyon artist in residence

In Oct. 2013 my residency at the south rim was cut short due to the government shutdown.  I was invited to do it again and given the choice of a few months.  I decided that Feb. was a good time to see the canyon in a different light and mood with winter weather. There probably won’t be many folks there either, so a quiet time lies ahead. My partner Kat is going as well and we are looking forward to exploring together. We will be on the south rim for the first 3 weeks of Feb. and will experience the full and new moon during our time, so I plan to do some night photography too. Stay tuned for some images as the weeks unfold!

Isis Temple from the South Rim

Isis Temple from the South Rim

Posted in Kathleen's Blog

the art of the documentary

The Art of the Documentary

I am happy to announce the opening of my exhibit at Harwood Museum of Art

I hope you will make time to see it and email me with your comments! 

Saturday February 22 – Sunday May 4, 2014


Three monitors will display work of the last several years including:


Grand Canyon  A video diary – As artist in residence (AiR) of the Grand Canyon in October 2013, I had the opportunity to make visual and audio recordings of life at the Canyon: the landscape itself, the rangers who protect it, and the tourists who admire it.



Maxwell, Ground Zero -The changing climate and landscape of the world at large – and the southwest in particular – have prompted a long-term undertaking of documenting the impact on the land and lifestyle of Northeastern New Mexico. Clips from interviews associated with this ongoing project will be screened.



The New Neighbor – a short film inspired by the fact that Dennis Hopper is buried in our neighborhood. Produced with fellow student John Hamilton, while learning filmmaking at UNM-Taos.


Director’s Circles & VIP Preview Reception 
Thursday, February 20, 5-7 pm

Alliance Members’ Opening Reception
 Friday, February 21, 5-7 pm

Open to the public  Saturday February 22 – Sunday May 4, 2014

If you wish to become a member of the Harwood Museum Alliance please join here.



Posted in Kathleen's Blog

far away places

Friday was the full moon and I went to Hopi Point, one of the most popular places on the rim, to squeeze in along the railings with visitors from all over the world.



I am continually amazed and delighted to hear the voices of people who have journeyed far and wide to experience this wonder of the Great Mother.

Here along this parade of railings and stone walls there are no barriers to each other in this commonality of witnessing and being together. Everyone is in a good mood and we become instant friends sharing conversation, trading places for a better look or photo op.



There is the cell phone, ipad, selfie pics and employing some person nearby to snap a pic of you and yours.


The moon comes up, we stamp our feet to stay warm and as the sun disappears, most everyone boards the shuttle bus, leaving the few who linger.  I linger too and when everyone has gone and the sky is lit only by the moon, I take an image of that silver light on the canyon.
























Posted in Kathleen's Blog

where Nature still rules supreme

John C. Van Dyke wrote a book about the Grand Canyon in 1919 and I borrow his words for today’s entry.

Oh! The great sanity of her poise, the calmness of her mood, the serenity of her visage splendid!

Was there ever a time in human history when a return to Nature was so much needed as just now? How shall the nations be rebuilded, the lost faith and hope renewed, the race live again save through the Great Mother whom we have forsaken? How shall we live without her?


…need I apologize for attenpting to point out this majestic beauty? It has lain here unheeded for so many centuries while the generations have gone to the shades worn out with their own vanities. Will they never turn again to the beauty of the world? Though we call in vain, still let us call.














Posted in Kathleen's Blog

Grand Canyon South Rim Artist-in-Residence October 2013

Press Release

Photographer and mixed-media artist Kathleen Brennan  from Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, is Artist-in-Residence October 2013.

Kathleen’s diverse body of work explores the idea of the transformative process of our world, both culturally and environmentally. She’s interested in capturing the beauty of the subtle – in both her landscapes and portraits.

She has photographed the high plains deserts decimated by the dust storms of the 1930s, the surgical scars on a woman undergoing breast cancer treatment, and the changing appearance of a man dying of AIDS. Her work tenderly exposes the vulnerability and strength of these diverse subjects in order to evoke a protective response from her viewers – with empathy comes action and advocacy.

While in-residence, Kathleen intends to document the four elements – earth, water, fire and air – as they sculpt the environment of the Grand Canyon ecosystems. She’ll be working with soundscapes, video and time-lapse photography to create final work that expresses the transitory nature of the desert southwest, as well as the slow processes that literally and figuratively shape how people view this rarest of landscapes.

During her residency, Kathleen will work with the local high school art students on a hands-on photography project. Park Headquarters will host an exhibit of Kathleen’s photographic pigment prints from September 2nd – 30th; open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Kathleen will also present an artist talk during an Evening Program on October 11th, 2013 – 7:30 p.m. at Shrine of the Ages.


Posted in Kathleen's Blog

remembering the dust bowl

Recently, I read about the Dust Bowl as written by Timothy Egan in “The Worst Hard Time.” You’ll find a NY Times Review here:

Although we aren’t facing what the folks of the 30’s were, it seems that we are facing the elements of dust, drought , stress on wildlife and the land, and extreme fire danger.

Everyday, it seems, brings news of fires in NM and throughout the west.

Reading Egan’s book spurred me on to Clayton, NM and into Texas and Oklahoma where the dust bowl began.


Clayton Crossroads CountryPrairie Outside ClaytonCows Grazing on Parched LandFarmers and Stockmens BankIsaacs Hardware Store

While in Clayton, I was told that Bess Isaacs who still works the family hardware store, had stories to tell about the dust bowl days and she agreed to an interview.

Posted in Drought in New Mexico

where the black top ends: part four

This short video shows the plains between Cimarron and Maxwell, NM and how they looked on recent windy days.
My nights have been filled with howling windy dreams…


Posted in Drought in New Mexico, Kathleen's Blog

where the black top ends: part three

Roger Kuchan of Kuchan Ranch explains how the drought in New Mexico is affecting his way of life.

His family has been in northeastern New Mexico for six generations. His grandparents came from Yugoslavia to work in the coal mines near Dawson, NM. Many immigrants came to call northeastern, NM their home….Yugoslavians, Russians, Polish, Italians and when coal mining ended, those who didn’t leave turned to other ways of living in the area.

Roger parents were farmers and ranchers who lived and worked some of the land that is now occupied by the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge. They relocated just on the outskirts of Maxwell, NM which they still call home today and built their ranch to 8,000 acres. Roger continues to have cattle, but a much diminished herd and he hasn’t farmed his 400 acres of hay for 4 years as a result of the drought. The best he can do is disc the land in hopes of keeping it from blowing.

Posted in Drought in New Mexico, Kathleen's Blog

where the black top ends: part two

When I got to Maxwell, I visited with Joanna the Village Clerk and she set up an interview with Mayor Kay Pinkston for the next day. Here is the video.


Posted in Drought in New Mexico, Kathleen's Blog

where the black top ends: part one

Maxwell, New Mexico:  Ground Zero

I was reading the Sunday paper recently to find another story on the front page about the serious drought here in New Mexico. The lack of water is affecting the Southwest. This story was about a small town on the eastern plains called Maxwell. The paper spoke about the wells going dry out there and the need to rehab them if the residents were to have any water at all. Kay Pinkston is the Mayor of Maxwell and she spoke about the drought that has been affecting the area for the last several years.

I decided that I needed to go out there to see for myself what was going on. Water has been a concern of mine since my youth and the plains a visual well of images for my photography. I’ve always felt drawn to the plains, the wide open spaces “where the buffalo roam”. In 2006, I started a series called, back in time. The winds were fierce, the dust pervasive and the desolation was a reminder of the Dust Bowl era. I knew it was time to update what I had started.

buffalo, drought, plains, new mexico

Buffalo on Hwy. 63 east heading towards Raton, New Mexico

I checked out my map and saw that the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge  was adjoining the village of Maxwell, so I decided to go there first on my way to the village.

Mule deer near Lake 13 at the Refuge

It was a windy day with clouds threatening rain as I made my way through Angel Fire and Cimarron and out to the plains. Sure enough as soon as I reached the flat wide open space the wind became fierce. To the south I saw the dust billowing across the land. At first, I thought “fire” and quickly realized it was the prairie taking flight to the east.

The dust takes flight along Hwy 64 east

I made my way to the Refuge along Hwy. 505. As I got closer to my destination, what was once grasslands that swayed in the wind, was now just New Mexico dirt with nothing to hold it down.

What was once grasslands

My map showed a large lake called Stubblefield dam that was now empty with a white substance like the build up from the hard water at home. I learned that it is Alkali salts and they were blowing too.

Alkali Salts Blowing across Lake 14


There were a few cattle here and there but mostly naked ground and manure. I found the Refuge headquarters and got my map from the manager Leeann Wilkins. I learned that the refuge was losing its’ winter population of birds and wildlife because there was no water in the lakes, which meant no water for farming. The birds are learning to change their migration pattern looking for water and food farther to the east in Oklahoma. Leeann told me that even if the lakes replenish with snow and rain, the juvenile birds with the knowledge of a new migration would probably not return to the refuge over time.

Inlet to Lake 14

Three Eagles at Stubblefield Dam







Posted in Drought in New Mexico, Kathleen's Blog