We recently visited local artist Virginia Maria Romero’s home studio as part of our “Hecho En Las Cruces” series for Neighbors magazine. She filled us in on how she gets inspired and showed just where and how her colorful retablos, acryclic paintings, and poetry come together. Join us for the full tour here, with all the photos that we couldn’t fit in the magazine.
Everything in Virginia’s surroundings have meaning. She hand-painted this cabinet with one of her favorite subjects. On top, she displays finds from her desert treasure hunts.
“This is the messy area. It’s where I begin cutting and sanding panels of wood for my retablos. My dad was a carpenter his whole life, so I sort of inherited a lot of tools. My husband has his things as well. We call it ‘organized hoarding,'” Virginia explains with a laugh.
Virginia begins her favorite part of the retablo process, painting, here on a paint-splattered wooden table beneath a window overlooking her courtyard patio.
A rustic, hinged box stores the natural materials Virginia uses to make her pigments and sealers, including piñon sap and ochre clay, one of the oldest pigments known to man.
Bathed in natural light, Virginia’s peaceful studio is the ideal spot for her to select just the right colors to bring her pieces to life. Here she makes the first strokes on a pigmented wood retablo titled St. Kateri Tekakwitha #2.
The artist poses next to an ethereal acrylic on canvas piece, Crossing Over #2.
To find out where you can see Virginia’s work locally, pick up the July/August issue of Neighbors magazine. To learn more about her work in all forms, visit her website at virginiamariaromero.com.
Photography by Dennis Muncrief