“Ranchos de Taos”
watercolor by kayti sweetland rasmussen

It’s entire name is “San Francisco de Asis Mission church and it has stood in the plaza in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico since 1816. Possibly one of the most photographed churches in the Southwest, its rear view has attracted the attention of artists from all over the world because of its smooth sculptural adobe form.

Ansel Adams used the church as part of his Taos Pueblo art book Georgia O’Keeffe described it as one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards. I have been fascinated by its colonial era beauty since I first came upon it in the 1960’s. I have painted it many times in watercolor, oils and acrylic and it changes each time, and each time I paint it, I love it more.

Front view of Ranchos de Taos Church

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.


    1. I knew that you would have wandered that way more than once Curt. It has such a sense of timelessness rising out of the earth itself. The old churches in New Mexico are equally as beautiful as the over dressed European models.


  1. I have a photo of this church sitting on a shelf in my kitchen. I haven’t been there for years, but I was so impressed when I first saw it. My photo’s a bit like your painting: impressionistic, and taken from that same angle. It’s not my photo, but a pro’s. I’m not sure I even had a camera at that point. No matter. I remember the trip pretty well. You’ve captured it beautifully. It’s amazing that such a heavy, almost stolid building can seem so ethereal.

    Did you see that I found you on Twitter? I was looking for who knows what among the Google images yesterday, and there was your watercolor of my milo piles! I clicked on it, expecting to land here, but instead I found myself on Twitter. So, I followed you, and sure enough, this post showed up there today, too. I don’t tweet much myself, but I like the site for keeping up with journals, magazines, and various artists in a quick and easy way. Now I have another way to keep up with you!


    1. It IS interesting how that view of a church in a dusty plaza has captured the attention of visitors all over the world? Remembering the first time I stumbled upon it so many years ago, I had no idea of how famous it was. My friend Georgia said “let’s go inside”. Once inside, I was overcome with the faith of 200 years. It was positively awe inspiring. So quiet and peaceful. It was only after that experience that I found myself forever captured by the sculptural beauty of the exterior in the rear. I’m so happy you have a photo of it. You need to see it in person next.

      I follow a few on “Twitter, but I don’t really know how to use it!


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