Tag Archives: ristra

Santa Fe chili ristras sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Courtyard pantry

I live in the Pacific Northwest, where the weeks after daylight saving time ends can be pretty grim. To combat the dark gray days, I surround myself with color. On my studio table is a big bouquet of fall flowers in a bright yellow pitcher. In the root cellar are piles of rainbow root vegetables and parti-colored squash. And just like I’ve done before, I’m flipping through memories of red chili ristras and cheerful desert courtyards in my sketchbook, looking forward to the sun’s return.

Chili ristra wreath sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Red and green

If you find yourself in a New Mexico restaurant, your server will ask you if you want red or green chili sauce with your entrée. If you happen to want both, you can answer “Christmas,” and they’ll know what you mean.

Well, I didn’t happen to have a sketch of “Christmas” on a plate, but I figured this was the next best thing. Whether you’re in New Mexico or somewhere else this year, I wish you a very merry Christmas, indeed.

Chili ristras sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Red hots

Oh, sure. I love a fall full of pumpkins, bright gold trees, crisp air—all the usual stuff. But thanks to a few years spent living in southern Colorado, shiny-waxy-red chili ristras are also a sure sign of autumn in my mind. They’re not something you see around my neck of the woods, but a bright slash of red would go a long way toward keeping the grey pall of a Northwestern November at bay.