El Portal Authentic Adobe Hotel


#193/365 Paintings

I met with Monty Wilson at the El Portal Luxury Hacienda in Sedona. Monty is an adobe home craftsman/builder — and has been for 35 years. It took him 2.5 years to build the El Portal.

To say that my curious mind was satisfied over breakfast with Monty is an understatement. A true craftsman, he cleared my mind about why adobe homes simple feel so good. Authentic adobe bricks are made of mud, silt, sand, clay and other natural materials not only gives off negative ions but the the adobe is the same temperature as the air. It doesn’t pull your body heat. You exist in harmony with the natural temperatures in the air. So that’s it. That makes perfect sense. Kind of like creating an outer body — additional skin.

As we chatted thermal/solar mass, picking up the views with the design, city bureaucracy, beam design, etc… I began to wonder what it would take to have my own authentic adobe home built. Monty then blew it all into perspective. This might seem obvious to some, (but not me) but an adobe structure in the purest sense begins with hand built bricks. For a 1k square foot home it takes 3k bricks. This takes approx. 2-3 years more labor and 25% more costs. No wonder the ratio is about 5% authentic adobe homes. The difference is palpable. When Steve Segner, the owner joined our conversation (with his super duper cute Beagle) and then gave me a tour of the hotel, the feel of the adobe walls was like silk. Cool, comfortable, effortless.

I asked Monty for his vote of what I would paint. He pointed to this courtyard, but not just the courtyard… the cactus and wisteria woven into the steel reeds upstairs — the railing of the rooms. He summed up the emotional landscape in these words:

I like the how the prickly bits of cactus are softened by the texture of the wisteria and grounded with a strong foundation. ~ Monty Wilson

So human!

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  • Sage Cohen July 16, 2013   Reply →

    Adobe as second skin. That makes so much sense. When I was in Santa Fe in my early 20s, I spent a few days looking at houses and pretending I could afford them. I didn’t know why I was called so deeply to those homes…I needed an outer body then. Maybe we all do.

  • Sherry Richert Belul July 16, 2013   Reply →

    I, too, was drawn to the idea of adobe as an outer body or additional skin. Your painting made me want to grab a great book of fiction and sit in one of those chairs for hours.

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