If you ask anyone around Taos why there are so many doors painted blue, they may say it’s to keep out evil spirits as a protection device or talisman would. That it’s simply beautiful, after all isn’t blue the most popular of all colors.
Take a trip to your local paint supplier and ask for a gallon of Taos Blue, you may wind up with a light blue, a turquoise blue or a blue with a tinge of purple to it. Digging a bit deeper and not quite satisfied with the answers above, I discovered there are many, many answers, and most Taosenos agree to disagree.
Some may think of the starry robes of Our Lady of Guadalupe or of the Virgin Mary, the outer a deep royal blue, the inner a soft pale blue. Robes to envelop, beckoning I will keep you safe from all harm. Creating a feeling of warmth and of love as you enter through a blue door.
For the practical, it’s thought the color blue repels and disorients insects keeping them out of doorways and windows. Insects it seems do not tend to fly upwards into the apex of the blue sky. Flying too high towards the sun we’ve learned from Icarus himself, would lead to disaster.
Blue indicates one of the four sacred directions of Pueblo life, the direction of the Southwest, Red the Southeast, Yellow the Northwest and White signifying the Northeast.
The color of Taos Blue can become an obsession for someone like myself, I’ve roamed around Taos with paint sample chips from the local hardware stores trying to match colors, either too green, or this one too purple, really not a turquoise color, on and on searching to get it right. This may sound too much like Goldilocks in a search to find the right porridge or bed. It’s a mystery after all, a puzzle to be solved and we move on to get to the conclusion of any good mystery.
Whether you take the color of a calm Caribbean ocean and mix it with the color of a clear blue sky, or on a clear day at noon look straight up at the sky to its blue zenith. It’s said that we who live here in Taos live between Heaven and Earth and this is the color of the true Taos Blue, and that’s my little secret I share with you.
Story and all photographs, copyright 2011 Robert Cafazzo
With thanks to the store and gallery owners of Taos, New Mexico. A heartfelt thank you to both Jerry Padilla of the Taos News www.taosnews.com and Sue Westbrook of Taos Blue www.taosblue.com for their generosity and insightfulness.