Sunday, January 16, 2011

“The Secret of Taos Blue Doors” Robert Cafazzo (copyright 2011)

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 and Sue Westbrook of Taos Blue for their generosity and insightfulness.


  1. great post R! for some reason, I cannot imagine just one shade of blue being Taos Blue. I think the variety is indicative of the originality and creativity of Taos. love this...

  2. Fun and fascinating! Thanks for posting this. You could make a really cool coffee table book on this topic. Or has that already been done?

  3. thanks for the stroll, and pondering of the blues...the best of the blues!

  4. Great photos of incredible variety and artistry of doors.

  5. Beautiful series of doors. The colors are so Taos.

  6. Thank you for sharing, they are all so beautiful!

    Warm Regards, Cindylew

  7. This is a lovely post, both words and photos. I've linked to it today from The Zees Go West ( with the hope that a few more people will come your way.

  8. A fascinating and beautiful selection. It goes into my collection of best stories so far found on the worldwideweb. Muito obrigado!

    Barnard Law Collier

  9. Love this story. Found you through the image of the double blue with the red ristas, which is next to the Ranchos de Taos Church, on Pinterest. Wonderful story and photos too.
    peace n abundance,
    I have that image for sale on my shop

  10. Thanks, I remember blue around the windows in Albuquerque and was hunting for the right shade! Now I know.

  11. This post warms my heart. I have a gallon of (not quite) Taos blue paint in my garage. I bought it, in a feeble attempt to somehow bring about the peace of Taos after I returned to my home in North Carolina. There is blue, the color of the doors in Taos ... and then there are blue doors in Taos ... the first is a paint chip ... the second a stirring deep in my heart. Thank you for the beautiful photos, and for sharing traditions. Someday, when I return there, I'll stop by Two Graces and say hello.

  12. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine.
    Θωρακισμένες πόρτες

  13. Very beautiful doors and words. Thanks Robert!