Spirit of a Studio - Roberto and PJ Cardinale

Photos by C. Whitney-Ward

Roberto (Bob) and PJ Cardinale met 47 years ago in art school and it only took them a year to realize that they were smitten. So if my math is correct, these amazing artists  have been happily married for 46 years. They have both traveled many artistic paths wending their way to Santa Fe,  but their art has merged into a lovely collaboration   - Structures & Surfaces - Churches Around the World - that will be showcased at the JANE SAUER GALLERY from March 16th (artists reception) - April 10.

Bob's passion for ecclesiastical architecture began a number of years ago when he was a Benedictine monk. He began making architectural paintings that people loved. "What gets encouraged you do," quips Bob. And then he began making small churches and that evolved into larger scale and more detailed spiritual dwellings. Many of the churches have a door that swings open or  a drawer built into their architecture and PJ creates a diminutive assemblage that is carefully chosen for each church that presents a lovely visual treat when the drawer or door is pulled open.

But, their collaboration goes deeper than that. Their home  - a contemporary double adobe built in the style of famed architect Luis Barragan - is  a charming amalgam of their passion for collecting folk and contemporary art and their eye for arranging it. But they both admit that Bob is the facilitator -  he holds the ladder and drills the holes and PJ is the arranger. The end result is a home that is filled with art and draws the eye to every surface...

This wonderful ever-changing wall of hearts is Bob's Valentine to PJ each year.

And, they both have separate studios that are large, airy and full of their in-progress work. PJ is multi-talented. She is a jewelry designer, art book journeler and collagist. Her studio is filled with cabinets and drawers that beg to be opened to reveal their squirreled-away treasures.

P J' S   S T U D I O

Handmade valentines & jewelry

B O B' S   S T U D I O

A church in progress.
Bob uses a combination of white pine and corrugated paper, and begins with lots of research and then drawings.

This was his first church; a visual reminder of how far his artistry has come.

When I asked him why churches? He said simply - "They just excite me."

652 Canyon Road - Santa Fe

Friday, March 16th


  1. Always great work and wonderful things to see at Cardinale's!

  2. I think being able to photograph an artist's space/home is at the top of my list. I'm intrigued by this creative couple. How marvelous they found each other and now their home /studios are filled to the brim with art and the things they love. Oh how I'd love to meet them as well, but actually I already have. You were kind enough to bring us all along with YOU! :)