Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In the Footsteps of Georgia O'Keeffe

I spent last week in Northern New Mexico with eleven other women from the Montrose Area Adult School. (the title of the course is the title of this blog post)

We began in Taos at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. I slept in her bed! A great place to stay when you are in Taos....the stories those walls could tell. The breakfasts were fabulous and the staff friendly & helpful. For those of you who love houses, this is the place...second floor bathroom windows painted by D.H. Lawrence! Two nights here gave us a chance to explore the Taos area as well as sample the margaritas, birdwatch, visit museums, shop, walk over the Rio Grand river gorge on America's most beautiful steel span bridge and get used to the dry air at almost 7000' above sea level. We visited the often painted and photographed Rancho de Taos Church.

Driving up to Abiquiu was breath-takingly beautiful for our planned-long-in-advance special tour of Georgia O'Keeffe's home & studio. We were guided by the Historic Properties Manager of the Georgia O'keeffe Museum, who worked with Ms. O'Keeffe for 10 years. Most of our group had studied the artist's life and work before arriving and speaking for myself it was a thrill to stand in her studio, kitchen, garden and see the scenes that inspired some of her paintings.

Then on to Ghost Ranch...home of the best sunsets in the west. I love staying there in spite of the "ranch food". We took a landscape tour and saw the exact spot where many of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings were done on location in the desert; Cedar Tree with Lavendar Hills and others.

At the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe we viewed Abstraction. We were able to see how the artist worked in series, starting with a "realistic" interpretation and changing her vision in subsequent paintings until an abstract image resulted. There were some very powerful painting that I had never seen before. It was an exciting exhibit....and showed that she contributed greatly to American Modernism. She was truly an innovative American painter. For months I've been hearing from some of you how much you enjoyed this exhibit when it was in New York and then Washington, DC. I couldn't agree more. I've seen many exhibits of her work and this one was particularly enlightening.

Still there were galleries, museums, shopping, mineral hot springs, pueblos, pots and more margaritas awaiting. I wish you were there, too.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Fenced Sunflowers

This past Sunday morning I was visited by some young artists from Camp Susquehannock. They drew in charcoal and I worked at the bottom of the garden on this pastel painting. For those of you not living in white-tail deer country, we must fence the deer out of our gardens especially when we grow sunflowers - a gourmet item on the deer menu! This is a 16 x 20; rather large for me to complete in one sitting en plein air. I had to finish it up this morning in the garden. The light was coming from the same direction, but it was much stronger this morning. A newly hatched family of tufted titmouses (titmice?) were practicing their whistles & cheeps in the branches over my head.

Michael Poster, my husband took some photos of the kids and made a slideshow with music by Booker T & the MG's. http://www.backroadsproject.com/kids_draw/

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