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.


Zoe said...

Wow - what a sunset! It looks like you had a fabulous time in the land of sagebrush and big sky. I wish I was there, too, but I enjoyed reading all about it instead :)

Jo Castillo said...

Great read, thanks.

Michael Poster said...

"I slept in her bed!"

Will there be room for both of us when we visit next?

Beautiful picture, by the way; I love to see all that dark detail in the landscape.

Rodrica said...

Thank you, dear. I am married, you know...to a photographer!

Marsha Hamby Savage said...

Wonderful post about your experience there. Love the photo, too. I will be there at Ghost Ranch the first week of October for painting. I can't wait! If you have any advice, I would love to hear it. marshasavageart@yahoo.com

Love visiting your site and seeing what you are doing.

Rodrica said...

Marsha, Wear good shoes, as in hiking! And something very warm for the nights and a small flashlight. (You won't need your cell phone at the ranch - no reception) Stop at Bode's in Abiquiui for wine & snacks....the food at the ranch is decidedly institutional although there is always a salad bar and they will accommodate vegetarian & gluten-free...just ask at the kitchen door - near the serving line.

Years ago I did my first successful nocturne at Ghost Ranch of Chimney Rocks. You will have a wonderful time. It is deeply inspiring. Don't waste a moment of precious star-gazing time.

Best Wishes.

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