Monday, June 10, 2013

Georgia O'Keefe Museum, Santa Fe

Yesterday morning we said goodbye to Ghost Ranch and headed for Santa Fe.  As we were leaving, we both said we knew this was one place we would be back.  It really is a special place, and, though it's hard to put into words, there just seems to be something different about the way the sun hits the rocks there, to make the light seem different.  The day before, when we were getting the introduction to the Landscape Tour, the woman was explaining a bit about Ghost Ranch, and their current educational programs.  They offer courses in just about anything and everything, some for a weekend, most for a week or so--we had met a man on top of Chimney Rock that morning who was taking a photography course--and encouraged anyone interested in offering a course to submit proposals.  With all the work Trisha has done with grief recovery and also labyrinths, I'm really hoping she'll submit a proposal for a course around these themes.  It would be fantastic to be there doing that for a week or so, and just to have more time to explore all the parts of the ranch.

Santa Fe is not too far, and it was a pleasant drive.  Our first stop was the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, where their current exhibit is called Georgia O'Keefe and New Mexico.  While much of her work concentrated on flowers, this particular exhibit focused on her work with the New Mexico landscapes.  This was just perfect for us, having just come from Ghost Ranch, where she did so much of this work.  It's a terrific museum, and they have a wonderful narrated audio guide you can do at your own pace--using a device about the size of a cell phone so you can just punch in the number on the wall before a painting and then you hear the narration, interspersed with some commentary from a couple of other artists.  They allow non flash pictures of some paintings, but others are off limits.  They also included a number of photographs of her through the years, from a lot taken by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, up through many taken by other photographers of her while she was painting in New Mexico and many of her later years.  We were so glad we had gone to Ghost Ranch first, to see the landscapes, and to have taken the landscape tour before we came to the museum, as it made it all more interesting to view the paintings having seen some of the places where she had done them.  We spent quite a bit of time there, just enjoying it all.  They also had a number of quotes from her on the walls throughout the exhibit, and some were quite funny--like "I wish people were all trees and I think I would enjoy them then."

By the time we left the museum, we were ready for a nap, so we came to the RV park and rested before supper.  When we had walked the labyrinth at Canyon Lake in Texas, we had communicated with the owner of the house where it is, Rebecca, who we learned was currently living in Santa Fe, so we later got in touch with her to get together when we got here.  So last night we had dinner with her and her dear friend, Nancy, who had helped her paint the labyrinth on the wooden deck, and it was just a remarkable evening!  Rebecca had wonderful stories about how the whole idea of this labyrinth came to her in a dream, before she even knew what a labyrinth was, and how it had blossomed into a large part of her life.  She's been on the board of Veriditas, the organization formed by Lauren Artress, the Episcopal priest from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, who is largely responsible for bringing the labyrinth movement to prominence in the US.  And we found we had so much else in common through various experiences with exploration of spiritual practices and paths.  Just so much fun--sometimes you just meet someone and instantly find a connection, and this was one of those times.  Plus we enjoyed some wonderful New Mexican cuisine!  During the course of the evening, she told us about several other labyrinths here in Santa Fe, and we're looking forward to walking some of those today, along with some other museums and galleries.  But she also told us about a wonderful couple in their 80's, who were also very involved with bringing labyrinths to Santa Fe and who also were involved in building the labyrinth at Ghost Ranch.  What's more, as an 80th birthday celebration, they walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain!  This is absolutely unbelievable!  WE had read a book by Joyce Rupp, a Catholic sister, about her doing this walk some years ago.  There was also a movie with Martin Sheen called The Way about walking this.  It's a pilgrimage that has been done by people for hundreds of years, and is something we've dreamed of doing some day.  We've always wanted to talk with someone who has done it, and tonight we're going to get the chance.  Rebecca called them and we're all getting together to have supper tonight, so this is a really special treat we're so looking forward to!

So, some pics from yesterday:

Some scenes as we left Ghost Ranch--recognize this cabin from City Slickers?  It's on the ranch, just as you come onto the property off the road.

 Last shot of Pedernal--Georgia O'Keefe's own private mountain!
 The Chama River, from near where she had done several paintings of the river.

 Photos from the museum--this first one is of what she called "The Black Place," an area about 150 miles from Ghost Ranch, where she became fascinated with the layer of black hills shown here below the blue mountains in the background.  She would go there and camp for days, painting.
 These are preliminary sketches she made of the rear of the Ranchos Church in Taos, preparing for the ultimate rendition she did

One of the guards there to make sure people comply with the photography policy kindly offered to take our picture, as we were admiring this painting of a church--for someone who avowedly "didn't like to be around churchy people," O'Keefe devoted a considerable amount of time and effort in painting churches and crosses.  The vivid colors in this painting are just amazing!

Photos of O'Keefe at various times at the ranch and her home there.
 "making salad"
 Gathering veggies from her garden
 Opening the curtains in her studio to the incredible views she had every day
 Trisha especially wanted to capture this photo of her in her studio--at the happy chaos and clutter of her workspace!
 Sitting on the roof of her Ghost Ranch home
 One of her canvases in front of the house

 Some of her many paintings of her beloved Pedernal--she made the first of several climbs to the peak when she was 62.

 One of the scenes we had visited at the ranch on the Landscape Tour

This painting she called "Road from the East," representing the road she used to get to her house.  When we first looked at this, we were both struck by how it seemed to have a darker sense about it, different from many of her brilliant reds and yellows . . .
 Then, you turn around to the opposite wall, and here is the same scene, entitled "Easter Sunrise," and the whole scene transforms!  She talked about how she saw crosses often, both literally and more ethereally, as here.  Quite amazing.

She became quite fascinated with the Kachina dolls, hand carved and painted from cottonwood roots by the native people in the area

 A preliminary sketch of one of the dolls for a painting
 Sunset in Santa Fe, as we were driving back to the RV park from dinner

No comments:

Post a Comment