Wednesday, August 23, 2006

22nd July: Santa Fe and Georgia O'Keeffe

"One paints what is around" Georgia O'Keeffe

On Saturday, Louise, Nicole and I went to Santa Fe for the day. The landscape as we headed north acquired bushes and then trees and became greener. As we got to the outskirts of Santa Fe, we began to see a vista of browny pink adobe buildings inbetween green trees and set against purple blue mountains .

My personal aim was to see something of Santa Fe - to try and understand why so many artists go there to live - and also to visit the the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. I came away absolutely certain I shall return and stay awhile and paint - it was a very impressive place. I think most of all I liked the wonderful colours of the area, trees with green leaves, the weather (temperature was mid 70s with a slight breeze) and the small 'people-sized' scale of its central / cultural area. It seems to have been conserved without becoming too precious.

The Georgia O'Keeffe museum was stunning. I've felt an affinity with the work of Georgia O'Keeffe and her approach to art (her focus on landscapes, macro flowers and colour) for some time and have been keen to know how she achieves such deceptively simple images. I've been wanting to go to the museum for a very long time - on the basis that you can't beat seeing art 'up close and personal' as an aid to understanding art - and was not disappointed. It was very busy but I think they keep a control on numbers so it doesn't become too unpleasant. All around the walls where quotes from Georgia O'Keeffe. I copied some into my Moleskine and these are mixed in with this post. I noticed that there was one book which she said had been hugely influential - "Composition" by Arthur Dow. I bought it!

"Nothing is less real than realism...details are confusing...it is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things" Georgia O'Keeffe

The current exhibition on color and conservation continues to 10th September for anybody who can get there.

Below are two photos of two more museums (have I explained that if given the choice between shopping and museums I generally choose museums?). These are of the exterior of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe in Cathedral Place (opposite St Francis Cathedral) which I didn't visit and the interior of the Museum of Fine Arts in - which I did.

The latter is housed in a Pueblo revival building. The exhibitions included another Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition relating to the legacy of her paintings of New Mexico - with the simply stunning image of what I presume is the Rio Grande River (which I thought I'd just seen up the road?). It also had an exhibition of drawings by Frederico Vigil - who works in 'aqua crayon' and goache and ink. His drawings illustrate well known sayings - and were rather thought-provoking in terms of artistic technique.



We had lunch at the Georgia O'Keeffe Cafe, sitting outside under peacock green umbrellas. I had a wonderful lunch - so nice I had to take a photo of it! I'd have done a sketch of it too if I hadn't already started my one of the cafe - see the sketch at the top of this post - and we had more time.

Just a quick mention for the Artisan Art Supply Stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe - again, art shops with a very wide range of stock (and a very impressive range of different barnds of soft pastels), good stock levels and knowledgeable and helpful staff. I also understand there is a branch in Taos and that they have just introduced a shopping cart and on-line shopping to their website - although this is obviously still under development.

"Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest" Georgia O'Keeffe

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1 comment:

  1. Reading your words that describe the approach to Santa Fe brought me instant memories of the place. I can almost smell the sweet pinion pine and that dry red earth smell of the mountains in the southwest.
    I'm glad you liked Santa Fe, Katherine..its one of my favorite places...along with Taos.
    My last visit to the OKeefe Museum I purchased her Catalogue Raisonne...so heavy I had to have it shipped back to New Jersey.
    I'm enjoying your travel posts immensly!
    ...chuck

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