Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Visit to Georgia O'Keeffe's House in Abiquiu

Abiquiu Lake

Awesome is the best word I can use to describe our tour to Georgia O'Keeffe's house and studio. The tour is run by Georgia O'Keeffe Museum for which we made reservations by phone 10 days in advance. I understand that sometimes,especially in the summer. there can be a month or more wait. This is not surprising as the tour only runs three days a week from mid March through mid November (Saturday tours are added from June through October) with just five tours per day. Each tour is limited to twelve people at a time. No cameras are permitted

The meeting place is the Abiquiu Inn where the O'Keeffe tour office is located. After checking in we boarded a mini bus for our short five minute ride to the property. Located on a bluff close to the plaza of the small village of Abiquiu I was immediately struck by the beautiful grounds and spectacular view of the Chama River valley.

Our guide was extremely knowledgeable with a strong respect for O'Keeffe. She grew up and lives in Albiquiu as do most of the other people working for the tour group. She remembers seeing Ms. O'Keeffe walking in the village and met her on several occasions.

We began in the garden with an introduction to the general history related to O'Keeffe's purchase of the property. We also learned that she grew her own food and the strong impact of her gardener. The grandson of the original gardener now takes care of the property.

We could not enter all rooms as they have fragile floors so we viewed her main sitting room and dining room through a large window.  Later we also viewed her bedroom through large windows.

Our first stop in entering the house was an interior patio made famous by the pictures she painted of the "black door" and of photo's of her in this space. This was indeed a very special spot with an almost sacred feeling. A large fragrant sage brush neatly trimmed dominated the center.

The sense of the outside spilling into the inside by large windows was obvious in the kitchen where,besides a table near a large window,a sofa was also placed so one could sit and enjoy the  incredible view.

The living space is 5,000 square feet and O'Keeffe's studio and bedroom are actually a separate building linked by a garden. Again both the studio and bedroom are filled with light from outside.  The studio is quite large and contains two of her paintings. One of the paintings was inspired by an airplane ride observing the floor of clouds below and the second by her view of the Washington monument.  A small original sculpture was featured on a small table.  

Her bedroom featured two sides of windows giving her wonderful views of the valley below and the hills in the near distance. 

Our guide highlighted her commentary by showing reprints of paintings that illustrated how views on the property had inspired paintings. She also read comments written by O'Keeffe when appropriate.

Cameras, cell phones, purses are not allowed. This keeps the tour focused and attention on the guide. The tour costs $30 per person ($25 for seniors 65 or older). Saturday tours are $40 with no discounts. Reservations can be made by calling: 505-685-4539. I highly recommend the tour.

After the tour we had a delightful lunch at the Abiquiu Inn and then visited the Abiguiu Lake about 6 miles further up the road.  We had driven by Ghost Ranch a year before and decided to save a visit to Ghost Ranch for a later time.  Ghost Ranch is currently owned by The Presbyterian Church and is open to the public requiring no reservations.  We look forward to making a separate trip there and hiking some of the trails.  

Monday, May 18, 2009

Exhibit of our work in Santa Fe

This Friday our class and alumni of Tony Ryder's will have an exhibit at the Canyon Road Contemporary Art Gallery. The exhibit will run from May 22 to May 31. I am thrilled to have my still life of pointe shoes included as well as one of my drawings. The gallery has posted our work on it's website so if you would like to see the work of our teacher, Tony Ryder, alumni of his program and current students please check it out at: 

They seemed to have shortened my titles on line: The still life is entitled "For a Young Dancer" and my drawing is titled with a quote from Martha Graham, "The Spine is a Tree of Life."  

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Saturday Stroll through Art Galleries in Santa Fe

Today was an ideal day to check out a few art galleries in Santa Fe. Murray decided to relax in the sun on our patio so I set out on my own. My first stop was the Sage Creek Gallery which featured a juried show of the National Oil Painters of America. Their annual event was last weekend in Santa Fe and there was much buzz around my art intensive course about the show. It features realistic oil painting similar to the work we are studying. The show was fun with a diversity of work and to bouy the enthusiasm for fellow artist was how many red dots (SOLD) were scattered throughout the show. In fact I overhead one of the gallery sales people say that 15% of the show had sold on opening night. Sage Creek Gallery is located about two blocks from the Plaza in the center of Santa Fe.  

Next I headed over to Canyon Road. I checked out the Adobe Gallery which features art and antiquities of the Southwest Indian. I was fascinated with paintings of ceremonial dances my favorite being by Harrison Begay.  

Continuing up Canyon Road I stopped in at the Canyon Road Contemporary Art Gallery where we will be showing our work with the opening scheduled for Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.  Currently on exhibit are some of their regular artists. I particularly liked the pastel works of Kathy Beekman. It will be exciting to see our work hanging in such a lovely space so conveniently located on Canyon Road.

Next door is the Hahn Ross Gallery also featuring their regular artists. Murray and I visited the gallery last August on our quick trip to Santa Fe to find our housing for this winter/spring. I remembered liking the colorful Aspens of Chris Richter and enjoyed seeing them again.

My final stop was at the Moseley Gallery on Delgado. The bold oil paintings of John Mosely combine an abstract feel rooted in an interpretation of the landscape. I was disappointed when I came home to go on line to find websites for the galleries that I visited that his was not updated to include two very interesting feminist painters that are featured this month. I didn't pick up any flyers or information on them and indeed wish the website had included them.

All and all a very pleasant stroll. Fun to see the different styles in the art galleries and definitely builds my enthusiasm for our upcoming show. Tomorrow Murray and I head to Placitas to visit the open studios of the artists living there, especially the works of our friend, Bill Skees. This event happens once a year over Mother's Day Weekend. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tent Rocks National Monument

The first thing you notice as you drive from the Pueblo de Cochiti on a hard packed dirt road are the white cliffs, "Kasha-Katuwe" in the native Keresan language. It is not until you are out of your car and enter the trail that these amazing, somewhat unique geological structures appear. Shaped like various sized tents-thick at the bottom that come to a peak, they have been formed out of tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field some 6 to 7 million years ago and shaped from over 1,000 feet of pumice and rock fragments. The "tents" vary in size from a few to 90 feet.

There are two main trails. A short loop trail that climbs to a cave, returning to the parking lot (1.2 miles). We did not do the portion to the cave having tired ourselves with the more intense trail that leads through a slot canyon and then up a steep hill (630 feet vertical) to a vantage point that overlooks the monument and to Taos, 50 miles to the north, the Sandias and Jemez mountains to the east and south and the Sangre de Cristo to the west and the Rio Grande.

We stopped many times to enjoy the scenery and to rest. Flowering cacti, Indian paint brush and alpine flowers dotted the path, but there is little shade. This trail is one mile after 0.5 miles along a flat path that also serves the loop trail. The total hike to the top and back is 3 miles.

Getting there: The park is 35 miles from Santa Fe, NM (exit 264, SR 16 to SR 22) and 52 miles from Albuquerque (exit 259, SR 22) of I-25.The turn off is right before the Pueblo and is well marked.

After our journey, we enjoyed a beer (Murray) and a diet coke (JoAnne) at the grill of a Robert Trent Jones golf course adjacent to the recreation area of Cochiti Lake.