Friday, November 23, 2012

Monday and Tuesday: Nov 19-20: O'Keeffe Days-- Museum, Shopping, Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch

Dear All--
Haven't written much because I've been too exhausted when I get back to my room.  There is so much to see and do, and all of it involves walking and walking… (18000 steps, 13000 steps). My knees are fine and even my feet recover after a hot bath, but with the altitude I just get so tired I cannot keep my eyes open.

Monday was the O'Keeffe Museum and shopping.  The current exhibition is O'Keeffe and Nature— not a very coherent show; the center is a big display of her camping equipment, set up against a large picture of the Black Place.  Nonetheless, there were a number of paintings I hadn't seen before, which is always fun as her color cannot be captured in books.   The most outstanding was a banana flower she painted in Hawaii— the deepest fuchsia imaginable with kelly green leaves, set against a cloudy background of lavender pink and silver.  A total show stopper— though frankly it looks like it needs to be hung in a very elegant powder room.

Tired but happy after extensive shopping
After meeting Z for a memorable lunch at The Shed, one of the oldest restaurants in SF — green chili enchiladas, only gave me a bit of a stuffed up nose — Angela and I spent the rest of the afternoon diligently shopping, mostly for clothes.  I won't bore you with the details— you'll see them when I get home. Needless to say, we had a hilariously good time.  I know Angela well enough to be a personal shopper for her and I think she found some good bargains that will make her very happy.  We would up at their time share where one margarita was all I could manage before I toddled off to watch the rest of the Dustbowl on PBS.
Origins: My favorite store in Santa Fe


Tuesday— was our day at Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch.

O'Keeffe's ultramodern living room--notice gorgeous old tamarisk framed by windows
O'Keeffe's studio, rearranged to suit her needs after she stopped painting

 At O'Keeffe's studio in Abiquiu we had a particularly good docent, very thorough and accurate (as opposed to the rather flaky woman who insisted at the museum that none of O'Keeffe's paintings were metaphors for anything).  

(None of these pictures are by me as you are not allowed to take anything but a bottle of water on the tour, but found these on-line...)

O'Keeffe's bedroom from outside

Nothing much new on the house tour, except that I fell further in love with the chamisa  which is in its winter phase: great soft explosions of yellow-grey fuzz; when the light hits just right, it glows.  Never thought I could be so besotted by a monochromatic landscape.  Also very much admired the sage brush  on O'Keeffe's property, watered well enough to get gigantic, and all trimmed into bonsai shapes which emphasize the deep grooves in the trunks.  They look like they are hundreds of years old, but still in bloom.

O'Keeffe's courtyard

Someone's picture of a mountain tree-- thesis what sagebrush in OK's courtyard looks like


Monochromatic landscape, near Black Mesa,


Z at Ghost Ranch wi Pedernal
The trip to Ghost Ranch was as wonderful as ever.  The guide said that O'Keeffe thought it was the most beautiful place in the world, and I can believe it. (this from someone who's deepest landscapes are all green: moss streams in the rain forest,  the Sussex downs)  Somehow all the colors were even more brilliant than before; Z says it's the angle of the winter light. Whatever it is, it makes me want to be a painter.  Photography is so frustrating— you  never take the picture your eye sees.  I suppose that's what you spend years learning how to do.   

O'Keeffe's "backyard"

Angela at Ghost Ranch

Guide at Ghost Ranch holding up O'Keeffe's Cliffs against the real cliffs.

It's Wednesday night now and I rushed thru writing this so I can get onto describing today's doings:  an even more magical afternoon spent with two potters at the Santa Clara pueblo who are so good I am rendered speechless (well, nearly) by their artistry.  And sweet beyond belief. I felt I was visiting long-lost relatives.  No, it was more, dare I say, spiritual than that.

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