Saturday, November 10, 2012

Georgia O'Keeffe--My Hero!

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) has been an artist I have admired for many years.  Her work is awe-inspiring and she is an example of a woman who never compromised her art

Therefore, it was with great joy that I recently visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.  Once again, I was brought to tears by the beauty of her work.  My favorite painting of hers on exhibition there now is "Cottonwood and Pedernal, 1948."

"Cottonwood and Pedernal, 1948," Oil on canvas, 10 x 12 in., by Georgia O'Keeffe, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM

Although this is a relatively small painting by O'Keeffe standards, it captures the vibrant color of cottonwood trees at this time of year in New Mexico.  Much as I tried to capture their glow, I never succeeded to my satisfaction.  By juxtaposing these citron trees against the blue mountain, O'Keeffe created a painting that vibrates with vitality.

This is how Pedernal looked in 1972 when William Innes Homer took this photograph from a window in O'Keeffe's home at Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM.   From the archives of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM.                                

Pedernal from Ghost Ranch, photographed by Joan Cole 2012

This is the way Pedernal looked to me last week as I sat painting it at a picnic table at Ghost Ranch.

"Pedernal," 5 x 7" gouache on aquabord, copyright Joan Cole, 2012.
I had never worked in gouache before this trip.  Thanks to Jan Blencowe, who explained how she'd put together a travel kit for our Maine trip last summer, I was able to make my own set.*  It worked out beautifully.  I was able to paint as we drove, so I could capture the changing New Mexico landscape.  In addition, the kit is so small that I was also able to paint as I walked through Bandelier National Monument in Frijoles Canyon and the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

* I ordered this little metal palette and the half pans to fit inside the box from Kremer Pigmente.  I filled the pans with gouache from tubes.  I used three watercolor pens I had purchased from Jerry's Artarama.  This makes a great travel set.  Thanks for sharing your ideas, Jan!


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