Monday, August 22, 2011
Style Me Georgia
Photo from here
Without a doubt, the highlight of my trip to New Mexico was visiting the home and studio of Georgia O'Keeffe. Nestled above the highway in her beloved Abiquiu, Georgia's house is an adobe style haven that, one might imagine, was the ideal source for artistic inspiration.
Her personal style was infused throughout, from pine cone filled baskets to her plethora of trees pruned in the bonsai way. Even the lighting had a special touch: save for one lamp, Georgia was not a fan of the lamp shade. The simple, elegant bulb would do just fine.
Although the interiors evoked her stylish tendencies, it was what the eye could see through the windows that really conjured a sense of where Georgia found her inspiration. Whether it was the red clay mountains in the distance or the snake-like highway where she learned how to drive, Georgia had a backyard as limitless as the horizon.
Photo from here
She once said of Pedernal (the reigning plateau in the distance) that if she painted it enough God would give it to her. It was on this flat-topped mountain where Georgia would eventually have her ashes scattered after she died. Details like this convinced me that Georgia was not simply out to convey the landscape through painting, but that she was part of the landscape and thus eternally bound to its offerings through her deliberate and thoughtful interpretations of it.
Now, in preparation for the house and studio tour, I heard something that no blogger wants to hear: no cameras allowed. At first I was disappointed (we've all been there: no photos=no blog), but the moment I entered the property I knew that I wasn't meant to see this space through a lens. I also wasn't meant to revisit it as a slide-show on my computer, flagging the photos I liked best. The experience lives elementally, through my memory and the senses:
the smell of Piñon in the courtyard, Georgia's kitchen - in tact just the way she left it (canning supplies, herbs and yogurt maker included), the vignettes by the corner fireplace, the way I imagine the carpet in Georgia's studio felt under her feet. When she started to lose her sight, she put in a creme-colored carpet to replace the hardwood. This way she wouldn't step on her doggies. These deliberate details are the ones to carry with you - a camera can't always take the story.
Like I said, the visit to O'Keeffe territory was a total inspiration. The colors of the landscape, the architecture of her home, her general aesthetic appeal. During the remainder of the trip, I felt as if I was looking at the world through Georgia's eyes. What might I see that could play a role in my artistic endeavors? It started at the Flea Market and slowly unfolded from there. Here are some of the visions I kept with me:
The warm tones at Ghost Ranch (another place Georgia called home).
Soft pastels as a color scheme on one of the oldest structures in Santa Fe.
This fantastic Moroccan chair we saw (and coveted) at a shop downtown.
You'll find these everywhere in Santa Fe, spinning with the wind.
The festive decor at Pasquals, reminding me to throw a party someday soon. I bet Georgia threw some good ones.
We took sanctuary in a garden of Buddhas, aka: my dream garden.
Rugs at the Flea Market and a blue sky.
Mexican mirrors, so that I can always see myself in Santa Fe (yes, I took one home).
There's so much Turquoise in Santa Fe that your skin starts turning its color. Oh, wait, that's because you're wearing it. Yes, I took it home.
I wanted to buy a cowboy hat, but we all need to set some limits.
Finally, the classic Santa Fe style architecture. I love these houses so much. I forgot to mention that I wore a very peachy nail color on my trip. It was actually called "My Villa or Yours." In the case of these casas, I'll take "yours"...
There's no harm in channeling your inner Georgia...