Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ghost Ranch Roundup

Ghost Ranch is where Georgia O'Keeffe spent much of her time in New Mexico. You can see it in that video that Katherine linked to the other day. In a book I just finished Georgia said that the backyard there was, in her opinion, the best backyard in the world. (The book was Miss O'Keeffe, written by a former nurse. It's an interesting look at the very end of O'Keeffe's life. It leaves the impression that O'Keeffe was taken advantage of in the end, I don't know if that is true or not, but if so, it's rather sad.)

This post is my roundup for the Georgia O'Keeffe month. First a bit about my choice of final drawing and then a few words about O'Keeffe.

This week I have hardly posted. That's disappointing but it is largely due to my struggle to find something to work on. I've been discouraged with my lack of ability to get ahold of notan, my inexperience with CPs, and just general trouble learning from O'Keeffe. I have learned alot this month, but none of it has really successfully transferred to my own work. So last night I just decided I wasn't leaving the WetCanvas Reference Library until I had something to draw.

I found a photo of a bristlecone pine tree. I was very intrigued by it. Looking at the photo I decided that if notan could be applied to the actual subjects themselves, this tree definitely exemplifies it for me. It has beautiful lines, patterns, harmony, and even goes "flat" the longer you look at it. (Barring all that, it reminded me of Georgia's bone pictures.) I really felt like it was out of my CP range, but I decided to have a go nonetheless. In an attempt to investigate whether I might be wise to make an investment in some drafting film for a CP medium I did this work on tracing paper. I found that I really love CPs on that kind of surface as opposed to paper. It actually felt almost like I was painting!

Now to a few words on O'Keeffe.

Georgia the woman:

  • As a person, she is very hard to "get to know." One book I read said that her sister said "Walking with Georgia is like walking alone." There are all sorts of conflicting stories about her life - complicating things even more.
  • She spoke her mind and was notoriously difficult to work with. However, the book written by the nurse I mentioned above sheds a little different view. It does appear, at the end of her life, that she could both be gentle and be intimidated into "behaving."

Georgia's art:

  • There is much more to O'Keeffe than meets the eye. I think doing some study on the concepts that were important to her increases your appreciation of her.
  • Today we see alot of work like hers, in her day, she was more revolutionary.
  • She boiled down detail to reveal beauty in her works. This, to some degree, was a problem for me because I like art that complicates something. (I like pen and ink work for this reason.) I like patterns in artwork that cause me to look differently at something.
  • On the other hand, as an aspiring portraitist, simplifying, emphasis that reveals something simple and beautiful about a person is a goal worth pursuing.

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