Sunday, June 29, 2008

Woolf Pack goes to Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch--Day 3

The Woolf Pack goes to Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch
Day 3
We left Santa Fe early Tuesday morning and headed north to Abiquiu--the site of one of OK's two homes in New Mexico. The older, more isolated home where she stayed in the summer and fall is on a parcel of land she bought at Ghost Ranch. The larger, more easily acessible home which she had totally rebuilt and lived in during the winter and spring is just off the road in Abiquiu.
You can visit the Abiquiu house--which we did.
But you must get an appointment and can only go via the official tour, which takes you up the hill in a small bus. You cannot take anything but a bottle of water--no notetaking or pictures. Last year one of the women in my workshop snuck back in her car and took these two shots.
Seeing the Abiquiu house teaches you a lot about O'Keefe's taste and lifestyle-- everthing is simple and modern, but of the finest quality. The only extraneous "stuff" are the piles of river rocks arranged in the window sills. Everywhere else a Zen-like peace reigns, especially in her bedroom, a dark charcoal grey, with white carpeting, and a low bed crisply made with white sheets. The only other furniture and decoration is a low table with two pots, a kiva fireplace in one corner, a hand of Buddah on the wall, and the spectacular view out over the road and the mesas in the distance.

After the tour of the Abiquiu house, we went on to Ghost Ranch, which these days is only about 15 minutes north. The main buildings at Ghost Ranch are nestled into a kind of horseshoe canyon, with the open end looking out towards the Pedernal, the flat-topped mountian which O'Keeffee paintied again and again and where her ashes were spread after her death
Once at Ghost Ranch, we settled down to a picnic lunch. Here's a picture of us all in good humor. Moving from right to left you can see, standing: Eleanor the trip organizer, bob our bus driver, Linda, and laughing in the green shirt, Pam Evans. Seated you can see Gill Lowe and Leslie Hankins.
Just as lunch was ending, the clouds moved in and we were treated to a sudden thunderstorm, wwhich proved to be a real boon for those of us on the afternoon landscape tour of Ghost Ranch. This bus ride around the private areas of the ranch shows you many of the sites where O'Keeffe painted. Here is a picture of our excellent guide showing us an O'keeffe painting at the site of its composition.
The brief rain shower and the accompanying clouds brought out the subtle colors of the rocks which are normally blanched white by the sun, allowing us to see even more clearly the mimetic accuracy of O'Keeffe's views. Having been on the tour before, I had though she had slightly exaggerated the colors, but now that the rocks were wetand the sky grey, I saw she had indeed painted exactly what she saw.

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