This past winter I decided to take myself on a trip to New Mexico, a place I had never stepped foot. I was searching for a workshop of sorts and stumbled across a Georgia O’Keeffe retreat hosted by the Ghost Ranch. I decided to sign up and spend the week and a half following the retreat driving across the state.
The workshop was hosted at Casa Del Sol in a restricted part of the ranch. O’Keeffe’s iconic ranch house is located along the drive. We took day trips to painting locations, walking where she walked to see what she was inspired by. An assistant by the name of Margaret Wood came to talk with us one evening about what it was like to work for Mrs. O’Keeffe. She wrote a cook book which includes many of her recipes. Before this trip I appreciated O’Keeffe as an artist but now I really admire her spirit of independence and grit especially in an era that most women were constrained to traditional female roles. Most of the days it snowed but there were occasional breaks in the weather where we could see Padernal across the valley. We used the time to sketch and paint whatever inspired us.
I then traveled south to Santa Fe where I had an appointment at the Georgia O’Keeffe museum to see her personal notes, color chips, and sketches. No photos were allowed. Seeing these artifacts really created a sense of intimacy. I really enjoyed seeing how she worked. After, I wandered around the city exploring and met some great artists. Took a couple day trips, one to Madrid to visit Harvey Shugarman’s chocolate shop, and another to Taos.
Then I was off to Silver City to explore the Gila National Forest, visit artist studios, and meet more amazing people. I fell in love with New Mexico and hope to return again soon.