I think most people associate Georgia O'Keefe with her flowers, but they only make up a portion of her work. I've been intrigued by her aesthetic ever since I was a pre-teen and visited New Mexico for the first time, where I fell in love with the landscape and the way that she presented the simultaneous warmth and spareness of its beauty.
On the recommendation of the lovely Camille of the Vintique Object, my eldest daughter and I visited her home in Albiqui outside of Santa Fe this summer.
It's the kind of place that you definitely wish was not a museum. It is spare but inviting and comfortable. And so tactile...desert rocks and dry animal bones and greens flourishing against all odds in the stark landscape.... It gave me the same feeling that I get when I'm on a nature walk and can't resist picking up a smooth river stone or running my hands over sycamore bark...except her whole house was like that. There's such a strong connection to the landscape outside, and such a purity to all the materials used inside (the floors of the room above are a mix of mud, milk, and flour) that even though some rooms are roped off, it doesn't feel sterile at all. Her rock collections adorn many surfaces, but nothing is cluttered. The warmth and curving imperfection of the stucco walls mimic the hills below it and the large windows are such a focal point that it almost seems like the home grew up from the ground rather than being plopped there like many houses.
We've been so blessed to have been able to visit the Southwest for a little stretch of time every year since we've been married beginning with our honeymoon road trip, and it's always bittersweet leaving it. Coming back this year, after visiting Albique, I was really struck and even a little surprised to walk through my front door and see my Georgia Okeefe-subconsciously-inspired vignette, my own little slice of nature inspired simplicity. This little vignette originally came about a few years ago when I tried to find a way to mask to hide our ugly thermostat and created the abstract canvas on the right as a reproduction of Okeefe's "winter road"...after doing it, the rest of the objects sort of accumulated...