4.28.2005

Ode to Georgia


Ode to Georgia
Originally uploaded by ctb57.
I have long been a fan of Georgia O'Keeffe - okay, I admit it's more than that - I love her art and feel a connection to her. I have a collection of first issue post cards from Ghost Ranch, NM commemorating her, and in one of them, she hauntingly resembles my great-grandmother.

Georgia knew what it was to love a place and that place was the west, New Mexico as a fact and Ghost Ranch specifically. A favorite book from my collection is Georgia O'Keeffe At Ghost Ranch by John Loengard. It is a stunning collection of black and white photos taken in June, 1966 by Loengard for Life magazine. She was 79 to his 32 when he was fortunate to spend 3 days observing and photographing her. It is a very personal view of a very private woman. This collection was published in Life as the cover story of the March 1968 issue under the title, "Georgia O'Keeffe--Stark Visions of a Pioneer Painter" and has long been considered a classic in its genre.

Throughout the collection, Loengard (or the editors) have scattered quotes from O'Keeffe. One of my favorites is this:

"I think more about tomorrow than today or yesterday. I'm not a regrettor. I suppose I could live in a jail as long as I had a little patch of blue sky to look at. But this is my kind of world. The kind of things one sees in cities . . . well, you know, it's better to look out the window at the sage."

Such fine words from a midwestern woman.

Her hands were assuredly the hands of a painter. Long-fingered and skinny, and at 79 beautifully wrinkled and large-knuckled. In one of Loengard's photos, her hand is extended, palm up, fingers together and thumb out to the side. In the middle of that very white palm perches a very black, shiny, smooth rock. It used to belong to Eliot Porter, but by then it was Georgia's.

And the bones ... she loved painting the bones. She said she didn't remember picking up the first one, but she did remember knowing that one day she would paint them. She was most interested in the holes in the pelvic bones, or what she saw through those holes like the blue from holding them up in the sun against the sky when there seems to be more sky than earth in her world.

One last quote from Georgia:

"The bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even though it is vast and empty and untouchable -- and knows no kindness with all its beauty."

Thank you, Georgia.

Cher

1 Comments:

Anonymous Trudes said...

Cher,
This is a beautiful tribute.
As you know I, too am an avid admirer of this extraordinary woman. It seems we share a secret about the desert Southwest that is known to a rare few. It is my heart and spirit's home.
I have read and own a copy of Mr Loengard's beautiful book.
May I also recommend 'O'Keeffe at Abiquiu' by Myron Wood and Christine Taylor Patton. Beautiful photos with beautiul text describing life with O'Keefe in the land of enchantment.
I am enjoy your blog. Thanks.
Trudy xo

4:40 PM  

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