Artsy forager – finding the artsy v gas llc

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I set out on our Southwestern road trip determined to finish 2 books I’ve been stopping and starting for a while now. I was making good progress until we got to Ghost Ranch and I saw their library! One of the best selections I’ve seen of books on Georgia O’Keeffe and art in general, I found myself wishing we were staying longer. gas 85 octane I only had 6 days at the ranch, so I chose 2 small books I knew I could finish in that time frame.

I began the tiny Some Memories of Drawings within a few minutes of checking it out and quickly devoured it. A beautiful little collection of drawings by O’Keeffe accompanied by her reflections upon each drawing. Some of her observations are very open and insightful, while others retain some mystery, and I personally like it better that way. We don’t need to know every little thing she was thinking about every little thing she created. It is a lovely little treasure of a book that I’ve added to my Wish List– would be a wonderful thing to just pick it up and reflect on her words about these drawings from time to time.

O’Keeffe lost much of her eyesight in the early seventies and had stopped painting almost altogether. According to the book, she’d tried painting with her secretary/studio assistant, Juan Hamilton, but neither had found the process enjoyable or successful. Hamilton hired a young John Poling in 1975 to paint trim at the Ghost Ranch house and he soon found himself doing other errands and chores, eventually striking up what seemed like a genuine friendship with O’Keeffe. From his account, she seemed comfortable with him and he, not being an artist himself, was eager to please and very teachable.

His painting work with her was completed while Juan Hamilton was away in New York on business, and according to Poling, the relationship fell apart upon Hamilton’s return. 76 gas station locations He attempted to assist O’Keeffe again, but claimed it was not the same “collaborative” type of exchange it had been the first time. When the completed painting was shown, Poling was upset that there was no acknowledgement of his involvement. This is where I’m afraid the book gets a bit whiny and self-involved, showing Poling’s lack of understanding of how artists and their studio assistants have functioned for centuries. He thought he was due credit as a collaborator, where O’Keeffe saw him as “merely a tool”– she only used his hands and eyes because of her unreliable eyesight. His continued insistence on “the truth” being made known comes across as petty and petulant, I’m afraid, although he claims it is with completely altruistic intentions that he wanted his involvement made known. It did seem, though, that he genuinely cared for O’Keeffe and was deeply hurt by what he saw as a betrayal by her and Hamilton. I know there has been much made of her relationship with Hamilton, and admit I haven’t read much about their relationship until now. I usually prefer to stick to accounts of artist’s professional lives, especially studio processes, and that part of the book I enjoyed immensely.

If you plan on camping, like we did, be aware that the campground at GR is a bit more primitive than, say, a KOA. It reminded me so much of the church camp I went to every summer as a kid– concrete floors in the communal bathhouse, screen doors with that pleasant, familiar “slam”. gas law questions and answers But there is wifi (though the farther you get from the main buildings, the weaker the signal), coin operated laundry facilities, and indoor dishwashing stations. A few of the best perks we found were that some of the tent sites included an awning– which kept our tent & chairs nice and dry during the few rainstorms that came through– and the free ice in the bathhouse, which made keeping our perishables cold in the desert heat so much easier.

Within an easy drive of Ghost Ranch is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been– Plaza Blanca, O’Keeffe’s “White Place”. On private property owned by Dar al Islam, a nonprofit Islamic Education Center, promoting the understanding of Islamic religion and culture in America, but is graciously open to the public for hiking and exploration.

More images and thoughts on Plaza Blanca to come in another post all about the inspiration found on this trip. During our time at Ghost Ranch, we also ventured into Taos and Santa Fe. We didn’t do much exploring in Taos (honestly, there wasn’t much time for prep/research before this trip, so we didn’t really know where to go), but felt like we saw a good deal of the city of Santa Fe. The highlight for me of course, being the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. A wonderful little museum, that, if anything, I wished was bigger. But then, I can never get enough.

At the last minute, we decided to go a bit out of the way and spend a few days in Zion National Park before heading home. I’d never been, so couldn’t wait to finally see it and check another national park off my list. electricity invented We came into the park in the afternoon from the East, and learned that the road going in from the East would be closed part of the time we were there, which meant our lodging options would be limited to the other end of the park. All the “in park” campgrounds were full, but we ended up at a campground in Springdale, which was within walking distance to the Zion shuttle and everything we needed right in town.

Besides just seeing Zion, I had also always wanted to do The Narrows hike, an in-water hike through the narrowest gorge in Zion. Hubby did the entire overnighter about 10 years ago, but we only had the time/gear on this trip for the day trip. I’m always nervous doing river crossings, so actually hiking IN the river for miles definitely had me tensed up almost the entire time. But what an amazing experience! A must do, if simply for the experience of it.

The Narrows was a wonderful way to wrap up our Southwest adventure, so we awoke the next morning to pack up and head back to the Pacific Northwest. Strong winds during the night snapped one of our tent poles (!), thankfully not enough to pull the tent down, but that definitely meant no camping on the return trip. We set off, happily chatting our way through the small towns just south of Zion when our car lost power. Womp, womp. electricity balloon experiment We were just outside the small town of LaVerkin, Utah and we thanked our lucky stars that we hadn’t gotten further into the Utah desert. The folks at the local garage were absolutely fantastic, coming in on a Saturday to get us back on the road and keep us from having to spend two days waiting for them to reopen on Monday. electricity bill If you ever need to break down, LaVerkin is a super friendly place to do it! 🙂

With our traveling the last seven years, it may seem like life is one perpetual vacation. But the ugly truth is that though we try to take full advantage of where we are every weekend, we work very hard and its been virtually non-stop for the past 4 years. “Vacations” weren’t real breaks– I took time off to go be in Florida with my mom, we took a week or two involuntarily while waiting for a new contract, meaning we traveled with all our earthly belongings and were negotiating contracts and looking for rentals while on “vacation”.

So when we were presented with hubby having some time off during his transition back to working as an RN, we decided to make the most of it. Originally, we’d planned to spend most of our time in one of our favorite places, but a giant wildfire broke out the week before we were supposed to leave. And almost the entire Northwest was covered in smoke from various fires. So traveling in the NW had lost its appeal. Then hubby suggested we finally take my long talked about pilgrimage to the places one of my favorite artists lived and worked and our Southwest Tour began.

We wanted to take our time, not spend too many hours in the car each day, so originally planned to spend a few days in each spot as we made our way South. But the smoke was so thick that it made spending time in the Northwest unenjoyable. So after one night each in the Mount Hood & Bend areas of Oregon, we decided not to make a prolonged stop again until we got out of the smoke. And somewhere in the middle of Utah, blue skies finally emerged!

After Moab, we headed to Ouray, Colorado, a place that’s held my hubby’s fascination for a long time. Years ago he read a book in which the main character spends time in Ouray and he’s been longing to see it ever since. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint! He was looking up real estate with the first few hours we were there (though we quickly came back to WA as our choice for a permanent home, it was fun to dream of a different place!).

Our stay at Ghost Ranch was probably the most relaxing, vacation-like time of the entire trip. Located in tiny Abiquiu, NM, the ranch is remote and quiet– far from the busyness of Santa Fe and Taos, we immediately relaxed upon arrival. electricity icon It was where we read the most, looked at our phones the least, listened to the sounds of the faraway coyotes, and star gazed before bed each night.

I’ll write another general post about the rest of our trip and then separate posts about the O’Keeffe Abiquiu House Tour & Ghost Ranch Landscape Tour— I highly recommend both and will get into more detail in that post. I’m also planning to share what about the Southwest inspired me artistically and how, probably more for my own benefit than yours, but hope you’ll enjoy anyway!