New Mexico Enchantment

This country is very beautiful and also difficult . . . it is not a country of light on things. It is a country of things in light, therefore it is a country of form, with a new presentation of light as problem.

Marsden Hartley, letter to Alfred Stieglitz, 1918

It’s been a few hours since I left Ghost Ranch, attempting to paint en plein air. My efforts were thwarted by a desert storm–one of those rare cloudbursts with powerful gusts of wind. I had to turn my watercolor face down to avoid the large drops. Of course it was over in a few minutes, and the earth here still looks like iron ore. But I had already packed my easel and gear, and fatigue from my morning hike had set in.

I’ve resumed reading an O’Keeffe biography and came across this Marsden Hartley quote which matches my sentiment. This is an amazing environment that I’m still working on solving in watercolor. I appreciate O’Keeffe’s remark that no one could ever teach her how to paint her landscape–only theirs, but not hers. I feel the same way; I admire so many watercolor artists who have mastered landscape, but I don’t want to attend a workshop to learn their ways; I’m seeking my own voice, my own vision here.

Thanks for reading.


8 Responses to “New Mexico Enchantment”

  1. Margaret Parker Brown Says:

    Exactly, I have the same sentiment. I so often see where artists teach their workshop with having everyone paint the same thing, in the teachers’ style, what!? Makes absolutely no sense. I just don’t understand. Your post really hits a chord within me. I am a big fan of Georgia O’Keefe and have read several books about her including her autobiography. Cheers!


  2. Jay Haeske Says:

    Which O’Keefe (auto)biography is that you are referring to? Could you give me the title please I’d be interested to read it (I guess you think it’s worthwhile?), thanks!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for asking. It is “Georgia O’Keeffe” by Roxana Robinson. I started on p. 316, because I’m only interested in her life from 1929 when she first journeyed to New Mexico. Everything before that I already know in cursory fashion.


      • Jay Haeske Says:

        Thanks David, I’ll keep that book in mind. I know very little about her yet as she didn’t interest my very much before I saw some of her works recently. So I guess I’ll be starting on page 1.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: