Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Georgia' O'Keeffe's Casa at Ghost Ranch, NM

Georgia's Casa and Pedernal. SOLD

Georgia loved the mountain called Pedernal and reportedly
claimed God made it just for her. As she requested, her ashes
were spread at the top of it.

Artist Note.
I had to take my references from over the wall which
surrounds the O'Keeffe home on Ghost Ranch.

I have been having the dickens of a time painting something
which satisfies me. I hate to think how many wipers
I had with this one. I will share some of the painting
journey with you.
This is a photo
I took of a view
of the house in
Thought it would be

I tried making the
windows more
prominent. That was
my error.
Wiped it off.
Did it again and
wiped it off...
three times in all!

Just like the song, Georgia on my Mind, I still felt
compelled to say something relating to O'Keeffe
with paint so I found more photos, location sketches,
 and using the same board wiped clean...

Ugh - the scale/size is
off  between the distance
of foreground to house
and bush in front
looks too much in
the middle

Wiped and made
the house smaller.
Bush at side larger...
Oh boy, house looks
like a school bus!
That mountain called
Pedernal, is very,
very difficult

House smaller - better?
Noticed too much of a
row lined up at bottom,
Added more sky and
tested grey cloud
Scraped off bottom

Put more blue sky in and
weeds at front. Enlarged
casa a little bit, but now
I have the darned house
ending in the dead middle!
- take gun and pull the
trigger someone. Put me
out of my misery.

And so it goes.
Here is what I settled on.
( there a house in there!)
I shortened the edge of the
house to prevent it being on
a tangent with the center by
making the bush into a
larger shape.

I suggested a path of dirt from the front up. I placed some more
clouds in the sky and made them appear further away by making
the shadows lighter.

I am going through some emotional stress at the moment and can see
how it effects my art. Everything is a struggle.


  1. Julie, thank you for sharing your process and your struggle. It just happens sometimes. I like to remember how much I am learning during these times. I liked them all....

    1. Thank you Randy - I tried to get to your blog but could not get past Google + Liked what I saw of your trees.

  2. Julie, what a journey. I love the painting. The house is suggested, the landscape beautiful and the bushes dotting the foreground say all that is needed. They are alive and intense. They were, I am sure, so important to Georgia!

    1. Thanks Helen. It helps my own vision of the painting to read your words because I still cannot "see" it clearly.
      It seems you are having fun doing the apples studies. I like them

  3. Hi Julie, sorry to hear you are having some turmoil :( Emotions definitely do affect the way we paint. Its frustrating when a piece fights back, but you didn't give up and you have achieved a lovely finished piece. So good to see a new painting, I hope you feel better soon :) ps thanks for sharing not just your artistic triumphs, but your struggles as well.

    1. Thanks for the warm fuzzy and complement, Leesa.
      Your turtle is great and I loved the title, Speedy. Hope my message arrived okay because I kept hitting "public" but nothing happened.

  4. This painting looks to be well worth the effort...your artist's eye is amazing! Each version seemed fine, but you were able to discern what would make it better. The result is truly beautiful. Hope things are ok, Julie...holding you in my thoughts.

    1. Thank you Sue.
      The way I know my mind is not functioning in its normal way is because of the inability to get back to the process of liking anything I do.
      Your colors are truly beautiful in your new painting.

  5. Very beautiful landscape !!!
    Thank you for sharing with us all the steps of your nice painting !!!

    1. Thanks so much l love the way you handled the reflections in the water.

  6. Hey, you did all of your sketching in paint! So what? :) I like the final results on the last one and the first one would just be difficult! Light spilling over a curved wall. Goodness! Nice results too though.

    Just take a breather if you can and keep on going:)

    1. Hi Libby - You are correct about accomplishing my sketches in paint. Thanks - I like that viewpoint.
      I enjoy seeing how you show sketches/drawings, preparation work and finished pieces on your blog.

  7. Oh Julie...I am so sorry to hear of the emotional distress. It can so take a toll, can't it? At least you are painting through it. I can't seem to function well at all with my own turmoils. I think your work is beautiful and really liked each and every incarnation.

    1. Just the fact that you cared enough to comment means the world while you are going through such a traumatic time, Sherry. Peaks and valleys - that's life. Sending a grateful hug.

  8. I understand your text and the text not written. Hope you can breathe deeply, give thanks for what is now being presented to you because you WILL be richer, wiser, and more peaceful. How about reading a book for a day or two...if you have a a day or two. I am reading Wayne Dyer's latest book, "I Can See Clearly Now". It's WOW. HUGS.

    1. Breathing deeply for sure. In...out...
      My schedule is way too busy, but I find it also helps being so busy. I am going to continue painting and try what Sea suggests (below) and start a fresh painting.
      Book sounds good Carol, and I thank you for the recommendation.

  9. Julie I LOVE this post.... the honest and detailed explanation of what your mind and your art went through... it's priceless for other artists to read about those things... I went through a similarly despairing day yesterday with my own artwork. And it was very intuitive of you to know that other things in your life might be affecting your relationship with your painting on a given day... Thanks so much for writing this, and showing the different compositions too. Its a beautiful painting, and very special because of the process that it came through.

    1. I can tell you understand Katherine. Thanks for that. Glad you worked through your day too.
      Your female tree is quite amazing. Patience must be your middle name!

  10. I'm so sorry to hear you're going through some issues, Julie! I hope all is well now!!
    This is a beautiful piece and I'm glad you took us through the process. Your work always amazes me!! take care, my friend!!!

    1. Always upbeat and encouraging...thats our Hilda. Thanks, dear friend. Life has its moments doesn't it?

  11. oh Julie...I understand the turmoil of your struggle. I am always intrigued by the "analytical side" of your painting it helps me verbalize (or even generate the thoughts in some cases) for my own process of composing. Thanks for another beautiful painting. (and some people think this process is easy? is anything but. The one thing that it is very satisfying when it all comes together!

    1. Easy - no. I think painting is a purely a decision making process. Every shape and stroke has to be thought about, every color and mix has to be decided on after the creative juices strart to flow. What a great way to keep our brains nimble.
      I keep leaving messages on your bllog and none ever show up. Whatszup?

  12. Julie - I love the idea so much that you share your own ups and downs with the artistic process. Someone so talented as you really inspires me to keep painting even when everything I do ends up on a growing pile in the closet. Dear friend I will be looking up for you - if there is anything specific you need me to pray about - just let me know...I always count it a privilege to bow my head and fold my hands for those who are having some struggles with life. You take care and know that you are not alone. Hugs

    1. When I first started to blog i read that you had to be who you really are - otherwise over time the differences would become apparent. I have been fortunate that I do not have many downs.
      You are such an amazing artist and person. Thanks for the kindness shown. Your Biblical quote on yesterdays post was a perfect reminder for me. Hugs back.

  13. What a giggle. Not for you surely, I feel your pain. You don't want to hear this, but I like the first one of the large house best. It is fresher, more graphic and less fussed over. I understand the process and why you settled for the last one, but it's not my choice.
    I'm going to suggest a task which is going to make you groan. No more wiping!
    If you feel you have to change the painting, just pick up another fresh canvas and start again, keeping the first. This is what Matisse did and look at his results.
    At the end of the day you will end up with 8 paintings, not just one and it is very likely that when the emotion has died down and you go back to view them a month or so later, you will like each one for their own reasons. I do.
    Just sayin .....
    PS Hugs coming your way.

    1. Okay Sea - I do not mind hearing which one you like. I know the strokes were lively. I just could not get past the darn bush in front. Also it ...see... there goes my brain again!
      It may help to follow your advice. I did a couple of wipers on a crabapple blossom painting already today. I will start your way tomorrow.
      I do like your four cherries with different backgrounds.

  14. Thanks Julie for sharing your journey on this one. I think it's fabulous!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it.
      Your three apples are pretty fabulous too!

  15. First of all, a huge bear hug my friend. I am sorry life is throwing hardships at you and I will be whispering extra prayers for you Julie.

    I love what Sea Dean if you painted eight paintings you would like them all for different reasons. How true. Not practical, but true. I like all the favorite was the one you called a school bus because the colors are toned down and it's moody. Well they are all moody, but the toned one down especially. But they really are all good for different reasons.

    Since you cannot control life circumstances, perhaps you can look at art the same way right now...just let go and paint...whatever happens, happens and roll with it. Let the art reflect the turmoil if that's the way it's got to be. It's still good art and it's still yours which makes it special.

    Wishing you happier days soon! Another bear hug! xo

    1. Taaking the hug with thanks.
      What you said about life circumstances is absolutly true. Not looked at it that way. Maybe I need to have some control in my life and in my painting I can try for that. The struggle to get it right... if life isnt. I remember painting my feelings once, many, many years ago and I painted my naked torso from the back with barbed wire around it. Forgot all about that part because one day I painted over it with light beautiful colors - still a torso, but from the front. Happy and whole.
      Hope your anniversary was wonderful. Your new painting is vintage and great.

  16. I'm sorry about the stress you're feeling right now. It's difficult to be productive or even satisfied with what we do when we're in that situation. Your sense of humor, though, is in fine form. Keep going. You're a fighter and determination will win out! There's SO much to like about each of your paintings, and only because of your superb expertise and self evaluation did I see the things you felt you needed to change about them.

    1. I can tell you understand about productivity and how stress can effect it. It is the satisfaction that is missing. Clever of you to put it that way.
      Thanks, Carol.
      Love your new marble painting.

  17. Seems to me each of these paintings have something wonderful to offer and an exciting learning curve. All you need my friend is a big hug. Here it comes...

    1. I am taking and feeling it. Can Bonnie send one too? The head scratching photo of her is priceless. Who would think a parrot could do that?

  18. I think you did pull it off in the end. I admire your tenacity! I might have just "chucked" the whole idea myself after the second wipe and done something else! Thanks for sharing the whole process. Next time it happens to me I will have to be more tenacious :)

    1. Tenacity I have - do not know if it is good to have or not, but my nature is to see things through to the sometimes...bitter end. Paintings are included in that. It IS a learning experience and I do not mind the failure IF I learn something.
      Your otter is absolutely fun and wonderfully painted.

  19. I believe each version became a stronger and better painting! Loved the last with those great foreground weeds!

    Much as your painting evolved....
    May your stress pass, and you come out stronger than when you went in.

  20. There is some advantages with oil. I can never do those kind of wipes in acrylic.
    I hope you feel better, and I think you are too hard on yourself, some of those attempts looked very promising.
    The final paintings is lovely though. And sharing this with us is as usual a great learning experience. =)

  21. er....if I hadn't seen all the different versions I would have thought you just painted this without a care! It is a beautiful painting. I love it. So sorry you are feeling stress--hope you'll feel great again very soon! :)

  22. Beautiful paintings and thanks for sharing your process and struggle. The end result is beautiful. I also love the dappled light in the window painting.

  23. The finished work is so intensely bright and full of light! Very pleasant read the various stages with humorous comments .... Reading you, I do not feel alone to fight with the composition and shapes! Have nice days and happy painting!!!

  24. All came out well in the end. Hopefully whatever is troubling you will too. The final rendition is worth all your efforts. It's lovely. --Maybe you were bowled over by it being Georgia O'Keeffe's casa? Maybe a nobody's casa would have been mas simpatico to paint? She does cast a long shadow. :-))

  25. Thank you for sharing your struggle, Julie. I go through these periods as well, and on top of personal emotional stress, the difficulty at creating just multiplies the angst. But it all passes and the creative spirit arises - it cannot be kept subdued for long. Your final result is lovely - and I do hope your troubles are over and joy is in your life as Spring makes its appearance!


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