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I've got Georgia on my mind!

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

I'm still dreaming about dusty pink from my latest trip to Santa Fe. Such a gorgeous color. Since I've been back, all I've wanted to do is sit in my garden and paint (and I have a few times!). That's WHY I go on these trips. To fill my cup with inspiration, color, and ideas for current and future creative projects.

Renee Mueller and I have been on a few of these art retreats-getaways since we met a few years ago - we laugh, chat, make art, and dream big dreams for ourselves and our businesses. And we've got some big things cooking that I can't wait to share with you at a later date.

This was not an organized retreat, just a trip we planned for ourselves. Renee found an incredible Airbnb - only a 5-minute walk into the main Santa Fe plaza. Adorable, quiet with, comfortable, and stylish decor. We loved hanging out there as much as walking around the town.

We had delicious meals and drinks at Coyote Cafe and La Casa Sena. I had the specialty Elk Tenderloin (thank you, Christy, for your recommendation!). It was probably one of the best meals I've had in a long time. Cashmere + Chocolate - is such a fun shop I'd highly recommend, did a little damage in there! And check out this Antieau Gallery if you want to be inspired by a unique style of making fabric art. Wow!

Definitely, a highlight of the trip was to visit Georgia O'Keeffe's home in Abiquiú - about an hour's drive northwest of Santa Fe. We had an 8 am extended tour, and only a handful of people are allowed so it was an intimate visit. Great tour guide.

"I had to create an equivalent for what I felt about what I was looking at

– not copy it." Georgia O’Keeffe

An excerpt from the GOK Welcome Center :

"O’Keeffe’s New Mexico paintings coincided with a growing interest in regional scenes by American Modernists seeking a distinctive view of the nation. In the 1950s, O’Keeffe began to travel internationally. She painted and sketched works that evoke the spectacular places she visited, including the mountain peaks of Peru and Japan’s Mount Fuji. At the age of seventy-three, she took on a new subject: aerial views of clouds and sky. Suffering from macular degeneration and failing vision, O’Keeffe painted her last unassisted oil painting in 1972. However, O’Keeffe’s will to create did not diminish with her eyesight. In 1977, at age ninety, she observed, “I can see what I want to paint. The thing that makes you want to create is still there.” Late in life, and almost blind, she enlisted the help of several assistants to enable her to continue creating art. In these works, she drew on favorite motifs from memory and her vivid imagination. Georgia O’Keeffe died in Santa Fe on March 6, 1986, at the age of 98."

Renee and I packed our sketchbooks and paints in hopes that we could pop a squat and paint some of the scenery right on location. Unfortunatley that is not the case. It's an 1.5 hour tour on continuous walking through her property and being educated along the way. All bags needed to be checked before we left for the tour and there wouldn't have been any time anyway. So when we go back to the AirBnB I painted 5 watercolor sketches - I loved this afternoon, just reflecting on her home and life through my paints.

In June the Hollyhocks are EVERYWHERE. In the driest of cracks, in GOK's home and in front of our AirBnB. They are one of my favorite flowers as they remind me so much of Ireland when I lived there as a young girl. I grow hollyhocks, and mine just bloomed when I returned, a gorgeous pink!

I sketched these one morning from our kitchen window!

On the last day of my trip I headed to see my brother and his family! I even got everyone to paint and make art together which made me SO HAPPY. He lives in Albuquerque, and his back garden faces the Sandia Mountains. Gorgeous.

I was only there 24 hours but managed to paint 4 little sketches:

When I go on trips I'm either sketching with a micron pen in my Moleskine Pocket Journal or painting with my watercolor pan sets in a larger journal. Travel sketching is a great way to capture memories and also slow time down a bit. Enjoy being creative while thinking about what is right in front of you (whether that is a photo or the real thing!). And if you want to learn how, or get some new tips then I invite you to take my class The Traveling Sketchbook!

Also here are some great videos I find on Georgia O'Keeffe and her Abiquiú home:

YouTube Videos:

I hope you enjoyed this blog! Llet me know what you love about Santa Fe and if you have ever been to GOK's home?



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