Artist on the road

In The Steps of O’Keeffe – Artist on The Road to Santa Fe

If you have been reading this blog and following my work you know my obsession with Georgia O’Keeffe. It began in youth, intensified when I saw a retrospective of her works at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It then deepened with seeing her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Now, after many years and more paintings, I am on my way to Santa Fe, do you know the way? Beginning in Victoria, Canada and ending in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we are headed out on the next journey. This trip will take us to the heart of the southwest art world, and one of the largest art markets in the USA, after New York City and Los Angeles. I’m an artist on the road, once again.

Artist On The Road

Cow’s Skull: Red, White & Blue – Georgia O’Keeffe, 1931

Over the years I have painted homage works to many of the greats, beginning with Goalie’s Mask; red, white and Dryden. Known as the ‘Goalie’s Mask Painting’, it is a composition and comment inspired by a famous work by O’Keeffe. When I first saw, Cow’s Skull: Red, White and Blue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, I was surprised at how small it is, as with many famous works, grand in their infamy yet not in their size. Painted in 1931, this beautiful oil painting is visceral and moving, especially when you are close enough to see the scratches of the artists’ brush.

Artist On The Road

Goalie’s Mask: Red, White & Dryden, Brandy Saturley, 2011

Tired of the hustle and bustle of city life, O’Keeffe sought solace in the tranquil landscapes of Lake George, New York, and later, New Mexico. It was during her initial visit to the Southwest in 1929 that her artistic focus shifted from urban architecture to the natural wonders of New Mexico. In this particular piece, O’Keeffe captures the essence of a single skull, accentuating its rugged contours, weathered textures, and pale hue. To her, these bones symbolized the enduring allure of the desert and the resilience of the American ethos, hinted at by the striped backdrop. In 1949, O’Keeffe made New Mexico her permanent home, where she resided until her passing in 1986.

Artist on the Road

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, 1968 – Arnold Newman

Georgia O’Keeffe in Maui – Artist on The Road

While Santa Fe is the homeland and final resting place, Maui was another favourite place the artist painted. I discovered a book written by Maria Ausherman from interviews with Patricia Jennings, about world famous painter, and one of my favorites, Georgia O’Keeffe. The book,  Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawaii  , focuses on three month’s in 1939 when O’Keeffe visited Hawaii including Maui, as guest of the Dole Pineapple company as they had commissioned her to paint an image for their advertising campaign. I retraced the steps of O’Keeffe and also came home with sketches and photos that would become a painting, a visual story, of my time soaking up Maui.

Artist on the Road

IAO, acrylic on canvas painting, 2018, Brandy Saturley

Connections with Lawren Harris

After this trip I began to dream about and see connections between the work of O’Keeffe and Canada’s luminary of the landscapes, Lawren Harris. While I have yet to find evidence of their world’s connecting, they certainly knew of one another. I found a paper online by Sara Angel, that explored the possibility of a connection between the two modernist painters. In the spring of 1938 Harris drove more than 3000km to relocate to Santa Fe, which is not surprising as the area is celebrated for it’s stunning landscapes.

Artist on The Road

Natural Affinities – O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams

This exhibition and the companion text, examine the connections and friendship between the iconic painter and landscape photographer Ansel Adams. Produced by The Smithsonian, Natural Affinities examines the friendship of two artists who were attracted to the distinct landscape of the American southwest and were committed to depicting its essence with modernist sensibilities.

San Francisco de Assisi , Santa Fe, Ghost Ranch New Mexico, Georgia O’Keeffe – Ansel Adams

It’s Good to Have Goals

Places I would like to live other than Vancouver Island – Maui, Santa Fe, Maui. I saw this pop up in my memories the other day, thank you Facebook, a reminder that I am on the path that I speak out loud, or at least to Facebook. While I have made my life and career as an artist on Vancouver Island as my home base, it has never stopped me from travelling for my art career. Now nearly twenty years in, I am looking at mid-career and where I would most like to see myself living and painting for the next twenty. Ideally the goal has always been  split between Maui and Vancouver Island, but I have longed to spend time in the high desert of Santa Fe and on some level deep down, I know I will feel at home in this Southwestern landscape filled with vivid Indigenous cultures and colours.

Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out Back of Marie’s II, 1930 – Georgia O’Keeffe

The Time Has Come – Artist on The Road

After years of absorbing the wonderous world of O’Keeffe. Her passionate relationship with Alfred Stieglitz and her vibrating artworks, I am now only a week away from hitting the road to Santa Fe. Beginning in Victoria, BC with stops in Oregon and Moab Utah (serious photography and hiking time) I will arrive in Santa Fe in time for a few margaritas and a whole lot of art to see and create. There will definitely be some museums and a few other surprises.

Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley

On a side road somewhere in the Canadian prairies of Manitoba. Summer 2020 – self-photography Brandy Saturley

The next journey begins in May. Follow along with me on Facebook and Instagram.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley