Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sharing a Quesadilla with Georgia O’Keeffe

We returned home from New Mexico earlier this week and were getting settled into our normal routine and I was making lunch the other day. We hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet and the fridge was full of a bunch of loose ends and I found myself compiling some odd things together to craft a raw quesadilla.

I couldn’t help but think back to the overwhelming feelings that had come over me in the most unaccustomed way while standing in the Georgia O’Keeffe museum just a short week prior.

I have never been a huge fan of Georgia O’Keeffe’s but only because my individual taste leans more towards the dark, psychological, conceptual and geometrical. Even so, I certainly appreciate her place in history, her talent for painting, her unique passion for her subject, and her voice as a trailblazing feminine role model in the arts.

But as a strong-willed female artist myself, I felt a strikingly poignant sense of relevancy while looking at three very distinct things in the museum.

Georgia O'Keeffe on Evening Walk with her Dog, Ghost Ranch, by John Loengard, 1966

This photo of Georgia on a mountain touched me deeply because it was a portrait of a woman in command of her environment; intimately reigning over the landscape that both inspired and sustained her, with only her dog as companion trailing behind as she powerfully traversed the solid ground beneath her feet that she called home. Almost biblical, she strides confidently across the ridgeback beneath a tumultuous sky, stylistically yet unconsciously rending the land before her into textural halves as if she were encompassed in the sensual folds of nature she so boldly articulated onto canvas.

As an artist, I know the joy of walking into a studio and seeing the materials and supplies that facilitate in the creation of my ideas laid out before me glimmering with the seeds of potential of that which may spring forth. Oftentimes it is more exciting for me to see the unique still lifes of other artists’ art supplies than it is to see their finished pieces. It’s like a secret handshake glimpse into a world that makes me giddy by relation and in O’Keeffe’s case, I received utter inner joy from seeing her color practice sheets where color danced in gradients upon swatches and hue washes were born.

The exhibition currently on display was full of the normal flowers and voluptuous mountains but the piece that caught my eye was a small and exquisitely simple clamshell, softly unveiling its lush muscle inside. I could taste the lavender meat and equally feel a cool shiver up my spine.

The three of these images gelled together in my mind as I admired the perfection in this painting and I suddenly felt the welling up of tears in my eyes. This woman’s life made me recall how much life is NOT a dress rehearsal and how it should be lived zestfully every single second of the day. This wash of tears on my face reminded me so much of this ideal and O’Keeffe was the conduit of this reminder for me.

Maybe that explained the odd meal that currently sat out before me on the kitchen counter. Instead of going for something ordinary and easy, I was compelled to choose ingredients that were totally calling out to me in the moment. Two homemade style tortillas, thick and doughy, transferred back on the plane from Albuquerque. One half covered with a soft herbed cheese spread and a smattering of nutty green pepitas. The other half painted red by the firm and juicy halves of grapette tomatoes plucked fresh from my boyfriend’s garden. And a drizzle of sage flavored honey over the top of the whole thing like a stringy thought falling out of Jackson Pollock’s dreams.

From the things we eat, to the things we say, to the people we choose to give our time to, to the way we make our minutes matter, I made a recommitment to myself that my life would truly be extraordinary for me and that I would continue to wholeheartedly craft it as my own.

1 comment:

  1. Life is made up daily of recommitments....Harder lived than said....