the dirt resists you

6 06 2009

Image and Imagination: Georgia O'Keeffe by John Loengard

Image and Imagination: Georgia O’Keeffe by John Loengard by John Loengard

I’ve been trying to pick up a few more art books — I often steer away from them because they seem pricy.

This book pairs evocative pictures of Georgia O’Keefe with some of her most enigmatic images, and a little text about her life. I enjoyed it; the art of the photographer brings insight into the artist and her art. I’ve always only really liked her flower paintings, (I have one on the wall in my living room.) but I enjoyed the motifs of skull and stone and desert house much more in this context than alone.

The pictures are beautiful, O’Keefe is fascinating to see in the life she has made for herself — at 80, one can fairly be held responsible for one’s surroundings.

Here’s a quote, from a book with little text, but still worth reading:

I’m a newcomer to Abiquiu, that’s one of the lower forms of life. The Spanish people have been here since the 18thcentury. The house was a pigpen when I got it in 1946. The roof was falling in, the doors were falling off. But it had a beautiful view.

I wanted to make it my house, but I’ll tell you the dirt resists you. It is very hard to make the earth your own. The ranch is really home to me. I’ve done much less to try to make it mine. All my association with it is a kind of freedom. Yet it’s hard to live at the ranch. When I first came here, I had to go 70 miles on a dirt road to get supplies. Nobody would go by in two weeks. I thought the ranch would be good for me because nothing can grow here and I wouldn’t be able to use up my time gardening. But I got tired of canned vegetables so now I grow everything I need for the year at Abiquiu. I like to get up when the dawn comes. The dogs start talking to me and I like to make a fire and maybe some tea and then sit in bed and watch the sun come up. The morning is the best time, there are no people around. My pleasant disposition likes the world with nobody in it.

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