Printer Friendly Version

Pedernal-From the Ranch #1

Do you have a favorite place? What is special about it? Is it a lake where you spend lazy summer days? Or maybe you like the view from a high mountaintop. Perhaps you are a city slicker and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the sidewalks of New York. Or do you prefer a place a little closer to home, like a neighborhood park or even your own room?

For the painter of this picture, Georgia O’Keeffe, the rugged desert of New Mexico was the ideal place to be. She loved the vast terrain, the bright blue sky, and the intense, hot sun. She especially treasured the unusual mountain you see in the distance, the Cerro Pedernal. “I’ve traveled all over the world,” she declared, “and I don’t think there’s anything as good as this.”

Georgia O’Keeffe
American, 1887-1986
Pedernal—From the Ranch I, 1956
Oil on canvas
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
© Minneapolis Institute of Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The natural world of New Mexico inspired Georgia O’Keeffe.
In her paintings, O’Keeffe often experimented with perspective, scale, and color.
Circular shapes appear often in O’Keeffe’s artwork.

Up Close and Personal: O’Keeffe frequently examined natural objects close up and enlarged them in her paintings. In your backyard or a local park, find a small object such as a rock or a flower and draw it larger than life. How does your drawing of it look different from reality? What details do you particularly notice now that the object is blown up?  

Pen Pals: Although Georgia O’Keeffe often lived in isolation in New Mexico, she corresponded with close friends through letters. Use the postcard template to first sketch your favorite place and then write a postcard to a friend explaining why the place is important to you.  

Circles All Around: Circular forms can be found in art throughout the museum. Use the Art Collector feature of ArtsConnectEd to view a collection of artworks that feature circles. Then search for objects to add to the collection. Click here to access the collection. Click here to learn more about Art Collector.  

Resources for Students and Teachers:
Cowart, Jack, and Juan Hamilton. Georgia O’Keeffe: Art and Letters. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art and Bullfinch Press, 1987.

Peters, Sarah Whitaker. Becoming O’Keeffe: The Early Years. New York: Abbeville Press, 1991.

Stuhlman, Jonathan, and Barbara Buhler. Georgia O’Keeffe: Circling Around Abstraction. West Palm Beach, Fla.: Norton Museum of Art, 2007.

Venezia, Mike. Georgia O’Keeffe. Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series. Hartford, Conn.: Children’s Press, 1994.

Winter, Jeanette. My Name Is Georgia. New York: Voyager Books, 2003.

October 2007