There were many special moments during my recent tour of Georgia O’Keeffe’s home in Abiquiu. Among them was discovering her rock collections scattered about the house, both inside and out. I’ve done a little research and it appears that she loved the shapes of these rocks, as well as rocks in general. She gathered them on her walks, as well as during her trips to other places, such as Oaxaca, Mexico. One, later deemed her favorite, she "stole" from the home of photographer Eliot Porter and had a photograph made of her holding this black stone. Her gardener sometimes rearranged rocks in her collections; she moved them back without saying a word. It became a game they played for years. For a time, she painted individual stones in addition to the magnificent rock formations in the landscape near Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch.
“I have the kind of mind that sees these shapes. I know what some of them are from. Many have realistic landscape or natural bases, but others are just beautiful shapes that I see in my mind.”
-- Georgia O’Keeffe
I am a photographer rather than a painter and I see shapes in the things around me more than I imagine them in my mind, but I do identify with O’Keeffe’s passion for shapes. It is what draws me to architectural subjects, to unique land and stone formations, to leaves and other details in the natural world, and even to abstractions. It is what I love most about the adobe architecture of Santa Fe and surrounding areas, whether Pueblo, Spanish Colonial or Territorial Revival in style. I like to simplify images so that their shapes become a dominant feature in the photograph.
Visually, which are you more drawn to: shapes, lines, textures, colors or some other element? How do you convey this through your photographs or artwork, or even through the way you decorate your home, the clothes you wear or the artwork you choose to hang on your walls?