O'Keeffe's Ghost Ranch

We're on a Georgia O'Keeffe kick right now thanks to featured Loti artist Miranda Bennett's custom line of shibori dyed silk wraps inspired by Ghost Ranch. The more we find out about O'Keeffe's isolated high desert home in New Mexico, the more we connect to Miranda's visual inspiration. Here are a few excerpts from a great 2002 Architectural Digest article (w/ photos by Robert Reck): 

"The studio at Ghost Ranch remained an austere space with few furnishings. (Like this amazing Le Corbusier–style lounge chair) O’Keeffe also painted outdoors, and her Model A Ford functioned as a kind of mobile studio. “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,” she said."

Here in this unpretentious, U-shaped structure, situated in a remote area of the ranch, O’Keeffe spent each summer and fall of most of the last 40 years of her long and prolific life. Its adobe walls seemingly an extension of the earth itself, the Ghost Ranch house (first shown in Architectural Digest in June 1981) nurtured her love of nature. Its picture windows frame views of majestic cliffs and mesas.

“Out here, half your work is done for you,” O’Keeffe said. She particularly delighted in climbing the handhewn wooden ladder to the roof, where she often entertained visitors and slept under the stars.

As elsewhere in the house, rocks, shells and bones collected by the artist on her walks line shelves in the dining room. Chinese chairs surround the plain plywood table. The simple, U-shaped adobe structure was built in the 1930s; it now sits on approximately 12 acres.

O’Keeffe expressed her enthusiasm for her surroundings in a 1942 letter to the painter Arthur Dove: “I wish you could see what I see out the window—the earth pink and yellow cliffs to the north—the full pale moon about to go down in an early morning lavender sky . . . pink and purple hills in front and the scrubby fine dull green cedars—and a feeling of much space—It is a very beautiful world.”

“However, when I took my pots and pans and moved them to Abiquiu, I knew that was now my home, even though I continue to return to Ghost Ranch each summer to paint, or whenever I can find an excuse to get there. When you start making a home, it is difficult to stop changing it, imagining it different. If I thought of building a house from scratch today, I would make it so simple that it would make most houses look like some kind of Chinese puzzle.”