A few hours at Ghost Ranch

On my weekend off between two workshops in Santa Fe, we rented a car and took a drive north up to Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch. Those names might be familiar to you if you know the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, because she lived in New Mexico from 1934 until her death in 1986.

We tried, unsuccessfully, to get a ticket to visit her home and studio in Abiquiu. In fact, I had set an alert on my calendar months ago when the tickets went on sale, but I guess everyone had the same idea because they sold out immediately. We stopped anyway at the O’Keeffe Foundation where a guide told me that if we drove very slowly on the road going north as we exited the parking lot, we could catch a glimpse of a corner of the house on the hill. That would have to do for this trip.

From there we continued on the road to Ghost Ranch where O’Keefe lived for many years and which is now a retreat and tourist destination. Instead of taking the Georgia O’Keeffe Landscape Tour on a minibus, or the Georgia O’Keeffe Landscape Trail Ride on a horse, I decided to sketch a view of the redrock cliffs that she might have painted. The midday light wasn’t ideal, but I found an Adirondack chair in the shade and sketched for an hour or so. It’s obvious why O’Keeffe fell in love with these surroundings and made these views the subject of her paintings for decades. I feel lucky to have spent a bit of time there too.

16 Comments on “A few hours at Ghost Ranch”

  1. Chris Rusk says:

    Today’s sketch and the great story behind it 🙂


  2. Tom Jump says:

    Hi Shari, Love your sketch! We were in Abiguiu about 5 years ago in the fall and did the tour through her home. The views with the fall color were pretty amazing! We also visited Ghost Ranch but that was before her summer studio was open to the public. That whole little area is just magical and I’m always thinking we need to get back there! ~Tom


  3. De says:

    Shari, I am so glad you took the advantage to go the Ghost Ranch. We spent a whole day there in 2019 and promised ourselves we would return. It’s hard to describe the peace and tranquility we felt there. Beautiful sketch! I’m pretty sure I know right where you sat to do that sketch. Enjoy the rest of your time in NM.


  4. Hi Shari, I will be in Santa Fe next year with Bobbi and Susan if the stars aline, and I was thinking we could rent a car and explore Taos, I did not realize that Ghost Ranch was close enough to explore from Santa Fe also. Thanks for the idea. The Santa Fe trip might turn int a road trip! Love your sketch, cliffs are such fun to paint and you did a great job of it.


  5. Rene Wojcik says:

    Hi Shari, I’ve been to the Ghost Ranch several times. Yes it is a beautiful, captivating please to visit. The mountain beyond your sketch. I believe Georgia O’Keefe’s favorite mountain is Pedernal Mountain. A short distance from Ghost Ranch.


  6. -N- says:

    I think there is a Georgia O’Keeffe museum in Santa Fe – I may be wrong – or a museum with a lot of her paintings there. Also a photography museum. Both are good and we enjoyed them a lot, If you like cigars, there is a good cigar shop, too, if you are interested (provided it is still there!). And it is certainly a beautiful place to paint – in Abiquiu or elsehere in NM. Glad you are enjoying your stay. B-)


  7. Kristin Johnsen says:

    Its just so cool that you went there and sketched!!! What a lovely memory…..


  8. Bernadette says:

    Beautiful and I love the large format of your latest sketchbook! It’s ideal for the long, low red rock cliffs of NM. Wonderfully done, as always.


  9. Christi Morris says:

    Wow, beautiful!


  10. Wonderful sketch of Georgia’s red rocks! Glad you visited the ranch and got to connect with her that way. When we were out there we did get to visit her home and studio, the museum, but not the ranch.

    I was thinking of you yesterday. The NYC Urban Sketchers went to the New York Botanical Gardens and I remembered meeting you there. Yesterday was the Plein Air Invitational. I did see James Gurney and his wife in passing, but didn’t see him actually painting this time. It was such a beautiful day that I just kept painting and sketching. You were missed!


  11. suesim49 says:

    Is there anyone more rigid about accommodating artists than the guardians of art museums?

    I once got kicked out of a museum’s gardens for – gasp – using watercolors. It was a pleasure to learn recently that they were holding a plein air event – in the garden. Sue


  12. T. Cenova says:

    Shari: I was just at Abiquiu the week prior to your first workshop and I did enjoy the tour of Georgia O’Keefe’s home and studio. The view from her studio window, however, is almost exactly what you painted. You’re right when you say you saw what GOK saw and the painting is a great representation of the terrain. Nice work. – Tim


  13. Nice painting, of the western United States. I really like how you captured the reds of the rocks and the verdant spring trees in the foreground.


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