Crossing America, both the skies and highways afford views of mines of many kinds, massive holes in the ground, gigantic pits surrounded by bulldozers and dump trucks, the equipment of the modern mining operation.
Yet this is not the case within Turquoise Hill, the ancient Cerrillos mines near Santa Fe, New Mexico, where over millions of years water trickled downward through the jagged plates or perhaps upward from hot springs. The moisture transformed the copper and iron into the most beautiful blue, a ‘Tiffany blue,’ a rock and its land sought after more than one thousand years ago by the Anasazi Indians, then by the Spanish, by the American Turquoise Company (since 1880, with connections to Tiffany & Company), by music video and movie producers, and all along by the curious and the enchanted, unable to resist a color like no other, as well as the earth that created it.
Unsurprisingly, this same veneration attracts Hollywood. Stephen Spielberg and Ron Howard both made movies on this hill, and the mines themselves serve as sets for dozens of actors, including Russell Crowe and Christian Bale for the movie 3:10 to Yuma, along with Tobey Maguire and Sam Shepard for Brothers.
Others too revere this area, outsiders who encounter it not just in person, but within their soul. Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) first visited New Mexico in 1929 and, although not a native, made the land her own, a place that many now call ‘O’Keeffe Country.’ It was her paintings of this area that transformed her reputation in New York. She already grasped the increasingly popular abstract shapes of modern art, and she adapted these to the New Mexico high desert, painting the doorway of her adobe house or the shape of the sky as seen through the empty eye socket of a cow’s skull.
And yet she denied the abstraction. She painted what she saw using her inherent ability to understand the element of shapes. According to Hunter Drohojowska-Philp’s biography Full Bloom, as a student O’Keeffe grasped concepts and designs over fundamentals such as figure drawing. Perhaps this was a blessing. By her own account, O’Keeffe struggled with the specific renderings; however, from the beginning she saw the shapes and colors of New Mexico with clarity.
“I like it better here than anyplace I have ever been. I had such a wonderful walk up the arroyo bed of a wide valley lined on both sides with high pink hills — a sort of waving ripple along the tops — a few cedar and pinon trees — earth ranging from pink through red to deep purple with streaks of green in it. At the head of the arroyo, the very high cliffs — fantastic shapes — it is a beautiful world — There is something clean about a world like that — it is like walking across new snow.” -Georgia O’Keeffe
Artist and restaurateur Rosalea Murphy (1912-2000) told me that Georgia O’Keeffe visited her bar, The Dragon Room, on occasion. The two were not close friends, holding different ideas about art, men, and food. Yet their rivalry was an interesting one, as they watched each other’s careers and shared a love for their adopted home.
Dolores Pepper (a.k.a. Wendy Rodrigue)
For a related post visit “Rosalea Murphy, the Pink Adobe and Paintings of Evergreen Lake”
HumidCity will do everything it can to assist. If there is something we can do…
Throw another party in the city with the highest poverty rate in…
Can you say it's The Beatles without John?
Or can it be Miami Vice…
an excellent movie! my review - http://www.neauxreelidea.com/2013/04/revie…
The road to Hell is paved in unbought stuffed dogs.
Long how many more billions we spend to prevent the FBI's definition of terrorism versus…