Download and Print Welcome Letter: Koster – Painting in OKeeffe Country
Painting in O’Keeffe Country
Instructor: Anna Koster
Start Date: 9/8/19, End Date: 9/13/19
Check-In Begins at 3:00pm at the Welcome Center on 9/8/19. Dinner 5:30 – 6:30; Orientation 6:45 pm
Invitation: Treat yourself to a painting adventure in Georgia O’Keeffe’s own backyard, made famous by the landscapes she captured on canvas. Join us as we walk in her footsteps and try techniques that guided her art. I worked as O’Keeffe’s weekend companion in 1976, then went on to earn an MFA degree and enjoy a long museum career. Now, in Ghost Ranch workshops, I share what I have learned. So bring your favorite painting media and enjoy an unparalleled experience in the land that inspired O’Keeffe. Course runs Sunday afternoon to Friday morning, Sept. 8 to 13. Only 12 spots are available.
Learning Outcomes: Learn about Georgia O’Keeffe’s approach to painting; Try the guidelines that she set for herself, and determine if they fit you; Use color tips presented in this course, experiment, observe O’Keeffe’s use of color and find what works for you; Get tips for blending, shading, and creating a sense of three-dimensional forms; Learn about the elements of aerial perspective, and see if they enhance your work.
Course Schedule: We will generally work together in the mornings (9-noon) and evenings (7-8:30). There will be free time for painting on your own, hiking, and enjoying other Ghost Ranch activities. Studio sessions will include slide and lecture presentations, demonstrations, and sharing work produced during our days together. There will be opportunity for outdoor (plein air) painting, including a special off-site excursion to one of O’Keeffe’s favorite sites. Added features include a free history tour and an optional O’Keeffe Landscape Tour by van (at discounted rate of $24). The schedule will be flexible in order to meet participants’ needs; for a detailed schedule, visit http://annakoster.com/letterSept2019.
Instructor Background: Anna Koster worked as Georgia O’Keeffe’s weekend companion in 1976. For her Ghost Ranch courses, Anna draws from her personal experience with O’Keeffe and from what she has learned in her years of study since. Anna first taught at Ghost Ranch’s Festival of the Arts in the 1970s, then returned in 2015 to lead annual O’Keeffe-related workshops. She has also taught at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (Santa Fe), Palo Alto (CA) Art Center, and San Jose (CA) Museum of Art. Anna worked at three art museums over 35 years, the last 15 at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center. Learn more about Anna at her website: www.annakoster.com.
See her resume at http://www.annakoster.com/resume.html. Visit the Facebook group “Lessons from Georgia O’Keeffe’s Art, Life, Landscape” at bit.ly/akOKgroup (OK must be upper case, the rest lower case). If you have questions, you can email Anna through the “Contact” page of her website; http://www.annakoster.com/contact.html.
What to Bring: Participants should bring their own supplies for painting in their favorite medium (oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, tempera). Sturdy easels are available in the studio. Those who want to use an easel for painting farther from the studio should bring one. The instructor will provide supplies for experimentation. ALSO BRING comfortable walking shoes, a brimmed hat, sunscreen, clothes for changeable weather (warm/hot days, cool evenings, and possible rain), and a water bottle.
FAQs: Q: What kind of paint should I bring, what materials?: A: Any color medium is fine. Bring whatever type of paint you want to use this week (your preference) and all the supplies you will need for it. For example, oils paints require canvas or other substrate plus palette, turpentine, linseed oil, brushes, cleaning rags, etc. Pastels are fine (they are considered a dry pigment painting process when it covering the paper) and need the proper paper, kneaded eraser, etc. Mixed media and colored pencils are also OK.
Q: Can I buy art supplies at Ghost Ranch? A: No, the Ghost Ranch shop does not sell art supplies.
Q: How much time each day will be spent in the workshop? Will there be free time? A: A typical day will include 4.5 hours of organized activity (morning and evenings), with afternoons free. Participants can paint in their free time or take advantage of the many activities available at Ghost Ranch, including hiking, horse-back riding, viewing archeology and history exhibits, a variety of tours, and more.
Q: Will we be painting the same scenes as O’Keeffe and going to places where O’Keeffe painted? A: Ghost Ranch is the epicenter of the New Mexico landscape that O’Keeffe depicted. The subjects of her work surround us at Ghost Ranch. In addition, we will be going off-site to a place she particularly loved: The White Place (as she called it) or Plaza Blanca, as it is more commonly known.
Q: Will we be painting outdoors or inside? A: There will be ample opportunity to paint en plein air (in the open air). One off-site trip to Plaza Blanca will be a good opportunity to make studies and sketches for painting back in the studio, for taking reference photos for paintings, or for plein air painting. Transportation is provided; the walk from the parking lot to the Plaza Blanca canyon is about half a mile. Evenings will be spent in the art studio, which will be available for use at all hours for those who want to use it.
Q: Do I need to bring an easel? A: If you plan to do extensive plein air painting away from the art studio, the answer is yes, bring a lightweight easel. There are sturdy (and heavy) easels that can be used just outside the studio to capture views of Cerro Pedernal, the mesas surrounding the canyon mouth, the nearby corral, and the riparian path that follows the stream. For painting farther afield, I suggest bringing your own easel.
Q: How do I know if I am good enough to take this course? How much experience painting do I need to enroll in this class? A: Mastery of media will vary from one participant to another. Some will be very adept, but if you can get started painting without step-by-step instruction, you are welcome to this workshop. All you need is enough experience to get started. Although if you have problems with that, the instructor has exercises that will help. The instructor can give tips and guidelines as needed. Other participants may need no jump-start for their productivity but might be interested in the exercises that influenced O’Keeffe and that she gave students.
Q: Will the instructor do demonstrations? A: Anna’s lecture-demonstrations will cover color, shading, blending, and elements of aerial perspective. In addition, Georgia O’Keeffe’s approach to painting will be presented for those who want to follow in her practice as well as her footsteps.
Q: Will we tour Georgia O’Keeffe’s houses during the week? A: That is not part of our workshop. However, individuals can make plans on their own to visit Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu house; arrangements can be made at https://www.okeeffemuseum.org/tickets-and-tours/. Both of Georgia O’Keeffe’ s houses are owned by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. If you want to visit, the afternoons of Wednesday and Thursday are open for that or other free-time activities.
Note: Ghost Ranch Foundation and Education Center do not control Georgia O’Keeffe’s house on the 7 acres carved out from the former dude ranch. That house is called Rancho de los Burros. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum does not offer public tours of Rancho de los Burros. There is a Georgia O’Keeffe Landscape Tour (by van) that stops on the road by Rancho de los Burros. That landscape tour is recommended; workshop participants will be offered a specially scheduled tour at a discounted rate on Monday afternoon, Sept. 9.
Q: Will we visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum as part of the workshop? A: No. Visiting the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum before (or after) the workshop is recommended if you have the time to do that. It is an hour’s drive to Santa Fe from Ghost Ranch; so if you have a private vehicle with you, it is possible to make an afternoon visit during the workshop. The afternoons of Wednesday and Thursday are open for that or other free-time activities.
Q: Will Anna Koster tell us about Georgia O’Keeffe and share personal stories about her? A: Yes. In addition to illustrated talks about the famous artist’s life and work, Anna will share personal insights and answer questions about Georgia O’Keeffe.
Q: Can I extend my stay at Ghost Ranch beyond the course? A: Yes. You can arrange for an additional one- or two-night stay with Ghost Ranch staff: 505-685-1000 or 877-804-4678. If you have your own transportation, you could also stay some hours on the last day of the course after you clear out your room for the 10 am check-out. You’d need to pay for additional meals if you want to eat lunch or dinner at Ghost Ranch on check-out day, September 13.
Testimonials: “My week with Anna was transformative. I took the class because of her background and credentials, however what I received was so much more. Her sincere interest in us as artists, coupled with the majesty of landscape transported me to a place of grounding, confidence and passion for the power of creativity.” – Susan Thompson, high school principal
“I enjoyed Anna’s class tremendously. Her artistic guidance and all of the opportunities that she provided during the class gave all of us a comprehensive experience related to the world of art.” – Jenny Pursell, artist, Juneau, Alaska
“The week at Ghost Ranch was, for me, an extraordinary experience with a truly spiritual dimension; quite unique: the setting, the company, the artistic endeavor all came together to make it very special.” – Alice Godfrey, retired physician, Aptos, California
“Ghost Ranch and your class were amazing. I hope you could tell how much I was enjoying the entire experience. As we all agreed, the people in the class made it even better. The rocks, the sky, the silence – amazing. Even my iPhone photos are spectacular. For many years, I have been fascinated by Georgia O’Keeffe. Beyond her art, I think she led an amazing life and was a real trailblazer. The more I learn about her, the more I want to know. Thank you for helping to fuel my obsession.” – Bobbi Baumgartner, retired from Stanford University
Recommended Resources: There is no required reading. Past participants wanted a reading list about Georgia O’Keeffe. So, here it is: For its accuracy and detail, I like Roxana Robinson’s biography Georgia O’Keeffe, first published by Harper & Row in 1989. “Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe” by Laurie Lisle, from Washington Square Press, is respected and is easier to read (fewer details). If you want to hear what others who worked for O’Keeffe have to say about their experience, you could read “Weekends with O’Keeffe” by C. S. Merrill*, published by La Alameda Press, or “Remembering Miss O’Keeffe” by Margaret Wood, published by Museum of New Mexico Press. *Carol Merrill briefly mentions me twice in her book. NOTE: No reading is required. This list is only for those who want to do something extra before or after their week at Ghost Ranch.