New Mexico: The Sights That Inspired Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams
Join us on a virtual road trip to the outstanding landscapes and culture of New Mexico that inspired painter Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Ansel Adams.
When travel in person isn’t possible, we can travel virtually via photography and other visual art. In turn, art can inspire us to travel and explore. Just like some works of art are more striking, some landscapes inspire more than others. Northern New Mexico is one of those natural wonders.
The painter Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Ansel Adams were both inspired by the stunning landscapes and the adobe-style architecture found in New Mexico. Despite working in very different media and styles, they were both considered Modernists and part of the movement that switched their creative focus from cities like New York out west to the vast rural landscapes of New Mexico and California. Naturally, they were also both outdoor enthusiasts – and inspired by what draws us outside.
During the 1930s and 40s Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband, the art dealer Alfred Stieglitz, spend a lot of time in Taos and at Ghost Ranch. Photographer Ansel Adams, who also worked with Stieglitz, would visit at times. Later on, as a widow, O’Keeffe made the region her permanent home: both at Ghost Ranch and at her house in Abiquiú. The last few years of her life, she spent in nearby Santa Fe.
When it comes to trying to capture the stunning, soothing, and invigorating beauty of nature, we couldn’t agree more with O’Keeffe’s statement about New Mexico: “Out here, half your work is done for you.”
You can make up your own mind as you come along on this digital road trip through the northern part of New Mexico, from Taos along the Rio Grande, past Hernandez (see Ansel Adams’ celebrated photo Moonrise), to Abiquiú and Plaza Blanca. Then on along the Rio Chama to the Abquiú Reservoir at the feet of Cerro Pedernal (Georgia O’Keeffe’s “private mountain”) and finally to the famous Ghost Ranch.
Throughout this post, we have added links to related art work by the two artists.
Now please let yourself feel inspired to create, to travel, or to just let your mind go on a relaxing virtual road trip through the stunning New Mexico landscape that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams.
A note on the timing. We went on this road trip in late April, our favorite travel month. But it wasn’t April of this year, when we like most people are staying home due to the coronavirus safety restrictions.
We also didn’t go on this particular road trip because of Ansel Adams of Georgia O’Keeffe. We were just freely exploring. As we discovered a few of these stunning sites, we began to trust that: where those artists found inspiration, we would surely feel awed as well. So we ended up seeking out more off-the-beaten-path places like Plaza Blanca on-the-fly.
We hope seeing these photos made you a little happier. Please be safe while you do more of what makes you happier!
Let’s Inspire Each Other!
Have you ever traveled to a location that became famous through an artist? Did it live up to your expectation? Have you been to New Mexico? Tell us about your favorite places. Are you making plans for future travel and exploration? Where do you want to go next?
Please leave a reply in the comment section below.