Beginners: Find Your Inner O’Keeffe and Find Yourself
Welcome Letter to Participants
I look forward to our days together. You will learn about O’Keeffe and her approach to art, get inspiration from the subjects and landscape that she loved, and create your own art.
Itinerary and Topics Covered (please note that this is subject to change)
Sunday, June 5 -- Check-in begins at 3:00 p.m. at the Welcome Center. Ranch Orientation is after dinner, then we meet for introductions and a course overview.
Monday, June 6 -- 9 a.m.–noon in studio for an “O’Keeffe exercise” experimenting with composition; afternoon free; 7–8:30 p.m. in studio to follow up morning with color
Tuesday, June 7 — 9 a.m.–noon in the studio to learn about O’Keeffe's practice of framing and cropping, then move outdoors with cameras and sketch pads; details in Q&A below for 3:30 optional Georgia O'Keeffe Landscape Tour ($24 for course participants, $39 for others), otherwise free time this afternoon; 7–8:30 p.m. studio session to review morning exercises, discuss what we saw in the tour about how O'Keeffe "framed the landscape"
Wednesday, June 8 -- 9 a.m.–noon in studio, review O’Keeffe's steps to prepare for her paintings; afternoon free; 7–8:30 p.m. in studio follow O'Keeffe's step to complete a painting
Thursday, June 9 -- 9 a.m.–noon studio "reframing" presentation and exercise; afternoon free; 7–8:30 p.m. studio session review work and work on ongoing projects or new challenges
Friday, June 10 -- 9 a.m.–noon meet in studio, then complete works in studio or outside, prepare work for display, discuss work; afternoon free; evening all-ranch Celebration
Saturday, June 11 -- Clear out room by 10 a.m. (It is OK to stay and hike or relax but must pay for additional meals and arrange overnight housing.)
Materials to Bring
• Sketch pad (5x7 inches or other easy-to-carry size)
• Graphite pencils or sticks, soft, medium, and firm
• Glue stick
• If you already own color art materials that you like to use (paint, pastels, colored pencils, etc.), bring those. If you DON’T, please purchase materials of your choice for this class. If you have no preference, I suggest:
- A set of acrylic paints (at minimum red, blue, yellow, and white)
- Pad of 9x12-inch, 140-pound, hot-press watercolor paper
- Paint brushes, at least 3 sizes, pointed and/or flat
• Bring a camera (on your phone is fine)
Also Bring comfortable walking shoes, a brimmed hat, sunscreen, a water bottle, and clothes for changeable weather (hot days, cool evenings, some possibility of rain).
Participants need to bring their own supplies listed above. I will bring a variety of other materials for experimentation.
All Skill Levels Welcome
This course is ideal for beginners, amateurs, and artists wanting a fresh approach. Novices will learn the most. Advanced artists will experience exercises and get information that will help them understand O'Keeffe and her art.
About the Instructor, Anna Koster
I worked for Georgia O'Keeffe in 1976, then went on to get an MFA degree and enjoy a long museum career. I returned to Ghost Ranch in 2014 to lead annual O’Keeffe-related art courses and have also taught at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (Santa Fe), Palo Alto (CA) Art Center, and San Jose (CA) Museum of Art. I have two art degrees (BA and MFA) and worked at art museums for 35 years, the last 15 years at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center. See my art and learn about me at my website: www.annakoster.com. My resume is online at annakoster.com/resume. Visit my Facebook page at facebook.com/AnnaKosterArt. Visit our Facebook group “Lessons from Georgia O'Keeffe's Art, Life, Landscape” at facebook.com/groups/GOK.Lessons; you can view posts or join the group and share there.
If you have questions, you can email me through the "Contact" page of this website.
There is no required reading. Past participants have said that they would have appreciated an advance reading list. If you are of like mind, 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'Keeffeby Laurie Lisle, from Washington Square Press, is also 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.) The Genizaro & the Artist by Napoleón Garcia, a native of Abiquiú, knew and worked for O’Keeffe for decades.
• If you have little or no experience drawing, that's perfectly OK. But if you want to get a head start before coming to Ghost Ranch, I suggest visiting your local library for a basic book on drawing and sketching for beginners. Avoid books where the authors appear to be showing off their skills rather than giving easy instructions.
No reading is required. This list is only for those who want to do something extra before or after their week at Ghost Ranch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What's the scoop on the June 7, 3:30 p.m., Georgia O'Keeffe Landscape Tour?
Answer: This tour lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes and goes by motor bus to areas near O'Keeffe's Ghost Ranch house that are otherwise off limits. The guide will point out sites of O'Keeffe's paintings and share information about her 50-year history at Ghost Ranch. The tour is recommended but optional and requires a fee in addition to the cost of the workshop. The discounted rate for anyone registered in this course is $24. Spouses and companions must pay the regular rate of $39 per person. To pay and reserve your space, call 505-685-1000, then extension 4101 (tours) or 0 (operator).
Q: What kind of art supplies should I bring?
A: Bring the materials that you already own or that you prefer to use plus the glue stick, scissors, sketch book, and graphite listed above. Make sure you have a camera; a phone camera is fine
Q: Can I buy art supplies at Ghost Ranch?
A: No, the Ghost Ranch shop does not sell art supplies.
Q: Will we be depicting 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 made famous in her paintings. The subjects of her work surround us at Ghost Ranch. The (optional) Georgia O'Keeffe Landscape Tour affords a special opportunity to visit sites of her paintings (see details above).
Q: Will we be working outdoors or inside?
A: Some sessions will be in the studio, and there will be ample opportunity to sketch, draw, and paint in the open air. The art studio will be available at all hours for those who want to use it. Depending on the pandemic at that time and the transmission rates of COVID-19, we may have more outdoor sessions and fewer in the studio.
Q: Will we tour Georgia O’Keeffe’s houses during the week?
A: No, 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.
Note: Ghost Ranch Foundation and Education Center have no of 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 optional; information is at https://www.ghostranch.org/activities/georgia-o-keeffe-landscape-tour/.
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. (One or two days may vary due to special activities.) Participants can paint/draw/create 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 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.
Q: I am flying to New Mexico. How can I get to Ghost Ranch?
A: Most people who fly to NM for Ghost Ranch programs arrive at the Albuquerque airport. Many people use Groome Transportation to go back-and-forth from the Albuquerque airport and Santa Fe.
Santa Fe also has an airport on the outskirts of town. Lyft and Uber should be able to provide transportation from the Santa Fe airport into town.
White Buffalo Shuttle Service (831-359-8077, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://whitebuffaloshuttle.com) provides shuttle service on the first and last days of class between Ghost Ranch and the Sage Inn, 725 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Recent charge has been $40 one way. Reservations are needed if you want to use this service.
If the shuttle times don't work for you, a car can be rented in Albuquerque or Santa Fe.
Ghost Ranch travel information is here: https://www.ghostranch.org/plan-your-visit/your-stay/travel/
“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