I was in Arizona and New Mexico for ten days with my dad. The scenery in New Mexico was something I've never experienced before. We got to visit Petrified Forest National Park, The Painted Desert,and Petroglyph National Monument, but Ghost Ranch, where Georgia O'Keeffe lived and worked in isolation for many years, was my favorite.
This picture doesn't really do justice to the tremendous display of colors at Ghost Ranch. In a few hundred feet green grass, red hills, blue mountains and sky, and grey, white and black rocks all appear—somehow conjured up by the desert.
O'Keeffe was famous for her unique perspective, which held realism and abstraction in a comfortable tension. Often, she would paint flowers or bones extremely close-up, to accentuate features often missed by casual viewers. I was able to visit the O'Keeffe Museum, where over one hundred of her pieces were on display. She is one of my favorite artists, probably because of her unified artistic vision and her notoriously eccentric lifestyle.
"Pelvis IV" shows the New Mexico sky as seen through the smooth and alluring bones of a cow.
The reason for our trip was not just to visit national parks and museums (I added those later), but to attend the Glen Workshops, hosted by Image, a journal of "Art Faith and Mystery." It was a chance for Christians of many denominations and artists of many fields to get together and share their experiences. The workshops were awesome. My dad led one workshop on mixed media, and I took the fiction workshop, led by Bret Lott, an accomplished author who also edits the Southern Review. Bret has some insightful advice and very funny stories about being a writer, published as a collection of essays, called "Before We Get Started".
We also were fortunate to hear a concert performed by Over the Rhine, an outstanding band of which I have been a fan for a few years. Their music is lyrically rich, often folk inspired melodic ballads. Their latest release, "Drunkard's Prayer," is my favorite.
Eugene Peterson, scholar, pastor and translator of "The Message" gave the homilies at worship. He has one of those gravelly voices, but it was very humble and inviting.
I could keep going, but let it suffice to say that this was the highlight of my summer.