Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Painting! Ain't Gonna Be Dragged Down

Here it is a Wednesday and I'm painting again. This is much better. You guys are great and I am so thankful for your friendship and art.

The other day I was reading an article in New Mexico Magazine about Georgia O'Keeffe and her camping trips with her assistant, Maria Chabot. I wish I could share it with you, but it's in the current June edition and there are no links to the article right now. However, there is this, Georgia O'Keeffe and her houses, that you might like to look at.

Ever the curious web-surfer, I found another article. This one, quite damning of O'Keeffe's work. My. I'm in conflict. I can't help but enjoy her work, but I think the author makes valid points. Pointedly. Here's a link to the article, Inspired illustrator, by Deborah Solomon. This should stimulate some discussion.

I've completed Pedernal One, 18" x 18" (Oil on cradled panel) today. Whew! This is the one I worked on during the Tucson Artists' Open Studios Tour in April. I wonder if this is, er ahem, O'Keeffe-like, or maybe, even better...

Blue Pedernal II (18" x 18" oil on cradled panel) © 2012 Melinda S. Esparza
Music is like a great cup of coffee, isn't it? This song by Eric Bibb, Don't Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, got me going today, and I thought I'd share it with you. Wishing you lots of inspired time in the studio.


Anonymous said...

Here's what I feel when I look at/into/with Pedernal One: I'm in the painting. I am part of the color. We are both moving. I am noticing the sky, too, maybe even a daytime meteor... I am alive when I participate with this painting. I'm not a painter and I didn't have time to read any of the articles you referred to, Melinda, but I did look at an online painting by O'Keeffe of Pedernal, and while I like her painting also, there is a difference in the experience for me: I am outside of Georgia's painting, looking at a stirring landscape. In yours, I am inside. As I say, I am not a painter (though I am an artist), so I have no idea if my response has "validity" except as a personal living ... but hey that counts for a lot too! So thank you for the painting! Celese Rei

Melinda said...

Thank you so much, Celese, for visiting and leaving such a thoughtful comment.

It's thrilling to me that you would have a good experience of being in the landscape, experiencing it in a positive, full range kind of way.

Hope you'll stop by again.
Best wishes with your art, too!

Jeane Myers said...

wow! so much to consider here - first of all your painting hits all the right spots - it's really wonderful - that blue is hard to move away from - I don't know if it's 'okeeffe like or better', but it is so so good! I have been fan of the person of Georgia O'Keeffe, but have never felt an affinity for her work - it's lovely but never held my interest - it's a bit too over cooked for my taste - your work still has a rawness to it that is arresting - glad you are back to work xo

Melinda said...

Thank you, Jeane. Your perspective and careful looking always makes me see better.

You inspire me in so many ways too.

It is interesting that O'Keeffe did really remarkable work, that also suggests naive art. And, I do love naive art--maybe even outsider art before there was such a thing. I find her life instructive, and worth careful study.

I'm sorry you had a problem with the word verification. It's annoying. Perhaps I can figure out how to turn it off.

Virtual hugs and xoxo

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

I've read your blog and looked at the glorious painting. I was there when it was born, and my it's just spectacular. Just was looking at O'Keefe in the Met in New York. I am biased in your direction for sure.
But have seen an Okeefe print of a Poppy at my mother's for years. My mother has taken so much art history she could easily have two Ph.D.s if she wanted. She does know art, and she would dislike the description of O'keefe as an inspired illustrator. You do get us thinking.

Great work, and thanks for the links. You rock.


Donald Diddams said...

This painting just glows from within -- and yes, there is a "rawness" to your work that echoes the landscape you are painting. It's a beautiful, yet tough and raw land.
As for O'Keeffe, I have mixed feelings and like some of her early and mid-career work better than the what she produced toward the end. And of course, the story of her life is fascinating. Perhaps success became a millstone, and her work became a little formulaic.

Melinda said...

Hello, dear Barbara.
Yes, I think the article was a bit harsh. And, maybe it is going too far to label her as an illustrator. On the other hand...

I think we women admire her for her guts and drive, and her single-minded focus on her art. That makes her very special to me.

I'm smiling thinking about your presence during the open studio tour when this painting was born.

Virtual hugs!

Melinda said...

Thank you, Donald!

It seems we all have some conflicting views about O'Keeffe. I guess that's as it should be. She was brave, that's for sure.

Perhaps some of our unease is related to the intense marketing of her work as gift shop trinkets. I know that for the last twelve or so years of her life she suffered from macular degeneration. If only she'd known about lutein, yes?

I like that, "rawness in my work." I'll try to keep that going on.

cohen labelle said...


You are definitely in the same league as O’keefe. You both tackle the monumentality of the desert landscape and you depict and express it admirably!!!! Your use of colour is powerful and stirring and your brushwork conveys beautifully and convincingly the carved dynanism of nature’s forces.
It would never occur to me to rank O’keefe. To see her as an illustrator seems a stretch but I’m beginning to wonder why ‘illustrator’ has to imply a perjorative. Rembrandt trained early as an illustrator but I don’t think any artist could have been more painterly than him.
Anyway I have a fondness for O’keefe’s work – my parents once gave me a lovely book of her work to celebrate my recovery after having been sick and to inspire me.
Well I am certainly inspired by your paintings and I see you as an amazing and distinctive voice! Paint on and I agree with Gibbs - ‘don’t let nobody drag your spirit down’ - Including well intentioned art historians. ☺

xo, Marcia

Melinda said...

Hello Marcia,
I am in total agreement with you. I was shocked by the article on O'Keeffe, while thinking the author had looked more carefully than anyone else. Would I have categorized O'Keeffe as an illustrator? No, never. Yet, I have seen the power of her graphic design skill, and admire it greatly. I think like most artists, she was at the right place at the right time. She also had a fearless personality. I really like that too. Yes, it is unfortunate the way art historians rank artists, as if illustrator is a bad term. In my dreams, I had wanted to be an illustrator. Too hard!

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reading and commenting. That's what I love about blogging.

You are an incredible artist and human being.

I'm hoping we all remember to allow love and hope to raise our spirits enough to move toward the next 'better days.'

Virtual hugs!!

Bridget Hunter said...

Hi Melinda - I think this painting is so strong yet such a simple motif which holds the interest because of all the interesting marks. I'm not sure what I think of Georgia O'Keeffe's work after checking out your link. There are many who seem to be coping her large flower paintings but not so successfully. I thought you might be interested in looking at a Scottish artist Barbra rae who often visits your part of the world for inspiration

Melinda said...

Hello Bridget,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. O'Keeffe really does inspire discussion as well as emulation!

I love Barbara Rae's work. Thank you for the link, too! She has a strong graphical sense.

Your work is wonderful, too. I see the same kind of high contrast, and strong composition handled in your own unique and skillful way.

Jeffrey J. Boron said...

Don't know about Georgia...but me thinks this is pure Melinda that has it "goin' on here" oh yeah!



Melinda said...

Ha, Jeffrey!

Thank you so much. May we all have "it goin' on" in our studios.

It doth appear, sir, that you totally have it goin' on with "West Coast Sunset." It's dazzling.

Virtual hugs.

Linny D. Vine said...

Melinda, "One" is "Number One!!" - it's fabulous!!! (Thank-you for sharing the G.O. info, too)It's been much too long since my last visit to the paintings of Magical Melinda.)

Melinda said...

Dear Lovely Lighthearted Lyrical Linny,

I am delighted that you enjoyed this painting.

Float on over here any time you'd like. You are most welcome. It's a pleasure to read your comments. They always lift my spirit--and I feel happy.

Keep painting alive in Linnyland! We need to know it is always there for meditation and enjoyment.

Virtual hugs--M