24″ x 24″ oil on canvas

This is my fourth painting based on images and impressions from my recent trip to New Mexico. I was quite taken with the beautiful architecture, some of it dating from the 1700s, and the gorgeous warm tones and soft edges of adobe structures against a clear blue sky.
This still life, the model for my painting, was created by artist Georgia O’Keeffe and still sits in her Abiquiu home. It’s in a kind of alcove leading to a courtyard.

You may be familiar with the fact that Ms. O’Keeffe included animal skulls in many of her paintings, most found in her walks in the desert near her home. I think those paintings are probably as iconic as her flower paintings in their own way.
She was also an avid collector of stones, which I did not know. They were arranged all over her home and studio. One of them appears in this painting.

Anyway I thought I would give her arrangement a try myself, and this is the result. The palette I used was even more limited than the last three works because there is no blue, and the light was more diffuse. Limiting a palette makes it challenging to create enough variety in tone and texture to keep the image from turning to mud. (For those interested, I used burnt umber, burnt sienna, cadmium orange, cadmium yellow, Payne’s gray, mars black, titanium white, and a bit of radiant white at the end to pump up the light on the bone.)

Now, I’m hoping it dries in time to hang during my November show at the gallery I belong to.
It’s gonna be close.