Mine.

 

loengardokeeffestonelarge

Photo by John loengard

“The river rafters competed with one another to collect unusual stones on their voyage, and Porter found a perfectly round, shiny black rock. He loved telling the story that O’Keeffe took one look and suggested he donate it to her windowsill collection. He refused, saying it was for his wife. The following Thanksgiving, O’Keeffe was invited to their home, and Eliot mischievously placed the rock in the middle of a black marble table in the living room. She not only spotted it, she sereptitiously put it in her pocket when she thought no one was looking. The porters did not know whether to be amused or annoyed. ‘I eventually confronted her with that, and she gave it back-not at all embarrassed,’ said Porter. On their next visit to her house, the Porters donated the stone to her collection. When she told the Life magazine photographer John Loengard that it was her favorite, he photographed it in the palm of her hand.”

Full Bloom – The Art and Life of Georgia O’Keeffe by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp

PS: Dear Georgia, this story is too wonderful not to share. I am wondering where that rock is now. i feel i need to find it and slip it in my pocket. but I am travelling to Hungary, Croatia & Bosnia in two days and will be collecting river rocks there for you instead. Love, A

 

Abstraction II

photo (1)

photo of Georgia O’keeffe’s Jack-in-the-pulpit vi, 1930 from o’keeffe by brita benke

 

Dear Georgia,

I was thinking today of your series of paintings of Jack-in-the-pulpits where you moved closer and closer to the spadix in each painting, until it is not recognizable for what it is yet it tells the whole story. In O’Keeffe by Brita Benke, Benke says:

“The absolute size of the object, its dimension, is concealed behind the relative size presented within the format of the picture, it’s proportion. O’Keeffe thereby reveals a reverence for all Creation, the same reverence which, according to Walt Whitman, makes no distinction between a leaf of grass and the stars in the firmament.”

In my acting training at Brooklyn College I learned that the sounds within some words hold the feeling, the spark of the word and the very sound itself can evoke the meaning held therein.

I have a desire to take this journey with you, starting at the outer edges and going in in in until we are not talking about you and me anymore but we are waltzing. There is no description necessary. Our breath holds the whole story.

For a very long time I was standing outside the door to your room, this Room Two, listening and hearing nothing inside, afraid to knock for fear I may disturb you. Then I felt one day that you opened the door and we were looking at each other face to face. And you said “yes?” and I rambled here’s what I would like to do, and here’s how and why and it all sounded so weird and fake to me but you left the door open and walked away so I walked in. Now we are here in this room together, and you are watching me trying to pin it down, make sense or explain all of it in some way…like I’m in a museum and I need to find the way to my heart through my eyes.

And your lesson is always the same. Sit and listen. Walk the dog. Make a salad. Paint, write, research. Clean the floors. Bring a sense of beauty to all that you can, and don’t explain yourself. Explaining can begin to sound like a lot of noise and this sky is way too big for all that noise. Just breathe. There is no separation between your breath and that sky.

Suddenly this is all seeming very real.

Love,

Alice

Thank you to my friend Debra for sitting down and telling me about her recent experiences in Abiquiu, her voice carrying the landscape and Georgia herself across the states to share with me.

 

 

 

Intention

Ghost Ranch

It’s my private mountain, God told me if I painted it often enough I could have it.

Dear Georgia,

I have been thinking about the wisdom of the phrase “keep coming back”, which I think is the message of your quote above. A sense of endurance and vision, without any guarantees but some kind of heart wisdom pulsing the truth. (Keep going.) Keep showing up. Keep on.

(You made that mountain yours by painting it)

When I was a little girl my father bought a mountain, which was auspiciously named Peter Mountain (my father’s name). He must have thought that mountain was destined for him too. And indeed it was. My father was like you. (artist capable of magic)

I’m realizing that doing anything in my life takes some kind of intention. I don’t even really have to believe that it is possible, I just have to know that I want to do it and why and then just keep coming back to that whenever I stray. When I was 22 I decided to do a semester abroad in Paris in the Spring. As soon as I decided and started looking at my options I found that I could go to Greece in the Spring, or Paris in the Fall, or Nice in the Spring, or Rome in the Summer. I considered each option and maybe I would have had a wonderful time going to any of these places, but I knew that I had a date with Paris in the Spring. So it became my kind of mantra: Paris in the Spring, Paris in the Spring, Paris in the Spring…

I see my husband doing the same thing now with our upcoming trip to Croatia, which is really his trip to Croatia that I am lucky enough to be a part of. His very cells are singing Croatia in September, Croatia in September…

Intention is important to my meditation practice lately. I sit down to rest, feel my body, relax my mind and pretty soon I am writing my next blog post, or finally making that point to my husband, or worrying over something that happened at work. My teachers in the Shambhala tradition tell me that’s ok. That is what our minds are trained to do (sort things out, find patterns, avoid danger) and all I have to do is realize I’ve strayed and come back…with gentleness, like training a puppy/come back to my intention. It’s not always easy but it is simple.

You are my mountain now, Georgia. If I conjure you often enough, will I be able to live you for a day? What will be the parts of you that become me? (flesh become flesh) (bread into fishes)

Love,

Alice

 

 

 

 

Dog & God

chows

Georgia O’Keeffe on Evening Walk with her Dog, Ghost Ranch, by John Loengard, 1966

This photo reminds me of this quote:

“It was a beautiful clear dark blue evening – high tide –  The sort of thing that makes you feel that the human gods we have invented are a real joke – that God is something too tremendous – so universal – that we poor humans can’t conceive of it – “

Page 374 My Faraway One

Needing Blue

Blue Lines 1916 (2)

Blue Lines 1916 Watercolor

This quote (below) is my first clue about where to begin and end and start again…stepping into the unknown and learning to recognize when it is time for blue. Oh lordy, I am feeling so afraid to make a mistake.

[In 1915] “I hung on the wall the work I had been doing for several months. Then I sat down and looked at it. I could see how each painting or drawing had been done according to one teacher or another, and I said to myself, “I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.” I decided to start anew – to strip away what I had been taught – to accept as true my own thinking. This was one of the best times of my life. There was no one around to look at what I was doing – no one was interested – no one to say anything about it one way or another. I was alone and singularly free, working into my own, unknown – no one to satisfy but myself. I began with charcoal and paper and decided not to use any color until it was impossible to do what I wanted to do in black and white. I believe it was June before I needed blue.”

Georgia O’Keeffe by Georgia O’Keeffe

Clear

[Meet this] moment to moment…mindfully,

open-heartedly in the present

where all that we seek is to be found.

-Stephen Levine

Idealist

Marilyn Monroe and Carl Sandburg by Arnold Newman_everythingsbeautifulhere

“I am an idealist. I don’t know where I am going but I am on my way.” – Carl Sandburg

Dear Marilyn,

I am dipping my toes back in the waters. I’ve been away for about two weeks, one week of travel and one of rest. I had the good fortune of the opportunity to dance at my mother’s wedding. My mother radiant and blessed.

Now it’s you and me again and I’m not sure where we are going. But it’s true we are on the way.

More soon,

Alice

Cut As Little As Possible

(Letter found taped to Marilyn’s tummy after anesthesia but prior to appendix surgery 1952)

Dear Dr. Rabwin,

cut as little as possible I know it seems vain but that doesn’t really enter in to it. The fact I’m a woman is important and means much to me.

Save please (I can’t ask enough) what you can – I’m in your hands. You have children and you must know what it means – please Dr Rabwin – I know somehow you will!

thank youthank youthank you – For God’s sakes Dear Doctor no ovaries removed – please again do whatever you can to prevent large scars.

Thanking you with all my heart.

Marilyn Monroe

Third-Rate

Learn

“I knew how third-rate I was. I could actually feel my lack of talent, as if it were cheap clothes I was wearing inside. But, my god, how I wanted to learn, to change, to improve.” – MM My Story

Things Fall Apart

david_misfits

There’s this…

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – MM

And this…

“When there is a great disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.” – Pema Chodron