Archive for July, 2013



Physical space.  You know the space in a room.  The space on a wall.  The space in a refrigerator.  The space on a counter.  

A region between.

An area set apart.

We’ve all heard people say, “That’s just wasted space.”  But is it?  Wasted?

Or is empty space simply being space? 

My reflections on this topic are not new.  But they have been reignited by my trip to Abiquiu, New Mexico, an hour outside of Santa Fe, and my tour through the home of Georgia O’Keeffe.  I love the spaciousness that abounds in her paintings, her sculpture, but I was not prepared for the spaciousness she created in her living area.  I don’t know why.  I guess I thought the way she lived day-to-day in her house would be different than the world of her artistic genius.  Wrong.  The woman lived her art.  Lived that simplicity, that elegance, that “less is more” principle.  And it is: more room to move, more air to breathe, more space to see what is in your view.

I am a person who values space for its own sake.  I think that’s why I moved to the southwestern United States.  Northern Arizona.  Wide open spaces.  In my home, too, I like open spaces in a room, a refrigerator, on a wall, a counter.  But it seems hard to achieve.  I don’t know why.  Consumerism?  Many areas of interest?  Needing things close at hand?  Wanting to remember travels with mementos, wall hangings here and there?  Whatever the reason, things accumulate, and I am always trying to pare down. 

However, since my visit to Georgia O’Keeffe’s home and the museum in Santa Fe that bears her name and exhibits her work, I have been newly inspired to create some of that space in one room in my house—my writing room.  So, I removed six wall hangings, including a large whiteboard and a bulletin board, stored them away, puttied and painted over holes and scratches. I cleared off the tops of bookcase, antique secretary, and table.  I had brought home two 11×14 prints of originals I viewed in the current exhibition, Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and The Land, for which I bought two lovely frames to compliment the images.  I framed the prints and hung them: Pedernal with Red Hills on the wall above the antique secretary, Black Place, Grey and Pink in the center of the longest wall, which has no furniture against it.  I took a larger print, 22×28, that I bought about four years ago at the O’Keeffe Museum, Abstraction Blue, to the local framer and am having it done simply in white.  I’ll hang that on a corner wall across from Black Place, Grey and Pink.  And that’s it!  The other three open spaces on the walls will remain just that—open spaces. 

Of course, I have furniture in this room: couch, writing desk, aforementioned bookcase and small antique secretary, and three short tables.  However, the efforts I have made to clear away stuff, and create open space have transformed this room!  I get such a sense of peace when I enter.  And it remains no matter where in the room I sit, or stand, or lie.  Of course, O’Keeffe’s art is an essential aspect of that peace.

It doesn’t take much to open up your space.  Inspiration and vision.

Thanks, Georgia!


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