Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired video project (working title: “The Faraway Nearby”)

Among other things, I created this blog in order to document a project that I will be working on over the next several months: a music/animation/video piece inspired by the life and work of painter Georgia O’Keeffe and her relationship to New Mexico and the American southwest. I’m honored to have been awarded an Entrepreneurial Grant from the New England Conservatory Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department to help fund this project. NEC President Tony Woodcock will be my project advisor.

During the last year, I’ve composed an orchestral tone poem (“From the Faraway Nearby”) and two chamber pieces (“Into nowhere” and “To Create One’s Own World”) inspired by O’Keeffe’s paintings and her artistic sensibility. This video will allow me to delve more deeply into her compelling vision of the southwestern landscape, and will present my music in a new medium (specifically, the first movement of my chamber ensemble piece “Into nowhere”, which I’m using as the score to the video). I aim to explore the expressive possibilities of the intersection of visual and musical art, combining stylistic elements of music video, musical tone poem, animation, and documentary film.

I will be traveling in northern New Mexico during the next two weeks to visit, research and film of some of the sites in which O’Keeffe immersed herself. On the itinerary: Ghost Ranch, where she lived and where many of the views she painted still exist; various other sites in and around Abiquiu and Taos, including San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos and the mysterious “Black Place” northwest of Ghost Ranch; and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, which is hosting an exhibit of her abstract works.

Stay tuned for entries including photos and videos of my pilgrimage into the heart of “O’Keeffe Country”!

UPDATE: The video is finished! See below for a summary of entries covering the filming, editing, premiere performance and other topics related to this project.

Day 1: Denver to Taos; the road to the D.H. Lawrence Ranch; San Francisco de Asis Church

Day 2: “Abstraction” at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum; arrival at Ghost Ranch

Day 3: Ghost Ranch and vicinity; the White Place

Day 4: Tour of O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu home; 1977 documentary

Day 5 & 6: Return to the White Place; Pedernal with storm clouds; a break in Santa Fe; more at Ghost Ranch

Day 7: Last day of filming; the Black Place

Editing and animation of “The Faraway Nearby” in progress

“The Faraway Nearby” premiere and recording session

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