Mel Clarkston Art

Mel Clarkston Art


By. Mel Clarkston

Mel Clarkston

When in the presence of great art, it is difficult to not feel both a twinge of excitement and envy. Upon visiting the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, I felt both as I gazed at a woman’s life in pictures. To see how O’Keeffe’s work evolved over her long and storied life was inspiring, to say the least. Although the larger-than-life flowers in vibrant colors are what made her famous, the spontaneous sketches, small scale still lifes, and figurative nudes rendered in watercolor are all equally important tiles in the mosaic of this artist’s world. It captivates the imagination to think about all of the things that inspired O’Keeffe; the rugged terrain of northern New Mexico, the bleached bones of animals in the desert, the beautiful native flowers. How exciting it must have been for her to discover this raw and unspoiled land with the keen eye of an artist. She threw caution to the wind, donned men’s clothing and lived a life that was pretty much unheard of for a woman in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Holed up at her beloved Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, O’Keeffe drew from the land an inspiration that fueled a lifelong successful art career. This is a person that never really had to have a “day job”.The love affair with this place that started when she was a young woman never ended- the passion was still there when she passed on at the ripe old age of ninety eight.
Alas, that aforementioned twinge of envy rears its head. As an artist in the 21st century, is it possible to discover something absolutely fresh and unspoiled, as Ms. O’Keeffe did? Is it possible to render something in a way that is new to this jaded and ever changing world?

As an artist, it is my responsibility to at least try to do so. We can always find ways to transcend subject matter into something sublime, if we view it through new eyes. As creative beings, we owe it to ourselves (and posterity) to find our own Abiquius and Ghost Ranches to draw inspiration from.



About the Author
Mel Clarkston is a versatile visual artist and art teacher from El Paso, Texas. She and her husband James Clarkson own Clarkston Arts, Guitars & Gifts located at 407 E. Nevada Ave., El Paso, TX 79901

To learn more about Mel Clarkston please visit her online art gallery at: