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Major art exhibition - a culmination of my quest to find and radically re-interpret Georgia O'Keeffe’s iconic landscapes of New Mexico.
Major art exhibition - a culmination of my quest to find and radically re-interpret Georgia O'Keeffe’s iconic landscapes of New Mexico.
111 backers pledged £20,186 to help bring this project to life.

About

Looking for Georgia: Painting Georgia O'Keeffe Country project video thumbnail
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Looking for Georgia: Painting Georgia O'Keeffe Country

£20,186

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I’m raising funds to finance a major London exhibition in 2019 - the culmination of a two year project involving Georgia O’Keeffe, New Mexico and me.

the story so far ...

TWO WOMEN ARTISTS DIVIDED BY TIME AND GEOGRAPHY, UNITED BY THEIR LOVE OF THE DESERT - THE QUEST 

Two women artists at different points in history, living on different continents, pitching themselves against the same dramatic and magnificent wilderness of New Mexico with only their own particular techniques as tools...

The legendary Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) needs no introduction. 

I most likely do. I am both a landscape painter and an art historian fascinated by the phenomenon of this iconic American artist and her idiosyncratic interpretations of the landscape of New Mexico.

I've been a painter of wilderness for many years. I interpret it in a complex mixed media technique involving combining pigments with plaster, resin, wax and other unconventional materials to create textured surfaces evocative of the look and feel of the landscapes I observe around the world.

In my Chocolate Factory Studio in London N16
In my Chocolate Factory Studio in London N16

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE AND HER PAINTINGS OF NEW MEXICO - THE QUESTION

In late 2016 I stood amongst her colourful paintings of New Mexico desert at the exhibition “Georgia O'Keeffe” in London's Tate Modern and I asked myself: 

to what extent did her paintings represent the true character of that landscape?

It was perhaps inevitable for me to eventually travel to the country Georgia O’Keeffe called “my backyard” to check it out for myself.

NEW MEXICO IN SEARCH OF GEORGIA - THE JOURNEY

What would it be like to find myself in a landscape so thoroughly appropriated by another, much celebrated artist ?

What did O’Keeffe respond to, what did she leave out?

How would our different methods serve the character of the land? 

How important is it to know a place well in order to paint it well?

Fired up by these questions and after months of preparation, I finally realised my ambition in September 2017 when I packed a pair of sturdy shoes, a hat, a sketchbook and a camera and set off to New Mexico in search of Georgia.

My itinerary took me to Santa Fe where I familiarised myself with the art of the Native American Indians, whose colourful and bold creations influenced the look of much of O'Keeffe's work. 

I then travelled further North to Taos where Georgia, fleeing a cheating husband, first discovered Northern New Mexico on a visit to a friend in 1929. 

Then West to Abiquiu, the quintessential Georgia O’Keeffe country, where the artist set up two different homes, one right there in the town of Abiquiu, another further North in Ghost Ranch, Northern New Mexico.

This is the region so redolent of O'Keeffe's paintings, the 'badlands' as she called them: hills striated in bands of red, ochre and orange; white cliffs and pinnacles of the 'Plaza Blanca'; dramatic black and grey undulations of the 'Black Place'; cottonwood trees meandering along the Chama River, and above all, the iconic Mesa Pedernal - flat-topped mountain which was to O’Keeffe what Mont Ste Victoire was to Cezanne: it was "my mountain, if I painted it often enough, God told me I could have it.”

O’Keeffe’s beloved mountain, the Mesa Pedernal, in the heart of Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, visible from the artist’s home and studio
O’Keeffe’s beloved mountain, the Mesa Pedernal, in the heart of Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, visible from the artist’s home and studio
Red Hills, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico where O’Keeffe often parked her Ford car to paint out of the back window
Red Hills, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico where O’Keeffe often parked her Ford car to paint out of the back window
The Rio Chama, flanked by cottonwood trees, bordering on Ghost Ranch and often painted by O’Keeffe
The Rio Chama, flanked by cottonwood trees, bordering on Ghost Ranch and often painted by O’Keeffe

O’Keeffe spent nearly sixty years of her long life living in, observing and painting that land, working in isolation, away from the artistic hub of New York, forging her way towards abstraction and eventually achieving the status of the most celebrated American female artist of all times.

FINDING GEORGIA - THE LESSONS 

Riding in the desert in full view of the Mesa Padernal
Riding in the desert in full view of the Mesa Padernal
Standing before the majestic Plaza Blanca (The White Place as she called it) where Georgia often walked and painted
Standing before the majestic Plaza Blanca (The White Place as she called it) where Georgia often walked and painted

It was immensely moving and inspiring to follow in the footsteps of the great American painter. I learned a lot by looking at and sketching the very locations where she lived, walked and painted and directly comparing them to her paintings. I was struck by the degree to which O’Keeffe simplified forms and colours, preferring an abstracted design of smooth shapes, painted in oils on modestly sized canvas.

Not least, the environmental changes to the desert since her days, were plain to see. To this day Georgia's 'backyard' suffers from recurring and long lasting droughts. It was the kind of insight you just don't get when looking at her work out of context, in a book or an art exhibition.

Ghost Ranch guide identifying a very specific location painted by Georgia O'Keeffe
Ghost Ranch guide identifying a very specific location painted by Georgia O'Keeffe

What I saw deepened my understanding of and admiration for Georgia O’Keeffe’s achievement and contribution to early American Modernism.

But it also confirmed my longstanding conviction that a new, different, more robust interpretation might serve that most challenging of landscapes well.

BACK IN MY STUDIO: THE CHALLENGE 

Georgia O’Keeffe had made that landscape her own.

The task I am setting myself is to add to your perception and understanding of that land through my own vision and methods.

work in progress
work in progress

For an art historian committed to fostering the appreciation and understanding of art, this is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to you that there can be as many valid interpretations of the same subject as there are artists painting it. With every interpretation our appreciation of the subject is enriched and expanded.

a New Mexico panorama - studies of the landscapes I have seen
a New Mexico panorama - studies of the landscapes I have seen
Rocks in Ghost Ranch, 110x122cm mixed media with plaster, wax, resin and silver leaf on canvas 2018
Rocks in Ghost Ranch, 110x122cm mixed media with plaster, wax, resin and silver leaf on canvas 2018

The immediate challenge is to enrich my vocabulary of techniques to do justice to the visual richness and texture of New Mexico landscape.

To capture it I’m taking my experiments further to expand my already unconventional mixed media techniques. I mix pigments into plaster; use resin to trap sand, grit and mica; melt beeswax and experiment with rusting solutions, patinas, texture gels, embossing powders and endless glazes, varnishes and mediums.

 My method involves repeatedly building and reworking the painting, layer by layer. Below is my version of the Mesa Pedernal in 15 stages - note the changes in colour, texture and composition as I overlay my various media:

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THE EXHIBITION -  MY ULTIMATE GOAL

The project will culminate in an exhibition “Looking for Georgia” at London’s prestigious Mall Galleries W1 in late February 2019 where I can finally share my work with you.

I am planning to fill that very large exhibitions space with a body of work that will do justice to the variety, grandeur and spirit of New Mexico .

A single installation of 30 different studies on paper, will offer a kind of panorama of the land, homing in on some of the very motifs once interpreted by Georgia O’Keeffe.

There will be other works: on panel, on canvas and on paper. Large single pieces as well as diptychs, maybe even triptychs. Complex and richly worked surfaces created by that special alchemy of my mixed media techniques which I’m enriching as I continue my experiments along the way.

YOUR INVOLVEMENT - WHY SUPPORT THIS PROJECT?

Because art must be seen in order to have a voice.
Because once it does, it will contribute something positive
to your life.

Kickstarter is not for everyone and there is no expectation for you to do any more than you are already doing by just being on this page.  Thank you so much for your interest.

Yet your support at this crucial stage will make it possible for me to bring this project to life. 

It will allow me to experiment more freely by using more specialised, often rare and expensive materials. It will also enable me to finance the hire of the Mall Galleries magnificent space.

Later, should my stated fundraising goal be exceeded (£19,000 for materials and Gallery Hire) your support will unlock some stretch goals, such as publishing a catalogue, framing my paintings and meeting all the usual costs of transport, insurance, labelling, publicity, invitations ..

Here is a candid run down of expected costs

  • Gallery hire £14,000 + Vat
  • Art materials, panels, canvases, paper approx £2200
  • Framing £1600
  • Catalogue £2000
  • Transport £300
  • Insurance £400
  • PR, Marketing, Advertising £2500
  • Invites, labels, signage £650
  • Hire of exhibition installation team £300
You get the picture ...

If that initial goal (£19,000 for gallery hire + materials) is not met in 30 days, your pledges will not be used. But nor will the project be funded and the exhibition ... well, let’s not even go there!

If the goal is met however, you can look forward to some nice rewards.

YOUR PLEDGES  - AND YOUR REWARDS

In return for your pledges, however small, all sorts of rewards await you which you might enjoy, such as signed prints, private guided tours for you and your guests of the National Gallery (where I have worked as a guide for over 30 years...), exclusive studio events, complimentary admission to my lecture on Georgia O'Keeffe, or first choice of a painting from the collection before the exhibition opens.

Pledge:

 £5 

  •  Regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project

£25

  • Regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
  • Pdf Copy of my Tips From Collectors' Homes - A Lighthearted Guide to the Do's and Dont's of Displaying Your Art 

£50

  • Regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
  • Pdf Copy of my Tips From Collectors' Homes - A Lighthearted Guide to the Do's and Dont's of Displaying Your Art 
  • 1 signed Lydia Bauman print from a choice of 4

£100   

  • Regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
  • Pdf Copy of my Tips From Collectors' Homes - A Lighthearted Guide to the Do's and Dont's of Displaying Your Art
  • Set of 4 signed Lydia Bauman prints.

£250 

  • Regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
  • Pdf Copy of my Tips From Collectors' Homes - A Lighthearted Guide to the Do's and Dont's of Displaying Your Art
  • Set of 4 signed prints
  • 1hr guided tour of the National Gallery for 2

£500 

  • Regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
  • Pdf Copy of my Tips From Collectors' Homes - A Lighthearted Guide to the Do's and Dont's of Displaying Your Art
  • Set of 4 signed Lydia Bauman prints
  • 3 exclusive studio soirees for behind the scenes viewings of work in progress
  • Small drawing from my New Mexico sketchbook
  • Tour of the exhibition + Georgia O'Keeffe lecture for 2

£2000

  • Regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
  • Pdf Copy of my Tips From Collectors' Homes - A Lighthearted Guide to the Do's and Dont's of Displaying Your Art
  • Your name listed amongst Sponsors in the Exhibition Catalogue
  • Gift set of 4 signed Lydia Bauman prints
  • 3 exclusive studio soirees for behind the scenes viewings of work in progress
  • Original work/s from the exhibition up to the value of £1500 
  • Tour of the exhibition + Georgia O'Keeffe lecture for 2

£5000 

  • Regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
  • Pdf Copy of my Tips From Collectors' Homes - A Lighthearted Guide to the Do's and Dont's of Displaying Your Art
  • Your name listed amongst Sponsors in the Exhibition Catalogue 
  •  3 exclusive studio soirees for behind the scenes viewings of work in progress
  • Gift set of 4 signed Lydia Bauman prints 
  • Painting from the Exhibition up to the value of £4000 
  • Tour of the exhibition + Georgia O'Keeffe lecture for 2 

£8000 

  • Regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project  
  • Pdf Copy of my Tips From Collectors' Homes - A Lighthearted Guide to the Do's and Dont's of Displaying Your Art
  • Your name listed amongst Sponsors in the Exhibition Catalogue
  • 1st choice of a painting up to the value of £8,500 before exhibition opens   
  • Tour of Looking for Georgia exhibition + lecture on Georgia O'Keeffe for 6 

Signed Lydia Bauman prints which you are offered, are from my series of New Mexico studies, printed on good quality 250gms paper.

Print 1: Red Hills, Ghost Ranch, Northern New Mexico
Print 1: Red Hills, Ghost Ranch, Northern New Mexico
Print 2: Mesa Pedernal
Print 2: Mesa Pedernal
Print 3: Chama River
Print 3: Chama River
Print 4: Desert Landscape, New Mexico
Print 4: Desert Landscape, New Mexico

British Landscape prints:

Your new £120 pledge reward - complete set of 4
Yorkshire Landscape with Viaduct
Yorkshire Landscape with Viaduct
 
Landscape with River, Sutherland
Landscape with River, Sutherland
Winter Landscape, Lincolnshire
Winter Landscape, Lincolnshire
Landscape with Low Lying Sun, Northumberland
Landscape with Low Lying Sun, Northumberland

                                     * * *

                   LOOKING FOR GEORGIA

I am so excited by this journey of personal and artistic discovery, I want         as many of you as possible to join me!

Thank you for your interest and your time. Together we can make it happen.

                                 Lydia


Risks and challenges

Preparing an exhibition is like any other creative process - full of potential stumbling blocks (days off sick; unexpected family events; the Muse going AWOL!) but I am so fired up by this project that I feel confident that all will go to plan - creating enough work and on time to fill the large space of the Mall Galleries. My challenge along the way is to experiment and discover new techniques capable of doing justice to the very unique spirit of New Mexico desert.

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    A big thank you !

    Thank you so much. We will keep you informed of every stage of the journey.

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    My Tips From Collectors' Homes

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    A signed art print from a choice of 4.

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    Set of 4 signed prints

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    4 British Landscape prints

    You receive four signed prints from my British Landscapes series. image size 30x30cm, print size 50x50cm. printed on high quality 250gms paper

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    1hr tour of the National Gallery for 2

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    Early Bird :3 Studio Soirees + drawing

    Thank you for your most generous Early Bird contribution!

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    • a gift set of 4 signed Lydia Bauman prints.
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    • Small drawing from my New Mexico sketchbook
    • 3 exclusive studio soirées for behind the scenes viewings
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    Early Bird Silver Patron

    Thank you for choosing to become an Early Bird top tier supporter for my project!

    Includes:
    • Your name listed amongst Sponsors in the Exhibition Catalogue
    • a gift set of 4 signed Lydia Bauman prints.
    • tour of Looking for Georgia exhibit + lecture on O'Keeffe for 6
    • Tips From Collectors' Homes pdf
    • regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
    • 3 exclusive studio soirées for behind the scenes viewings
    • Gift of a painting in the exhibition up to the value of 1750
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    Gold Patron

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    Includes:
    • Your name listed amongst Sponsors in the Exhibition Catalogue
    • a gift set of 4 signed Lydia Bauman prints.
    • Tour of the exhibition + Georgia O'Keeffe lecture for 2
    • Tips From Collectors' Homes pdf
    • regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
    • 3 exclusive studio soirées for behind the scenes viewings
    • Gift of a painting from the exhibition up to the value of £4000
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    • Your name listed amongst Sponsors in the Exhibition Catalogue
    • tour of Looking for Georgia exhibit + lecture on O'Keeffe for 6
    • Tips From Collectors' Homes pdf
    • regular Newsletter updates on the progress of the project
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Funding period

- (29 days)