Senior studio art student Jennifer Benitez drawing the New Mexico landscape
Senior studio art student Jennifer Benitez drawing the New Mexico landscape

CAD Students Visit Ghost Ranch Over Spring Break

Apr 16, 2019
Allison Lauricella

Written by Claudia Wilburn

This semester, professor Claudia Wilburn took a group of six students to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. This location is best known for being home to Georgia O’Keefe. Today, the ranch is managed by the Presbyterian Church and a retreat center. The trip took place over spring break. The group flew into Albuquerque, New Mexico, and traveled to Abiquiu the next day. During their stay, the participants traveled up the High Road to Tao, and through Jemez Springs on their journey to and from Albuquerque, with a stop in Santa Fe for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Ghost Ranch provided food and lodging for four nights. During their time on the main campus the students:

  • Went on a tour with a focus on the sublime landscapes painted by O’Keefe for decades
  • Hiked canyons, cliff tops and riverbeds
  • Sketched, photographed and found inspiration for future artwork
  • Enjoyed a campfire and stargazing in the vast New Mexico night
  • Went horseback riding and listened to local folklore
  • Received a private tour of the local museum and looked at dinosaur fossils under a microscope

The group also went on a few day trips to nearby locations: Plaza Blanca, Echo Amphitheater and the Abiquiu Reservoir. Students hiked up a mountain in Jemez Springs and lounged in a natural hot spring, filled their sketchbooks, and photographed landscapes and local plant life.

“The trip was a great experience,” said studio art junior Diana Quinones. “I was immersed in the beauty of cliffs and mountains, which inspired some of the artwork I created in other classes upon returning. I now have a new appreciation for the American West, and a few of my photographs from the trip made it into the Brenau Undergraduate Juried Exhibition this spring.”

The images included below are photographs taken during the trip and artwork inspired by the locations. Several pieces were created in traditional plein-air style.