Looking at color, shape, line and pattern:
How does O’Keeffe create a natural harmony between church and nature in Ranchos Church, No. II, N.M.? The artist often used curvilinear forms and rounded shapes. Look at the lines and shapes of the building. Do you see any patterns?
Through the treatment of the sky, contours of the church, and tonal changes in palette, O’Keeffe evokes emotional states. What is the mood of this image? How do the colors, shapes and contours contribute to that feeling?
O’Keeffe’s technique of magnifying forms and eliminating detail to focus on a single motif is evident in Ranchos Church, No. II, N.M. Analyze the painting and describe what subject matter and details are noticeable. What clues does O’Keeffe provide to illustrate when or where this composition was painted?
Given O’Keeffe’s fascination with indigenous architecture and the Southwest, collect pictures from magazines or newspapers that depict buildings or images of the desert landscape or hot and dry climates. Have students share their findings with the class. How do these images generate ideas for expository writing? Drawing on their found images, have the students write a short story or paragraph.
Making connections with your community:
Georgia O’Keeffe was fascinated with architecture and its relationship to the landscape, specifically in the places where she lived, New York City and the Southwest. Ranchos Church, No. II, N.M. depicts a church in Taos, New Mexico. Plan to visit a church or other religious building in your town and compare it to O’Keeffe’s image. How does the design of the architecture reflect where you live? Think about materials and space that are used and how these might reflect climate, location, and geography of your area.
Suggestions for critical thinking: urban (New York) vs. rural environments (Southwest); tall structures vs. more expansive structures; materials such as glass, steel and brick vs. clay, stucco and adobe.