The artist worked on flower depictions throughout the 1920s but by the following decade was clearly on the look out for new methods of composition. She also produced Black Cross, New Mexico in which another item found within her career was suddenly thrust into a landscape painting. She enjoyed this perspective and viewers found it easier to consume these designs because everything was easily identifiable. Her over-enlarged flower depictions, however, lost any sense of context and would instead turn into purely abstract forms of colour and shape. O'Keeffe was always balancing the level of abstraction within her work, though colour was also key. Within Red Hills with Flowers, for example, warm tones are chosen for both the flowers and the landscape, providing a charming balance and consistency.
It is in and round her New Mexico home that the artist would find these rich colour schemes. She felt a real connection betwen her local area and the colours of paint that she would use within her work. It was as if she lived in a location entirely suited to Modernist work, in a similar way to how Catalonia had inspired the likes of Dali, Miro and Gaudi. She had found inspiration earlier during her time living in New York, creating a number of stunning cityscape paintings, but it could never compare to her happiness within New Mexico, where nature was at every turn and a whole new series of work was inspired, over a period of many years. Her relocations had the added benefit of breathing new life into her career each time she went somewhere different.
"...All the earth colors of the painter's palette are out there in the many miles of badlands. The light Naples yellow through the ochers - orange and red and purple earth - even the soft earth greens..."
Red Hills would appear many times within her career, but this specific artwork can be found in the collection of the Chicago Art Institute, alongside a number of other works from this artist. Colour was a key aspect of the Modernist movement in general, and O'Keeffe loved to make use of items in and around her home. She often walked around looking for inspiration, finding it in leaves strewn by the sides of Lake George, and also here in New Mexico with animal bones plus the natural landscape that we find here. Other examples include Red Hills and Bones, Red Hills with the Pedernal and also Red Hills Grey Sky. You will notice how the hues remain consistent throughout, as she utilises what she has directly on her doorstep and simply experiments with different arrangements of locally sourced views and items.