Ladder to the Moon

Ladder to the Moon1

3rd grade students examined the beautiful painting that Georgia O’Keeffe created at her home in New Mexico then created their own.


A long, homemade ladder used to lean against Georgia’s house at Ghost Ranch so that she could climb up onto the roof and gaze out at the vast desert landscapes. Sometimes she would even climb up there several times a day. At night she would climb up on the roof if she wanted to gaze and fall asleep under the stars.

In 1958, O’Keeffe painted Ladder to the Moon. The painting shows a handmade wooden ladder suspended in the turquoise sky. In the background is Mount Perdernal and a half moon. This painting was very similar to a picture taken of O’Keeffe and her surroundings at Ghost Ranch.


 In the picture, a large wooden ladder is leaned against an outer wall of a patio from where it rises up into the sky with the Pedernal Mountains in the background. Some say her immediate surroundings at Ghost Ranch were the inspiration of this piece of art. Others interpret the painting as a religious work. In Pueblo culture the ladder is used to symbolize the link between the Pueblos and cosmic forces. The fact that the ladder is pointed up in the sky may represent the link between nature and the cosmos.


Studio Session One
First, students were read the
Georgia O’Keeffe  The Artist in the Desert  
by Prestel Publishing
This delightful book is filled with great visuals of Georgia and her wonderful works of art.
Then, students painted analogous colors- colors next to each other on the color wheel- using vivid watercolors on watercolor paper.
Let Dry.
Session Two
Students added pieces of torn paper layered to 
resemble the desert landscape


Next, students created their personal version of wooden ladders
Moons were also added 
Crescent, Half or Full Moon to name a few.

Oil Pastels stars were added high in the sky



Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your beautiful night time sky where ever you may be!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    November 5, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Amazing and beautiful !

  • Reply
    Mary Lee
    November 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

    What a great project and beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Another terrific O'Keeffe lesson! Pinning!

  • Reply
    Christie - Fine Lines
    November 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I like taking a look at this aspect of O'Keeffe's life – (it also reminds me of Eric Carle's “Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me:))

  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Oh. My. Gosh. These are beautiful!

  • Reply
    The Dol
    January 10, 2014 at 2:52 am

    I just finished this project today with my daughter's Montessori 4/5/6 class (I'm the Art Mom). Thank you so much for the wonderful inspiration! Their paintings came out so gorgeous!!!

  • Reply
    Martha Butcher
    March 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    I was searching for another lesson when i came upon this one. This could be perfect for my 5th graders close to the end of the year! It is cross curriculum based and fairly simple to achieve beautiful results! Thanks for the images and the background of O'keef's Ladder painting.

  • Leave a Reply