What attracted O'Keeffe to New Mexico as a leitmotif was the combination of the intense light, strong colours and the vastness of the landscape. She realized the limitations of black and white
photography, not just because of the inability to convey colour, but also because the intense light created deep and heavy shadows that diminished the clarity of the landscape forms.
Red Hills and White Shell shows O'Keeffe's awareness of the use of the circle and triangle by Wassily Kandinsky as 'something more than geometry'.
It is based on the hills and canyons around Ghost Ranch, which continued to be an important source of inspiration.
Known for the personal expressiveness of her works, Georgia O'Keeffe combined color, form, and feeling in her paintings. Her love of nature and the landscapes of the American Southwest led her to create works of great power that pay homage to these places and things. One work which seamlessly combines these is her Red Hill And White Shell, 1938.
In 1940 O'Keeffe succeeded in buying the property for her own use and she eventually purchased a disused Catholic mission further south of Ghost Ranch, where she settled permanently in 1949, after Stieglitz's death