In Georgia's Mind
14 x 14 Oil Painting on Canvas
Click The Photo to see My Lightbox
At one time and for a very long time men dominated the artists
world. Georgia O’Keeffe not only carved out a significant place
for women painters in an area of the American art community
that had been exclusive to and is still dominated by men, but
also she had become one of America’s most celebrated cultural
icons well before her death at age 98 in 1986.
I admire Georgia O'Keefe and her beautiful style. Her freedom
of spirt shows in all of her work. She made a huge break
through for women in the art world. I want to pay a really
nice homage to her but wanted to keep the painting minimal
with impact and drama.
I found this great black and white photo by photographer
Alfred Stieglitz . He thought it would be fun to show those same
lovely hands at an older age, The photo was taken in 1966 as part
of a Life Magazine story by John Leongard.
Originally she was sitting on a bed but I wanted her to have
somewhat of a look of royalty so I thought this high back chair
would do the trick. Georgia loved to paint very large and very
close up on her subjects and expressed this technique all the
time with her abstract floral paintings. I think my impression
of her floral abstracts expressed the magnitude of her work.
Since I also decide to use her Black and White Rose for the floor
of the painting, I thought it would be great to leave Georgia
in black and white as in the photo, somewhat monochromatic.
Monochromatic: containing or using only one color:
Although this composition is not totally monochromatic I think
I captured the dramatic expression of the painting that I was going for
as my homage to Georgia O'Keefe.
I wonder though...what book is she holding in the photo?
Georgia O'Keeffe was born November 15, 1887, in a farmhouse
near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Her parents, Francis Calyxtus
O'Keeffe and Ida Totto O'Keeffe, were dairy farmers. Georgia
was the first female and the second of seven O'Keeffe children.
O'Keeffe attended Town Hall School in Sun Prairie. By age ten
she had decided to become an artist.
O'Keeffe first came to the attention of the New York art
community in 1916, several decades after women had gained
access to art training in America’s colleges and universities,
and before any of its women artists were well known or highly
celebrated. Within a decade, she had distinguished herself as
one of America's most important modern artists, a position she
maintained throughout her life.
Her abstract imagery of the 1910s and early 1920s is among the
most innovative of any work produced in the period by American
artists. She revolutionized the tradition of flower painting in the
1920s by making large-format paintings of enlarged blossoms,
presenting them close up as if seen through a magnifying lens.
In 1972, O' Keeffe's eyesight was compromised by, leading to the
loss of central vision and leaving her with only her peripheral vision.
She stopped oil painting without assistance in 1972,
but continued working in pencil and charcoal until 1984.
Juan Hamilton, a young potter, appeared at her ranch house in
1973 looking for work. She hired him for a few odd jobs and
soon employed him full time. He became her closest confidante,
companion, and business manager until her death. Hamilton
taught O'Keeffe to work with clay, and working with assistance,
she produced clay pots and a series of works in watercolor. In
1976, she wrote a book about her art and allowed a film to be
made about her in 1977. On January 10, 1977, President Gerald
Ford presented O'Keeffe with the Presidential Medal of Freedom
the highest honor awarded to American citizens. In 1985, she
was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
O'Keeffe became increasingly frail in her late 90s. She moved to
Santa Fe in 1984, where she died on March 6, 1986, at the age of
98. In accordance with her wishes, she was cremated and her
ashes were scattered to the wind at the top of the Pedernal Mountain,
over her beloved "faraway".