Monday, June 11, 2007

Georgia O'Keeffe Month: Cactus and quotations

Cactus #1
8" x 8", coloured pencil on Arches Hot Press
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
"Nothing is less real than realism...details are is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things"
Georgia O'Keeffe 1976 unpaginated text
I'm having a small diversion to do macro images of cacti - which I've been wanting to do for some time. In part it's about trying something a little different in terms of simplifying images before I return to the flowers. Interestingly, although she lived in New Mexico I haven't found that she took any interest in images of Cacti.

Above and below I've included some quotations from Georgia O'Keeffe which I copied down when I visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe last year. (See also "22nd July: Santa Fe and Georgia O'Keeffe" in my Travels with a Sketchbook in.... blog
"Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest"

"One paints what is around"

"I paint what interests me and what I see"

Georgia O'Keeffe
Other quotations I found in the book I bought ( Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Collections (Hardcover) by Barbara Buhler Lynes ) include:
"A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower - the idea of flowers. You put out your hand to touch the flower - lean forward to smell it - maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking - or give it to someone to please them. Still - in a way - nobody sees a flower - really - its is so small. So I said to myself - I'll paint what I see - what the flower is to me but I'll paint it big and they be surprised into taking time to look at it - I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I make of flowers"
(In Georgia O'Keeffe 1976, unpaginated text accompanying entry 23)"
I guess the issue for me is how big am I going to go in producing images this month..........
"I have but one desire as a painter - that is to paint what I see, as I see it, in my own way, without regard for the desires or taste of the professional dealer or the professional collector. I attribute what little success I have had to this fact. I wouldn't turn out stuff for order, and I couldn't. It would stifle any creative ability I possess..... "Women don't make good painters", they said. I had never thought of it that way. I just painted that was all"
( Georgia O'Keeffe in B. Vladimir Berman "She Painted the Lily and Got $25,000 and Fame for Doing It! Not in a Rickety Atelier but in a Hotel Suite on the 30th Floor, Georgia O'Keefe(sic), New Find of Art World Sets Her Easel" New York Evening Graphic 12 May 1928 )
Do you concur with any of her views? Do any surprise you?



Jeanette said...

I love this intimate view of the cactus Katherine, the colours and softness are wonderful.

I think Georgia was a smart artist. Paint to please yourself may not always put groceries on the table but it does go a long way to ensuring that you will continue find enjoyment in the painting process.

Also, creating large images out of small objects forces people to examine them in a way they never have before.

Jo Castillo said...

This cactus is beautiful. Your soft touch really compliments it.


Katherine said...

Thanks - both of you :)

There's another cactus tomorrow. I have made a mental note to carry a notebook with me next time I'm in the glasshouses at Kew so that I can actually name them!

"JeanneG" said...

Very unusual and very nice. I took a couple pictures at my mom's house of a cactus in bloom. It's up pretty close if you are interested. I have been too scared to draw it. Lots of pricklies on it. Jeanne

Katherine said...

Jeanne - I have a really nice prickly one I want to do soon - once I've worked out how!

Chuck Law said...

I love the cactus drawing, Katherine ..wonderful pattern! It is a very interesting fact that Georgia never painted cactus. I never realized it until now.
I concur with O"keefe's ideas about so much it's embarrasing. A view she probably would have held in disdain! It seems only lately in life that I'm starting to gain a little of that strength ( and protectiveness )of character that I find so admirable in the artist. Her quote " I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to." so often comes to my mind when trying to decide what and how to paint. I also like that she remarked on getting married as being akin to losing a limb! And finally ( I'll stop with this one) I love the story of her awakening house guests and and urging them up to the roof of her home in Ghost Ranch. Telling her bleary eyed friends.. you must see the dawn, it will never be quite like this again! I love her deep appreciation of the natural world, both large and small...I understand it. I tried once to rouse visiting friends to see the sunrise when I lived over by the ocean...they thought I was crazy!
Anyway, I did an iris painting with your blog/O'Keefe in mind. Wasn't sure how to send you the link. Posted it on my blog Saturday.

Katherine said...

Great comment Chuck! I'll link to your wonderful iris tomorrow. For those who can't wait it's here

Katherine said...

Oh - that didn't quite work.

Chuck's iris

Robyn said...

Your cactus is a beautiful diversion, Katherine it focuses me not only on the structural beauty of this particular plant but the patterns nature paints everywhere, even in the reflections on water.

Of all the quotes you've featured from Georgia O'Keeffe the one that amused me most was her apparent denial of the sensual intent of some of her work.

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