Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe
“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”
My 2013 Reading Program included “Portrait of an Artist – A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe” by Laurie Lisle. I wanted to explore the creative process, to get a glimpse into how an artist thinks, feels, plans and executes.
Georgia O’Keeffe transformed the way we understand the artistic endeavours of women. Her work was dramatic, full of colour and challenged the status quo. Recognized as the “Mother of American Modernism,” she was only twelve when she knew she would be an artist. And it seemed the universe complied with her wishes, orchestrating the experiences, the mentors and connections that pushed her vision forward. Known for her flower canvases and south-western landscapes, she became one of America’s most significant and successful artists.
Born in a Wisconsin farmhouse is 1887, she was a contemporary of Helen Keller (1880-1968), poet Edith Sitwell (1887-1964), writer Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976) and women’s activists Alice Paul (1885-1997) and Jeannette Rankin, (1880-1973).This was a time of opportunity for women, simply because they demanded a voice. Her journey from a small rural community to New York City to New Mexico is filled with a mixture of laughter, excitement, poignancy and acceptance.
“I think it’s so foolish for people to want to be happy. Happy is so momentary–you’re happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.”