Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Favorite Artist #3 – Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia Totto O’Keeffe (09/15/1847 – 03/06/1986), a feminist in her day; considered a “modernist” by some, and most certainly an original. One of the few artists whose career was celebrated before her death at age 98 in 1986.

Born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin where she experienced the flamboyance of nature firsthand, she chose to represent nature as an insect might observe it in gigantic proportions. As a self-made naturalist, she liked to examine the intricate parts of nature responsible for life, for attracting insects, and where the color and detail were centered.

Later she dissected these parts into rainbow colored splashes of paint in curving, sweeping gestures. These abstracts drew as much attention as her floral paintings.

At the height of her popularity, O’Keeffe moved to Northern New Mexico and claimed the American Southwest as her home. This part of the nation has become known as “O’Keeffe Country.”

The sights in and around the Southwest were seen on her palette: the reds and browns of the desert, the blockie shapes of the rocks and hills, the adobe churches, the flora and fauna of the desert floor. Nothing missed her gaze. And everything she painted drew attention from art critics and an adoring public who appreciated the simple things she celebrated.

"Flash Dance" by Carol Allen Anfinsen

I’ve interspersed some of my paintings with hers. It is obvious her artwork had an influence on me. From my “Flashdance,” the orange hibiscus turning and burning in the sun, to the giant yellow flower “Hibiscus Glory,” the focus is always on the center of life and energy.

"Hibiscus Glory" by Carol Allen Anfinsen

O’Keeffe well deserved the accolades she received. Some day I may try an abstract piece and it may reflect her influence. Stay tuned!

"Blending In" by Carol Allen Anfinsen