Saturday, August 17, 2013

GEORGIA ON MY MIND: In Homage to George O'Keeffe

All On a Summer's Day (copyright Judy Westergard)
   It's funny, isn't it, how things come together. About three years ago my husband and I took a road trip to New Mexico. We visited Ghost Ranch and a couple of days later spent several hours at the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. I had seen a few pieces of her work in various museums over the years, but this was the first time I'd seen such a large collection in one place.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when, in a (rare) fit of cleaning my studio, I came across the catalog of her work I had purchased at the museum. I spent the next hour paging through those glorious reproductions, peering at them closely with a magnifying glass, searching for more images on my iPad. What is it that made those close-ups of flowers come alive for me in ways that they hadn't before? I've always loved her work, but this time my reaction to it was visceral...even more so than when I saw the originals in New Mexico.
Into the Vortex (copyright Judy Westergard)
   A serendipitous discovery of a photograph by Minneapolis basketry artist and photographer Tressa Sularz inspired me to try something new. Tressa gave me permission to use her remarkable photo. 

I couldn't wait to buy some new canvases and get started.
   Half way through what became "Into the Vortex," I realized that the skills I'd learned in Marilyn Garber's botanical watercolor workshops and my deep study of O'Keeffe's paintings were somehow working together to loosen  my hand.
   "Into the Vortex" and "All On a Summer's Day" are the result; three more are in the works. I never realized how close, tight scrutiny could change the way I see things. Stay with me, Georgia. You're an amazing inspiration and I'm so glad to have "met" you!

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