As always, these posts are for me as much as they are for you, a diary entry so I remember bits and pieces of my experiences and things that made me pause, think, reflect, inspire. I am, by choice in this great (and sometimes really trying city) and living here 22+ years I feel blessed to have seen really amazing shows across town.
I recently saw an intimate show of Georgia O'Keefe's drawings and studies at Museum of Modern Art.
It started off with a quote " Seeing takes time, like to have a friend takes time" this I feel in my being as truth!
It included lots of early work in charcoal, pastel watercolor and pencil, that were all studies in preparation for her oils. I am not enamoured with Georgia's paintings, but her work is interesting and she, as a person is inspiring. She was an independent woman, living off the grid in Abiquiu, New Mexico in the 1920's and permanently since 1949. Her spirit and work ethic were always intriguing to me and how meticulous she was about her work.
Years ago I read her biography- and still have that book, it's from 1980.. I am going to revisit during my august respite and see if it resonates as it did 20 some years ago. It's called "Portrait of an artist: Georgia O'Keefe" by Laurie Lisle
Seeing these studies show mastery of each technique she decided to take up.
Charcoals in some cases were so saturated that paper resembled velvet.
This piece was so lovely- a train coming through smoke in Texas from 1916.
These watercolors were series of 5, starting with a very busy composition, to the very deliberate final result. I loved the reduction process in these. What captivated my attention was the paper quality. She saturated the paper with water which left amazing texture on the surface. This to me felt like a foreshadowing of the landscapes and layers that became her signature later in her oil paintings. I enjoyed the texture and how it plays against the seemingly "shallow" watercolor quality. These were from 1915/16.
She captured all the places where she lived and where she taught. Western Virginia, Texas, NYC, Santa Fe, as well as sketches from her travels.
I remember seeing her NYC oils from the 1920's and how she was painting the city from her apartment above. This sketch was so perfect in capturing the smog, the lines, the simplicity of NYC architecture. It is graphic, timeless and so telling about where we are, and what we are looking at.
I collaged 3 images together of a study of a curtain and an object. She carried that through pencil, charcoal and pastel.
These portraits were a surprise- but they show how versatile her hand and how exceptional her eye was. She carried the studies from pencil, charcoal and final small portrait was done in pastel.
Charcoals from her travels in the Caribbean- these are banana plants
Lastly, her pastels (and I don't get that jazzed by pastels in any form!) left me speechless. She had such command of this medium.
The colors, the detailing, the transparent quality of the orchid, and how it seems there is light behind it.. simply breathtaking.
I left feeling like I added another piece of the puzzle to this artist that I have been learning about for over 20 years. What a gift to be able to do that.