Georgia O’Keefe was born outside my hometown of Madison Wisconsin in 1887.  She lived there until 1902. I recently went to Madison to visit family and friends. On the 6 plus hour long drive home to Saint Louis, I was surrounded by clouds that made me feel like I was in the  twenty-four foot long Georgia O’Keefe cloud painting at the Chicago Art Institute.

 

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The blue sky was filled with layers of white cotton clouds lined up in orderly rows from the distant horizon I was driving towards, over my head to behind me on the horizon I had come from.

 

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Although this painting is Georgia’s perspective of  clouds from inside an airplane, I felt as if I were below the same clouds.

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The flat, usually very boring, landscape was filled with a sky of clouds and land of green corn. It was beautiful and magical.  And to add to the joy were the stretches of ever increasing wind farms.  One wind farm has 63 wind turbines that power over 13,000 homes.

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The clouds made me think of Georgia O’Keefe.  Then I started thinking about her flower paintings and how she looked at flowers.  I started thinking about my own flower photographs and how I look at flowers whose beauty amazes me. I know there is an influence of Georgia O’Keefe as I look at flowers.

 

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There are quotes from Georgia about flowers, ” When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, its your world for that moment.”  and “Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”  Georgia took the time to see, and what she saw and painted gave us new eyes to see.

 

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It’s the light at the edges that she saw the best.  The dance of the edges as the line of a flower petal dances against the background of a petal or leaf.  I see that dance in the petals of a peony flower. Most likely the small ant (look closely) is dancing on his journey through those petals.

 

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Georgia saw the dance in a camellia’s petals.

 

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I see the dance at the edge of an orchid petal.

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And Georgia saw it on the frilly edges of a white orchid.   She saw the dance of light as it defined the edges and changed within each shape.  Whether flowers, mountains, water, land or sky scrapers; she saw the light at the edges and gave us a new way to see.

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4 Responses to Georgia On My Mind

  1. Monica says:

    Beautiful! Those clouds are powerful. And I loooove Georgia O’Keefe! I recently saw an exhibition of her work here in San Francisco at the De Young Museum. I went around to each painting twice. XOXO Monica

  2. Mary K. McCanna says:

    Beautiful and thought provoking, Linda.
    I’ll be spending more time looking at clouds and flowers with a deeper awareness today. 🙂 Thank you!
    Walking over to do some gardening for my friend, Sarah, who has cervical cancer. . . . . speaking of Georgia O’Keefe, whose artwork depicting flowers and their parts often reflects parts of female sexuality. Love, MK

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