November 15 ~  Down the Same Drain O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch

"I get out my work and have a show for myself before I have it publicly. I make up my own mind about it--how good or bad or indifferent it is. After that, the critics can write what they please. I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free." ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe

As a child on a Sun Prairie, Wisconsin dairy farm, artist Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (1887-1986) knew she wanted to paint. After studying in Chicago and New York, she developed her style while teaching art in a small Texas town.

"I have things in my head," she explained, "that are not like what anyone has taught me...shapes and ideas so near to natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn't occurred to me to put them down..."

A woman of passion, by the age of 31 she had created a special abstract style unlike any other. O'Keeffe married her mentor Alfred Stieglitz, a photographer and gallery owner, and completed her first enormous flower painting in 1924.

"A flower touches everyone's heart," said this icon of early American modernism.

Inspired by the New Mexico desert where she lived, she called her enlarged plants and flowers "magical realism." Her beautiful, bold paintings, simple and sensual, are almost Oriental in their line and simplicity. She captured brilliance and light on canvas, painting how she felt rather that what she saw.

"I feel there is something unexplored about a woman that only a woman can explore," said O'Keeffe who thrived in isolation. A beacon of independence, she celebrated the wonders of Nature and created "the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it."

"Where I was born and how I have lived is unimportant," the famously opinionated artist once said. "It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest."

More ART & ARTISTS Quotations

Let confidence glow in your heart.