Friday, June 8, 2007

Georgia O'Keeffe and her Memories

I just finished reading "Some Memories of Drawings" by Georgia O'Keeffe, edited by Doris Bry. There are several plates of charcoal drawings by O'Keeffe with her own commentary. I decided to start with this book because it is small and I thought it might attract me a little more to O'Keeffe.

Here's a site that has a blurb about the book and some images of works in the book.

I'm glad I read the commentary. For one thing, there are some drawings in there that don't, by themselves, grab me. For example, there are a few plates of her "river" drawings (which apparently became paintings). They are from the era when she traveled the world and was viewing rivers cutting across deserts from an airplane. Had I not read this and thus understood the context, I would have said "Dr. Seuss at least told rhyming stories with his pictures of long meandering lines." But, I guess now, I do appreciate more of what she was trying to convey.

The first plate is of a few blue lines, entitled, "Blue Lines." (The first picture here, the work on the right hand wall is Blue Lines.) I was encouraged to read that she did several versions of this in different media and colors before she arrived at the final version. But otherwise, it just didn't speak to me.

On the positive side, she had a drawing of a lady sleeping. (Called Abstraction IX here.)Quick simple lines and shapes. That really interested me. I've always been fascinated with the pursuit of capturing a person in as few quick lines as possible. She did it there, particularly well. Something I hope to practice this month. Hence, the drawing above. It was also partially inspired by her attempt to draw a headache (Plate V Drawing Number 9 here).

There was also a portrait plate. It was realistic in style. (Here's another portrait of the same man by O'Keeffe.) So, she did have talent for realistic work, even if she didn't value it.

And as a parting funny, my little drawing above I did on tracing paper and kept folding new parts over to try and trace the lines better or in a different medium. I had to laugh when I saw this:

So often the person we are most frustrated with is the one in the mirror!


Katherine said...

Love the simple drawings - you are so going to enjoy Notan!

Rose Welty said...

Katherine, Thanks for the links, I'm on it!

Robyn said...

Fascinating posts, Rose - very stimulating. I'm inspired to do more work. I love that O'Keeffe pastel portrait.