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 me...so 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.