Georgia O'Keeffe has been one of my great muses for many years. She is a polestar in my life as an artist. I deeply admire her for her devotion to her art and for her courage, resilience and powerful sense of self.
In my new painting, "Portrait of O'Keeffe (in absentia)", I pay tribute to my muse. I arranged natural objects important in her life and work. The iris and the shells are subjects in many of her paintings. But why the stones? Well, O'Keeffe was famous for loving and collecting (some say rapaciously) stones. She placed her collection of stones throughout her homes and properties. A famous story -- perhaps a tiny bit exaggerated -- tells of a trip she took with Ansel Adams. He discovered a perfect river stone and O'Keeffe begged him to let her have it. He refused (I assume with humor and a touch of mischief?) and took it to his house. Years later, he visited O'Keeffe and noticed HIS stone amongst her collection. She had pinched in while on a visit to his house and was not the least bit ashamed about being discovered.
I had O'Keeffe in mind when I created the composition. Her own compositions are strong, direct, clear and forthright -- like her own spirit. And so I strove to capture some of that strength (and the beauty found therein) in my own painting.
"Portrait of O'Keeffe (in absentia)"
Oil on Linen
12 x 12"
By Elizabeth Barlow