O’keeffe Whispers

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“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 O’Keeffe

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“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.”
― Georgia O’Keeffe

This coming October, I intend to display a collection of my floral prints inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings of flowers. I’ve included various pieces from my collection of flowers in this post as a way to help me select which images to print and include in the exhibition. Some of the images I’ve chosen for this post are among my favorites in this particular collection of my photographs.

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I am also exploring a new way of displaying my photographs that I think will be a hit.  It is a new process that will make my images appear three dimensional and involves a new printing technique.  I did a recent test print of a city scape and it worked well, and Tom and I both felt that it is a great format for displaying photographs of flowers.

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My interest in flowers began with the beautiful pink hibiscus that decorate the pool area of my apartment. I used them as models to explore aperture settings. I quickly became forever addicted to the pink hibiscus which is my favorite flower. The hibiscus reverberates nostalgic memories of my childhood when I would pluck red hibiscus to suck their nectar. Yes, they are sweet.  There is something special about the pink hibiscus for me. It reminds me of Florida, and I expect to find it on the vintage art associated with cigar boxes, and posters of  old Florida.

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My passion for the hibiscus, along with a visit to the Georgia O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, deepened my interest and admiration for the art of Georgia O’Keeffe. At the time of my visit, my granddaughter, Mallory, attended the Georgia O’Keeffe elementary school in Albuquerque. The school focused on art and it was there that I heard about the museum.

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Mallory was in school and couldn’t join us, but we took my youngest granddaughter Ella to the museum. Although I was disappointed in the museum itself, yet Georgia’s work was amazing. I felt the museum did not truly capture the spirit of the artist herself. In my opinion the museum should immerse you in an O’Keeffe experience like the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Florida does for Dali. The O’Keeffe museum merely provides a hidden glimpse of who Georgia O’Keeffe was.
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Tom is also a huge fan of O’Keeffe, and has been for years. Tom first encountered O’Keeffe’s art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where he was viewing an exhibit from Picasso’s Blue period. He was disappointed with the Picasso exhibition and as he exited the gallery room, he encountered a huge drawing of O’Keeffe’s cow skull and he instantly became a fan of her art.
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As a token to Tom’s past work as an architect, and the many hours he spent on inspecting drawings, and reading specs, I wanted to preserve some of his letter-blocking and favorite architectural drawings created in his early career. I sorted through collected drawings and chose a few to keep and frame. In his architectural stuff, I found a framed print of a Georgia O’Keeffe quote about drawing that one of his ex-wives had given him. I loved the quote. It spoke not only to Tom and his work, but to what happens to me when I draw. I decided to hang it up in the house, so it’s now in our kitchen, above a small framed O’Keeffe print I brought back from Santa Fe of one of O’Keeffe’s beautiful cow skulls.
____3718536My image of a white flower inspired by this Georgia O’Keeffe print.MOT_7810

 

I also found a fabulous collection of books, and in these Tom had a coffee table sized book of O’Keeffe’s flowers. He gave me that book, and like everyone else, I was immediately drawn to her red poppy, but it was the small print of a hibiscus that captivated me. I too became a fan.
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There are women who historically managed to gain notoriety for their actions, artistic accomplishments or their incredible sense of style. Then there are those who despite their accomplishments, are remembered best for being notorious, whether they meant to or not. Diana Veerland is in this club, as is Marilyn Monore, Frieda Kahlo, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

MOT_7819Georgia’s flowers are huge, and colorful and wonderful.

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They present a very feminine essence of nature, and in some of her paintings she seemed to place an emphasizes on their innermost private parts.

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I find something very sexual about Georgia’s flowers. She painted bright orange poppies, MOT_7916

and blue morning glories, beautiful Irises, and fabulous hibiscus!

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All of Georgia’s flowers appear to unravel their petals and expose themselves to the viewer.

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Her flowers bring forth a Soft eroticism.

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At times they appear orgasmic!  Oh Georgia, how daring of you! Flowers are after all, the sexual organs of plants, and by their very nature they invoke a certain magnetism. At the very least they draw the eye in. In this busy world we exist in, we need reminders of the beauty that surrounds us. Georgia said that when we look at flowers, we come in close to them to take in their scent, and we gently touch them to feel them, at times almost caressing them, and who hasn’t brushed their lips on a petal or two as we experienced their beauty. Flowers are more than eye candy, they are a sensual delight. I am convinced they evolved in this way to purposely draw our attention to the beauty that exists in the small little things along our way.MOT_7847

If she were alive today, I wonder what Georgia would do if  she’d never met a paintbrush and someone put a D300 in her hands instead.

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I think she’d shoot flowers, up close and very intimately . . . That thought inspired my shoot this weekend.

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Hollis Gardens, what a fabulous place! A friend of Tom, John Wallis, was the architect that designed these gardens for the City of Lakeland. They are very enjoyable. The rose gardens are among the most fragrant I have had the pleasure to enjoy. I was marveled.

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I wish you green dragonflies and roses on your journey.

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Mo

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