Friday, July 04, 2008

Georgia On My Mind

One advantage of being stuck in bed is having undiluted time to relish the luxury to read at leisure. Reese has kept a steady supply of various art books at the ready. As he was selecting a book to bring upstairs yesterday, he noticed that I have several books on Cezanne, several books on Monet, several books on Mary Cassatt...

When one likes a musician, for example, it's not uncommon to have in one's personal collection several albums (cd's) of the same artist. People who swoon over Elvis generally have more than one Elvis album in their collection. Same with The Beatles; a true Beatles fan has more than one album by the fab four. It's the same kind of thing with people who like certain artists...lots of books about one particular artist. Reese noticed this, and instead of bringing me a book of an artist I know and love well, he chose
Georgia O'Keeffe An Eternal Spirit by Susan Wright. I don't remember ever having read this book. Turning the page to the introduction, it said,
Early in 1915, when she was 28 and teaching art in South Carolina, Georgia O'Keeffe decided to take stock of her career. According to her friend Anita Pollitzer, the artist hung all of her paintings around her room and proceeded to go through a monumental self evaluation of her work. O'Keeffe by then had studied at several schools around the country under notable teachers of the time. She concluded that each one of her paintings was derivative of these influences and so destroyed every piece.

Destroyed every piece! I can relate. When I first started painting, I took 12 classes from a local art instructor. While I'm eternally grateful for someone showing me how to get started, in that short amount of time I was becoming someone else. I was painting the way the art instructor painted. I didn't want to be the next (insert teacher's name here.) I want to be the next Sarah Hazel, just like Georgia O'Keeffe wanted to be Georgia O'Keeffe, not a derivation of each art instructor.

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