Magazine files: Georgia O'Keeffe's nature-inspired vision

Artist Georgia O'Keeffe left more than paintings and other artwork for us to admire. Her artistic vision, born from her innate curiosity for the natural world, bequeathed future generations of creative thinkers with an endless supply of ideas with which to view the world.

You may have seen my recent post about my writing room, which includes a framed print of Georgia O'Keeffe riding on a motorcycle with a young gentleman. Looking at this photograph inspires me in so many ways: her innovative approach to painting makes me want to try new techniques in my writing, and the joy in her smile reminds me to enjoy the ordinary moments. Each time I look at the photograph, I come away with new thoughts.

I was reminded of this and more as I read a spread on this artist in the June 2007 edition of Western Interiors & Design magazine (whose April/May 2009 issue was its last), one of dozens of old magazines that I've collected. From time to time, I go through them and tear out articles and images that inspire me. I thought I might share with you the occasional clipping as a "magazine files" post in hopes that it may inspire you as well.

This particular spread was a joy to find because it features a couple photographs of the inside of one of Georgia O'Keeffe's homes in northern New Mexico, where I lived a few years early in my journalism career. For logistical reasons, I never got around to visiting her Abiquiu home, which is open for tours on a very limited basis.

The photos in Western Interiors show that this modernist painter furnished her house sparsely, choosing pieces from reknowned designers such as Saarinen and Noguchi. The magazine feature was published just as the Georgia O'Keeffe museum was celebrating its ten year anniversary and refining its vision.

For a video showing some of the stunning vistas that fed Georgia O'Keeffe's soul, go here. If you are interested in introducing a young child to this artists' work and life, I recommend "My Name is Georgia, a Portrait" by Jeanette Winter. The text is simple (though not simple enough for a four-year-old to understand everything) and the artwork is in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe herself and prompts many points of discussion with young children.


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