Over the holidays, I traveled to Santa Fe in New Mexico and did what every tourist does: visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
I have great respect for her as an artist, but I’m most fascinated with O’Keeffe the woman. I spent my time looking at photographs of her, not her art. My favorite was, “Georgia O’Keeffe With Cheese,” where she holds a piece of Swiss up to her eye like a camera lens. She exudes a sense of assuredness that I find so alluring. You can tell from her face that she’s really lived. Here are a few things I took away from her story:
1. Don’t be afraid to pack-up and move somewhere different
“Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”
After living in New York City for 30 years, O’Keeffe finally had enough with the stifling art scene, not to mention the stifling living quarters and personal interactions. So she moved to New Mexico, where the sky and her personal creativity were boundless.
2. Forget what you learned in school
“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.”
It wasn’t just the art scene in New York holding her back, but also the restraints of a traditional art education.
3. Don’t let anyone tell you “No”
“I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.”
Especially men! ;)
4. Being alone is awesome
“I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then.”
The first time O’Keeffe lived alone also marked the beginning of an entirely new style of artistic expression for her. Not a coincidence!
5. Invest in a black bolero hat
I mean, she just looks so badass…