Background and Influences
Georgia O’Keeffe was born in1887on a farm in Sun
Prairie, Wisconsin. After high school, she went to study
at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1912 she went to
Texas to teach high school art. Her methods were often
unconventional. She once coaxed a pony onto a table
so her class could draw him!
While she was living in Texas, O’Keeffe began
developing her artistic style. She eventually traveled to
New York to attend Columbia Teachers College.
Without her knowledge, a friend showed some her work
to Alfred Stieglitz. He was a famous photographer and
had an art gallery. He was so impressed with her work
that he included some in an exhibit. She was furious.
But, eventually the two became close friends and she
became part of his circle of artist friends when few
women artists were taken seriously. They later married.
In 1929, she visited a friend in New Mexico. This experience changed her life
and work. She fell in love with the atmosphere and colors of the desert. Objects
symbolizing her new world became her primary subjects. Sun bleached animal
skulls, flowers, hills and the desert sky just to name a few.
O’Keeffe would later move to New
Mexico permanently. During the
philosophies and growing women’s
movement made her very popular.
She died in 1986 at the age of 98
One of Georgia O’Keeffe’s favorite techniques was to monumentalize
small, natural objects like flowers and bones. She did this by enlarging
and cropping their shapes so they would fill a large canvas.
“I decided that if I could paint that
flower in a huge scale, you could
not ignore its beauty.”
1. Find a colored picture of a flower. Avoid roses and tiny composite type
flowers which are very difficult to draw.
2. On the provided page in your journal create 3 thumbnail sketches of possible
compositions. Remember to enlarge, crop and create negative shapes.
3. Get your composition approved.
4. Use a white colored pencil to LIGHTLY draw the basic shapes of your flower
on the black paper provided.
5. Paint the drawing using basic colors. You can paint some extreme lights and
darks but NO details yet.
6. After the paint is dry, add fine value changes and details using chalk pastel
7. Use a cover sheet to prevent smearing.
To see student samples
go to the gallery page on
my web site.