Wideness and Wonder – the life and art of Georgia O’Keeffe by Susan Goldman Rubin is the story of one woman’s determined effort to do what she loved – create art. Packed with information and a rich collection of photographs and art reproductions this book opens the door on the artist’s entire life. When Georgia was in eighth grade she said she would grow up to be an artist. Closely tied to the land and her family, Georgia always worked to paint what she loved. Each image was a celebration.
At first Georgia tried to stay within the lines of “good art and technique.” It was fine, but it was also like everything else. It wasn’t until Georgia found a way to share her unique view with the world that her art sang. When she discovered her individual sense of expression and sought to share her own interpretation and arrangements of color, shape and form she knew she had found her true passion in life. She made sure each image captured how she felt. Georgia knew that, if nurtured, passion continued to grow and develop leading a person onward. “Success doesn’t come with painting one picture. It’s building step by step against great odds…Every year I have to carry the thing I do enough further so that people are surprised again.” These quotes, found on page 79 of the book, show how Georgia created and thought about sharing her work with the world.
Later in life, once her success assured that she could devote her life to creation, Georgia O’Keeffe moved on to painting the world as she saw it boldly, serenely, full of light and color for the sheer joy and pleasure of learning how she saw her world.
As I read Georgia O’Keeffe’s story I was amazed and thankful for her determined life. So many times it would have been easier to fade away into her family obligations – to care for her parents and her sisters. So many times it just would have been easier to pack up the paints and colored pencils to live a quiet life on the lake. We are so lucky she did not. We are so fortunate she did not allow her vision to be put aside until life became more settled and taking time to create was convenient.
It is important to share your vision with the world no matter how challenging that is. It is the only way our world becomes richer and full of possibilities – when we understand more than our own mind. What is your passion? What talents will you develop? How will you share your unique vision with the world? How are you and Georgia O’Keeffe alike? Read Wideness and Wonder and then let us know.