O is for O’keeffe

Today in the A to Z Challenge

We are up to the letter O

I am taking the opportunity in this challenge to learn more about artists, their lives and work.

Today’s artist is Georgia O’Keeffeo'keeffe yellow cactus

Yellow Cactus, 1929

Georgia O’keeffe


delicate beauty

set for preservation

from gifted hands




Red Canna,  O’Keeffe, Georgia




Out Back of Marie’s

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)

Georgia O’Keeffe was born in Wisconsin, the second of seven children. As a child she received art lessons at home. Her abilities were recognized and encouraged by teachers throughout her school years. By the time she graduated from high school in 1905, O’Keeffe had determined to make her way as an artist. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1905–1906) and the Art Students League in New York (1907–1908), where she learned the techniques of traditional realist painting.

She first came to the attention of the New York art community in 1916. She is best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. She’s thought of as the creator of American Modernism. Well, I read the definition of moderism and I don’t get it. Sounds political, pursuit of happiness leanings but I’m not getting what that has to do with a style of art. If you do, please share. Anyway, her art is modern. And modern is what exists out side of the norm, that’s my definition. Maybe that is the long and the short of it.

Alfred Stieglitz arranged a show of O’keeffe’s work in his gallery in New York. He was the gallery (Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession) owner and a pioneer of artistic photography and his efforts gained critical recognition. So much so that he showed avante-garde european artists including Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, Henri Rousseau, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brâncuși, Francis Picabia and Marcel Duchamp.

O’Keeffe’s work was exhibited by Stieglitz. They got close, they had an affair (he was married), got a divorce, they married and continued with their separate lives. After a while she started spending every summer in Mexico.

Soon after 1918, O’Keeffe began working primarily in oil, a shift away from having worked primarily in watercolor in the earlier 1910s. By the mid-1920s, O’Keeffe began making large-scale paintings of natural forms at close range, as if seen through a magnifying lens. In 1924 she painted her first large-scale flower painting. Her pieces are so striking, light and airy. This is the feeling I get when I look at her work. Refreshing, yeah, I feel refreshed.

After Stieglitz’s death in 1946 and her move to New Mexico in 1949. At the age of seventy-three she embarked on a new series focused on the clouds in the sky and the rivers. At seventy-three! Amazing.

Suffering from macular degeneration and discouraged by her failing eye sight, O’Keeffe painted her last unassisted oil painting, The Beyond, in 1972. She did continue to produce art with the help of assistants. Sounds like she was encouraged by an assistant to work with clay since her sight was getting poorer. An artist is an artist no matter the medium, right.

Georgia O’Keeffe spent her last days in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She died on 06 March 1986 at the age of 98 years old.







a to z

N is for Navarrete

Today in the A to Z Challenge

We are up to the letter N


N is for Navarrete


Juan Fernandez Navarrete

called El Mudo, because he was deaf and did not speak as a result



St. Peter and St. Paul      (1577)

Inner vision spoke

 Let the work do the talking

Patrons were in sync




Juan Fernandez de Navarrete was born in the beautiful town of Navarre, Spain near the mountain range of the Pyrenees. He was called El Mudo (the mute) since childhood. He lost his hearing at the age of three and never learned to talk. Juan’s amazing drawings skills became evident when he began communicating his needs by drawing them out with charcoal on paper. The young artist never allowed his disabilities to hamper his dreams or ambitions and allowed his art to become his voice. Way to communicate! And in the process he left a masterful legacy.

He went to Italy to be absorbed by the culture and the art scene.  I guess at the time Italy was where everyone went, France was not yet the rock star it later became when it came to art. Navarrete spent several years studying under Italian Master Titian in Venice.  In 1568 he became the official court painter to monarch Philip II of Spain. Education – received basic instruction from Fray Vicente de Santo Domingo, studied under Titian in Venice, Italy  Stylistically influenced by the following painters – Titian and Andrea del Sarto.

The paintings of Navarrete are rare. He was prolific but several were burned, lost or simply painted over by lesser artists. Navarrete major art-works were Nativity, Abraham and the Three Angels, and Baptism of Christ, 1568, now at the Museo  del  Prado in Madrid, Spain. He became known as the Spanish Titian and died in Toledo, Spain from Tubercolosis.

I have never heard of Juan Fernendez de Navarrete but he is an inspiration. Accomplishing what he did during the period he lived was amazing.







a to z

J is for Jackson

Today is day ten of the A to Z Challenge the letter is J

In this challenge I am taking the opportunity to learn more about art and the painters.


 A. B. Jackson, Porch People Study, c. 1970 – Pastel on paper.Image courtesy of Don Watson.

Alexander Brook Jackson, 1925-1981


gathering on porch

a hot southern afternoon

enjoying warm breeze



Alexander Brooks Jackson was the son of an Irish mother and black father, BFA and MFA degrees from Yale University, studying with Josef Albers.  (Josef Albers was a German-born American artist and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the twentieth century).  Jackson worked in advertising  as a designer. As a teacher he worked at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 10 years at Norfolk State, then joined Old Dominion University as a full professor, the first black faculty member. No floating around europe for this artist, he worked for a living. After being denied entry to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art show in 1962 because of his race, he won best-in-show in 1966. Jackson received significant attention in 1968, after several of his drawings were included in a Smithsonian Institution traveling art exhibition. Influenced by Rembrandt, Jackson worked in a range of materials, including watercolors, pastels, charcoal and acrylic. This painting does have the look of a Rembrandt I think. In the sense that it is little dark. His series of paintings entitled “The Porch People” depicts anonymous sitters on their porches in Ghent, the district of Norfolk, Virginia, where he lived. His book, As I See Ghent: A Visual Essay, was published in 1979. Jackson died in 1981, at the age of 55.







A to Z Challenge  A is for Airgonaut


Airborne savoring the freedom in free fall

Invigorating – being one with nature

Rapid desent cheeks fluttering ears flapping in the wind

Gravity having its say

Overall thrill outweighs any hesitation

Nature being tempted and trifled with

Apprehension takes a holiday

Upholding the premise of living life out loud

Taking adventure by the tail and hanging on for the ride





Airgonaut : One who journeys through the air like skydivers and balloonists.

 A person who is engaged in a dangerous but rewarding quest; an adventurer