Georgia O’Keeffe: Art is a Private Act
“I decided to accept as true my own thinking.”
November 15th marked Georgia O’Keeffe’s birthday. Having just finished reading her biography by Laurie Lisle, I celebrated the day by focusing on colour and flowers as my personal tribute. Georgia O’Keeffe painted out of the need to express herself in the language of colour. Hesitant to part with her paintings, she embraced each of them as a beloved child. They emerged from her thoughts, empowered by the strength of her genius. She considered painting to be a private, rather than a public act.
Generally, most seek the good opinion of others to confirm the value of their creative efforts. Even those who exude confidence feel the need for acceptance within their peer group. Indeed, it is daunting to reveal, never mind showcase, what was generated by imaginative thought. Creative productivity is a signature of who we are, what we believe and value. Georgia O’Keeffe spoke the truth – painting is a private act. Writing, composing, weaving, singing, dancing – all begin in solitude before they become a public reality.
Perhaps we should take Georgia O’Keeffe’s example – view the results of our artistic endeavours as dearly loved children; always valued and cherished, without the need for external approval.
“I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to … I found that I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way– things I had no words for.”