Wednesday, June 6, 2012

If Georgia Can Horde Paintings

Landscape by Georgia O'Keeffe

I read recently that Georgia O'Keeffe, who painted until she was 90, died with over a thousand recorded works in her possession. That is Unsold paintings that her agent and friends knew about. It is thought that she had a secret cache of more that nobody knew about or that she gave away as gifts without putting them on the official record. She didn't have an open studio and was a very private person.

I thought about O'Keeffe's inventory of paintings as I was rearranging my studio. There is, after all, just so much wall space available there. And some work I admit goes on the walls of my private residence. And some goes in boxes upstairs. I am not at the point that everything I paint sells. But I was of the opinion that would have been true of New Mexico's most renowned artist. It is both comforting and disturbing that it isn't so.

Past Reflections by J. Binford-Bell

A certain percentage of my work I am more than happy to hang on to like Past Reflections above. I can remember the Lake Powell boat trip with my sister that inspired this particular work. It hangs by my computer.

Mystic Passage by J. Binford-Bell

Mystic Passage I didn't even try to sell. I kept it around in my studio as inspiration. Then I loaned it out to the Chamber of Commerce and then the Village of Angel Fire. Now it is back in my studio. All artists must have their favorites. I have to wonder how many of the thousand paintings Georgia O'Keeffe officially had she really did not want to sell.

And did she ever question where she was going to put a painting she was working on. I must admit I sometimes look at my walls and the boxes upstairs and wonder why it is I want to paint another painting. But painters paint. That is what we do. Certainly Van Gogh never thought about whether his paintings matched anyone's couch.

And Georgia O'Keeffe seemed driven to record New Mexico and especially the area around Ghost Ranch. I love my canyons. And I want to capture that feeling I get when I walk them. And those that sell right off are not necessarily the ones I think which do that best.

As I write this I wonder if Georgia loved her flowers best. Or did she paint those because they sold. Of the one thousand left when she died were they mostly canyon walls or flowers? I, as I have stated in a previous blog, love her landscapes best. If I had been her I would have horded them.

1 comment:

  1. A good read here Jacqui. I've often wondered about O'Keefe who seemed somewhat standoffish and in her later years, eccentric. She certainly had a passion for New Mexico.

    Painters, paint, writers write - that's what those of the arts do.


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