Watercolor painting of hydrangeas

Watercolor painting of hydrangeas

Another watercolor study

Another watercolor study

“Still life is a minor art, and one with a residue of didacticism that will never bleach out; a homely art.  From the artist’s point of view, it has always served as a contemplative form useful for working out ideas, color schemes, opinions.  It has the same relation to larger, more ambitious paintings as the sonnet to the long poem. . . . Still life has been a kind of recreation, a jeu d’sprit, for painters.”
— Guy Davenport, Objects on a Table: Harmonious Disarray

I can see Davenport’s point of view about still life painting.  I see my efforts to translate what I see into a painting on paper as beginner’s marks, trying to understand what works and what doesn’t.  I don’t feel ready for more ambitious compositions, and that’s why I chose to paint just a single or a few objects.  I still love messing about, trying to improve.  Occasionally I surprise myself with something that I actually like.  Maybe if these happy surprises occurred more frequently, I would be ready to challenge myself to larger subjects.  I’m not there yet!  So I’ll stick with “homely art” for a while.

 

 

 

An exhibit featuring Georgia O’Keeffe paintings just opened at the Tacoma Art Museum.  Her paintings, which focus on some of her New Mexico still lifes,  are juxtaposed with those from Pacific Northwest artists.  This exhibit has travelled here from Indianapolis and the Tacoma Art Museum is the only West coast venue for this show.  So it is well worth a day trip to check it  out.

image

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887−1986), Yellow Cactus, 1929. Oil on canvas, 30 × 42 inches. Dallas Museum of Art, Texas. Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, Bequest of Patsy Lacy Griffith. 1998.217. (O’Keeffe 675) © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy International Arts ®.

I like this article in which the Indianapolis Museum of Art talks about still life painting:

Rarely do we think of still life painting as depictions of a specific area, which is why Georgia O’Keeffe and the Southwestern Still Life is such a unique and important exhibition.”

I am very fond of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art, and I was particularly pleased with this new exhibit which featured several of her paintings that I had never before seen in person or reproduced in books such as a cockscomb and a wooden virgin.  Here are some of the other new (to me) paintings:

image

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887−1986), Mule’s Skull with Pink Poinsettia, 1936. Oil on canvas, 401⁄8 × 30 inches. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gift of The Burnett Foundation. 1997.06.014. (O’Keeffe 876) © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy International Arts ®.

image

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887−1986), Deer Horns, 1938. Oil on canvas, 36 × 16 inches. Collection of Louis Bacon. (O’Keeffe 941) Photography by Christie’s Images. © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy International Arts 

You can read more about this exhibit from this article in the Los Angeles Times.

While you are at the Tacoma Art Museum, be sure to wander through its new addition, which houses “Art of the American West: the Haub Family Collection.”  It includes another new (to me) O’Keeffe painting, Pinons with Cedar, 1956.

Pinons with Cedar, 1956

Pinons with Cedar, 1956

 Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887 ‑ 1986)
Piñons with Cedar, 1956

Oil on canvas
30 × 26 inches
Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.91
© 2014 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York