Why Georgia's on my Mind

Miss O'Keeffe is on my mind because of a journey I made on Saturday. A road trip with two companions into the northern lands of B.C. to see the largest exhibition of her work to ever be seen in Canada. A mecca of sorts since I have looked to Georgia's work ever since I was a young girl. She was the first artist I recognized as a painter (and not just some stuffy history stuff.) The first historical figure I connected with - not just as a painter but as a woman. At various points throughout my life I ended up studying her or writing about her in some form. And all the while I never did actually like those giant, saturated flower paintings... always way more moved by her bones.

But Saturday was the very first time I had seen more than one of her paintings in person. And much to my thrill, the Vancouver Art Gallery was exhibiting such a lesser known range of her work that many of the pieces I had never seen before at all, in person or otherwise.

My fourth or fifth time through the show, after all the crowds of noisy elder ladies and bouncing children had left for the day and the security guard was shooing me along, I reached a point of sheer thrill-chills-exhilaration. Me and all these gorgeously rich works. I realized then that what does it for me about O'Keeffe isn't necessarily the glory of a famous artist or even an artist whose work has influenced my own - but rather it is more just purely the celebration in a life well lived. That woman had cojones and I will always always look up to her for that. Thank you Georgia.

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