Thursday 3 November 2016

Inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe at Tate Modern

 Part of  my reasoning  behind doing  an afternoon painting course  in London  was that I could either take advantage of cheaper  train fares ( which I did for the first week  , going to British Museum for lunch in the members room ) or I could fit in a visit to a gallery in the morning.   So last Friday I managed to fit in a visit to Tate Modern to catch the Georgia O'Keeffe  exhibition  before it closed. 

I've always  had a soft spot for her flower paintings partly because they weren't the accurate botanical illustrations I was surrounded by  but nevertheless showing their essence. Name drop alert : when they were filming 'The Private Life of Plants' in the lab I worked in  ( I set up some of the plants they used for time-lapse shots in episode 5 ), David Attenborough had an enormous book of her paintings which they were consulting to work out interesting close-up shots.  

But this exhibition  revealed so much more. I filled pages in my sketchbook with  quick drawings to  analyse what in particular interested me about certain paintings and drawings. There's nothing like seeing them in the flesh to see the subtlety of her marks,  particularly the quality of line.

Having got all my  old sketchbooks, paintings ( mainly watercolours)  and drawings out of storage, I've been looking at them  with a fresh eye. I've shared a few here , not because they're  great paintings  but because I realise they have some of the qualities I picked up on in the exhibition and  am working on some ideas to take further .  

G O'K   East River from the Shelton No 6

G O'K Oak Leaves Pink and Grey

In the inspirational classes  with Sandra Beccarelli  in Brentford, we looked  at Georgia O'Keeffe's leaf paintings   in interpreting Autumn colour  in watercolour ( definitely an exercise I will be repeating soon )

G O'K Blue II

G O'K  New York -Night Madison Avenue

I loved these  aerial view abstracts,  from both early and later years  but sharing some of the same characteristics of space, light and line. They remind me a bit of the Peter Lanyon's Glider Paintings ( hardly surprising in the top one which was inspired by flights  and the view from planes)

G O'K Drawing III

  When I went on painting courses  at FSC Nettlecombe  in the 1990's , I frequently drew and painted the remnants of trees in the grounds, liking how the  twisted  and broken branches   framed glimpses of the landscape beyond.   I don't  think I'd seen these tree pieces by Georgia O'Keeffe  before  but I particularly like how the  thickness of the lines vary, almost disappearing into the surroundings with strong, almost dominating use of negative space.

G O'K Autumn Trees- The Maple

G 0'K Clam and Mussel

G O'K Shell no 2
  When I was sketching mussels on the train going into London, I had no idea that  she had painted quite a  few shell compositions !  Again it's given me lots of ideas to scale up my sketches.

Tomorrow it's Paul Nash at Tate Britain!

1 comment:

Judy Martin said...

love Georgia O'Keefe. Enjoy your course. xo