I am a lover of art, the expression of emotions onto canvas. One of my favorite painters is Georgia O’Keefe; her bigger than life flowers with vibrant colors and her take on the mid-west. All of her work is inspirational to me. I enjoy finding inspiration in nature, finding the nuances in color in flowers that some might not see. Georgia O’Keefe was the epitome of this type of artist. Georgia was quoted at one time saying, “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, its your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it where they want to see it or not.” Georgia knew the importance of slowing down, the importance of enjoying the small things. Georgia knew about mindfulness before it became mainstream. I learned something from Georgia when I began looking at her artwork. I found what it was really like to slow down and enjoy the world around me, one flower, one leaf, at a time. Georgia definitely can teach us about not only vibrant color, but also about mindfulness.
One thing I didn’t realize about Georgia was she suffered from depression and anxiety. I did know, from my own research in graduate school, that more people are diagnosed with mental health issues today than in the past. It is rarely documented in the past who had mental health issues because it was not well known. In the brief writings about Georgia, who was very quiet about her personal life, she was once institutionalized after realizing her husband had an affair. It was quoted she suffered from times of anxiety and depression. Georgia would go days weeping and not eating or sleeping. We now understand these are signs of depression. Georgia was hospitalized at the age of 46 due to these issues. Georgia apparently took this time to become healthier in her recovery. Georgia was quoted stating, “I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” Georgia gave us a look into what perseverance looks like by continuing her art regardless of her depression or anxiety. For this, I am thankful for this perseverance. I now get to gaze upon the beauty she created from a brush, a canvas and nature.
Georgia also taught us about perseverance. Ah the word we all look at with wide-eyed wonder and ask ourselves, “How do we get there?” Webster’s defines perseverance as, “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” I will again use Georgia O’Keefe as my inspiration for this. Not only did she have bouts of depression and anxiety, Georgia also began to lose her eyesight in her later years. When she began to lose her eyesight, Georgia took up sculpting. Georgia was a prolific painter and one of the first of her kind. Georgia was the first women to have work hung at the Museum of Modern Art, blazing the way for women artists. Georgia also gave up painting to help her family during hardship but continued to draw with charcoal. Through all of this, Georgia continued to move forward, doing what she loved, providing artistic renditions of the world around her. Georgia was known to say she painted because she could not express in words what she saw in her head. Georgia did not give up because of what life handed her. She took it, learned from it and moved forward. Georgia can teach us something about perseverance.