Georgia O’Keeffe Class
Georgia O’Keeffe has been a part of my life for a year now and I’m a better person for it. I have read books about her, studied her paintings, own 2 calendars with her works in them and can recognize her work anywhere. Several years ago I did a challenge with Wanda Kerr where we were to pick 30 designs out of a Vogue September issue. To my surprise two of the designs I chose were Georgia O’Keeffe abstract designs. I didn’t know it at the time…..She was a contemporary artist that marched to her own drummer – no small wonder I’ve enjoyed studying her works and life.
Georgia’s flower paintings are most familiar to us. They are distinct in their size, color and simplicity. Often the flowers fill the entire canvas. Sometimes only the center is featured. All are amazing. She also studied and painted churches & buildings: again they filled the canvas – there was no mistaking the building was the star of the painting. Georgia painted buildings in cities, in the country and in the desert.
Georgia loved New Mexico painting its buildings, mesa’s, desert and the Pedernal Mountain. We’re all familiar with her paintings of crosses, skulls and bones.
With all of the above in mind we’re going to do our own studies of Georgia O’Keeffe. We aren’t going to concentrate on flowers. What I would like you to do if you’re going to choose my class is to get your hands on a book of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, look through it many times and try to choose what calls to you the most. Maybe it’s a flower or a building or a landscape or even bones. I don’t care. What I do care about is that instead of choosing a painting of Georgia’s that you like I want you to choose your own flower or a building or whatever you’ve decided to hook. With Georgia’s work in mind you’re then going to hook the object of your choice.
I love the simplicity of Georgia’s flowers and I tried to do my own version of a flowers center with her work in my mind. My pink, pink flower is too detailed in my estimation but it was a learning piece and it is what it is. The building I chose was a defunct cannery in Anacortes. It fills the backing and I like the piece a lot. Mission accomplished. The little cross is above the water with a beach stone beside it. That’s where my heart is: in and around the water. Georgia painted what was closest to her heart. I want you to do the same thing.
You will have some homework to do before class. We will discuss the homework in class, talk about Georgia’s work throughout our class time. By classes end you will be thoroughly educated in the life and works of Georgia O’Keeffe. I’m hoping she will motivate you as much as she has me.
Diane S. Learmonth, Rugged Art, has been rug hooking since 1989 when she bought a Canadian Goose kit at the International Quilt Show in Houston and proceeded to try and hook it herself. She quickly found out that lessons were needed so, when Art and Diane moved to Iowa, she found a rug hooking group then took lessons from Kay Casten, Joan Van Vleet and Sharon Townsend. One year later she joined Teacher’s Workshop in Dallas, Texas then the next year (2001) Diane received her McGown Certification for teaching rug hooking. In 2003 she received her second McGown Certification.
Since that time Diane has studied from over 35 teachers all over the country, has taught rug hooking from Vermont to Hawaii and has found her style: she is a contemporary fibre artist. Diane specializes in faces and animals. She also loves to study artists, hook ideas that are inspired by that artist then passes the artists ideas on to her students.
Diane has had her works featured in several books including Barely Hooked by Rae Harrell and Contemporary Faces by Anne-Marie Littenberg. Diane started a rug hooking group in Newton, Iowa and also hired teachers to teach out of her home for the group. Sharon Townsend, Diane Phillips and others taught there. Diane and Michelle Wise started Puget Sound Rug School for the same reason: so that there would be a good, instructional School in Washington State so that ladies could learn the art of rug hooking from the best teachers available. Diane teaches in her studio at home and will travel to teach when asked. She is a member of the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild and TIGHR.
Diane and her husband Art, are going to be the featured artists at Anne McCool’s Gallery in Anacortes for the month of April.