Artistic Inspiration Day

 March 11, 2010
Posted by Cindy

I’ve been caught up in finishing a commission piece for the past couple of weeks and I don’t want to spoil the surprise for my client by posting here, so that’s why I’ve been uncharacteristically silent about what I’ve been up to lately.

I’ve decided to take advantage of the fact that I live near a city with wonderful museums for artistic inspiration. So last weekend my husband and I spent a wonderful Saturday afternoon visiting an exhibit by one of my favorite artists, Georgia O’Keefe. The Phillips Collection in Washington DC is showing her abstract works in a fabulous setting. Georgia O’Keefe: Abstractions includes about 100 paintings and drawings from the artist’s long career, ranging from the early charcoals that initially caught the eye of Alfred Stieglitz, to the wonderfully simplified paintings of clouds and doors she completed late in life.

I didn’t take pictures at the exhibit, so my picture here is a poster that I have in my house. This painting is in the exhibit and it’s one of my favorites. I’ve been fascinated with O’Keefe since I was an art history student in college, but the work that particularly attracts me is not her famous flower paintings, but the abstract work featured in this exhibit. She is able to distill the essence of her experience with a few simple lines, shapes and dramatic use of color–exactly what I am trying to do in fiber, although I have a long way to go.

It’s exciting and inspiring to see this work up close and in person. I’ve had the opportunity recently to revisit the Matisse cutouts and the Alexander Calder sculptures at the National Gallery and to experience a dramatic exhibit of the paintings of some of the Washington Color School artists, like Morris Louis, Ellsworth Kelly and Kenneth Noland. These are the artists who speak to me. Even though I’ve seen the work before, sometimes many times, there’s always something new to learn. Take a trip to visit the work of your favorite artist and see!

3 comments

  1. |

    Hi Cindy,
    When I first saw the “Phillips Collection” I thought you had a new line of quilts in honor of your husband and son, who share that name. I have a fantastic vibrant rendering of an O’Keefe painting in my bedroom – four bright poppies. I bought it from an artist (Hyacinth Fanning) at the Ann Arbor Art Fair a few summers ago when I was a “starving” writer.

    At any rate, congrats on the commissioned piece – please post when finished.
    Liz

  2. Marge Maitski
    |

    Hi Cindy,

    I met your Mom and sister at the Florida Natural History Museum last month at their quilting exhibit. I was admiring your quilt when your sister started pointing out different nuances in it. After I pulled up your website (of course your proud sissy qrote down your website on a piece of paper for me when I asked her for your business card:)), I thought I was looking at your sister. You look just like her!

    Anyway, after the exhibit, I went next door to The Harn Art Museum and stumbled upon an exhibit called, Europa, that was opening the next day. I went back the next day to the museum as I was intrigued by the artwork I was able to spy the previous evening, and I was WOWED by it. It’s a provocative and moving contemporary exhibit done by a Romanian artist and 4 friends, all from eastern Europe. All the artwork deals with Europe after the Wall came down in 1989 and how it has affected everyday citizens, not just in Europe, but worldwide.

    The museum is free and open to the public, so if you happen to be down in Florida or want to just get away from the horrendous and long winter you all have had up north, please put Gainesville and the Harn on your tour stop as it will make you think and may change your opinion on certain issues of the day.

    Take good care.

    Marge Maitski
    352-347-5276
    mmaits@embarqmail.com

  3. |

    Thanks for the tip, Marge. I hope I get a chance to see the exhibit when I go to Florida soon.

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