Session I- Inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe


Georgia Totto O'Keeffe 1887 – 1986 was an American artist, best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, and New Mexico landscapes . She has been recognized as the "Mother of American Modernism".O'Keeffe was born in 1887,in a farmhouse in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Her parents, Francis Calyxtus O'Keeffe and Ida (Totto) O'Keeffe, were dairy farmers of Irish descent and her maternal grandfather, George Victor Totto, for whom O'Keeffe was named, was a Hungarian count who came to the United States in 1848.

In 1905, O'Keeffe began her serious formal art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then the Art Students League of New York, but she felt constrained by her lessons that focused on recreating nature. After several years of teaching and working as an illustrator, in 1914 O'Keeffe began creating simplified images of natural things, such as leaves, flowers, and rocks. Inspired by Precisionism, The Green Apple, completed in 1922, depicted her notion of a simple, meaningful life. O'Keeffe said "it is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things."

Georgia O'Keeffe was the first woman artist to have a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. O'Keeffe was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 1966 was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among her awards and honors, she received an honorary degree from Harvard University, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor awarded to American civilians .In 1985, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Reagan.



We had a very busy week with many projects including printmaking, sculpture, painting and a collage mural for the Children's Hospital. On Tues. we spent the day observing leaves and and doing chalk rubbings in preparation for our guest presenter, Lisa Wilkes, from "Let's Talk About Trees". She discussed the origins of paper the the process. She also demonstrated paper making and each student had an opportunity to make paper. Afterwards, we had a discussion about the first paintings that were done in caves and on rocks using charcoal and ground rocks and later berries and bark and the first types of paint brushes made from animal fibers and leaves and we did a sample painting with ground up berries using plants and twigs for brushes. One of the advantages of our setting was the large play area with an abundance of leaves, bugs and trees, so in between projects and on our breaks there was a lot of bug collecting and nature to observe. We gathered leaves and made mono prints using four plates that the children designed with their leaf. A great deal of planning and thought went into each one and the they did great. As part of our paper lesson, we created birds from Paper Mache' ,and again it involved a lot of process, that included creating the form and armature and then covering it with the goopy mache'. We got really messy this week.

Our Mural Project

The Garden Mural is one of my favorite projects ever. In between waiting for paint to dry or any free moment, the ideas were flowing and the enthusiasm and team work that the students showed was really terrific. It took off in a very organic way and each contributed to create really magical and sweet results.

Thank you, Bennett, Lara, Lucy, Sylvia, Mateo, Lucia, Claire Z, Alex, and Claire H . ( not pictured), for a wacky, wild, and super creative week. I also want to thank Claire H and her dad Robert for making us the easels we used for the first time this week. All of you got the summer sessions off to a great start!


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