Saturday, October 31, 2015

Georgia O'Keeffe

Ever since I was young, I have been attracted to the colorful paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe. I remember visiting the Dallas Museum of Art when I was in my 20s and being amazed to see her beautiful flower paintings and desert landscapes in person.
Music Pink and Blue No. 2
Georgia O'Keeffe, 1918
Recently I attended an exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute and saw photographs of Georgia O’Keeffe that were taken in 1918 by Alfred Stieglitz.  The photos really moved me.  After further research I learned that Stieglitz and O’Keeffe were married, which explains the intimate nature of the photographs.
Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe
Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Stieglitz and O’Keeffe were married in 1924.  He was 23 years older than she.  He photographed her extensively in the early part of their relationship when she was in her 30’s.  The series of photos that feature her hands are the ones I find particularly interesting.

Apparently, the older O’Keeffe felt emotionally distant from the younger Georgia who was the focus of these photographs.  Personally, I enjoy looking at photographs of my younger self, although I often cringe at the many hairstyles I have worn.  Sure, I would prefer to have photos that were taken by a world-renown photographer, but luckily I have some photos that I honestly think make me look good.  

I am not sure that I have a photograph that captures what I believe to be the real me.  What would that photo look like?  Would I be smiling or would I look serious? What would I wear? I often don't know how I should pose when a photo is being taken.  Maybe that is why Georgia is never smiling in the pictures that Alfred took of her.  Maybe she was trying to show the real her.  Or maybe she was just tired of him taking so many damn pictures.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Great Outdoors

I haven’t been making art lately.  Complications in my personal life have left me feeling stressed and overwhelmed.  Spending time in nature is one of the best ways to relieve stress, and orienteering is a fun way to spend time in the great outdoors. 
Linne Woods and the DuPage River
Do you know what orienteering is?  Here’s a definition from

Orienteering is a competitive sport, originating in Sweden, that tests the skills of map reading and cross-country running, in which competitors race through an unknown area to find various checkpoints by using only a compass and topographical map, the winner being the finisher with the lowest elapsed time.

My friend, Linda, introduced me to orienteering last year and I really enjoy it.  You’ll notice that the definition above describes it as a “race.”  That’s not how Linda and I approach it.  We walk briskly through the wilderness (aka, the forest preserve) and solve life’s problems as we look for the checkpoints (called controls).  The only racing occurs when I run to the last checkpoint in order to shave 10 seconds off our total time.  Running also creates a good impression on the people hanging around the finish.
An electronic control.
Each participant uses an electronic punch
to record that he found the control.

This is an orienteering map.

Each circle is a control.
Some are easy to see from the trail while
others are deeper in the brush or woods.
Admittedly, I am a fair-weather orienteerer.   I don’t participate if it’s too cold or raining.  I don’t like going into the deep woods, either, because the burrs might rip my clothing.  I definitely don’t like getting my shoes all muddy.  Linda understands that, which makes her a good orienteering partner.

Hopefully there are still lots of sunny days left before the grey winter sets in and I can continue to enjoy the great outdoors.

- christina