Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe

Oak Leaf by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Tribute to Georgia O'Keeffe. Watch the video of painting this!

When walking the dogs, I wondered what could I take with me for the next painting. I saw a fallen oak leaf and felt a bit melancholic; it’s time to say goodbye to summer. Then I did exactly what Georgia O’Keeffe, an American artist (1887-1986), would have done: I picked up the leaf and once got home I painted it! Here’s how I got to know more about her and her painting style.

Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe

When so many of the participants of Imagine Monthly, my monthly art journaling class, named Georgia O’Keeffe as a favorite artist, my project during the summer was to get to know her better. I only knew that she had painted large flower paintings and some abstracts. But I didn’t know anything specific about her background and about her way of working. So I purchased a book about her life. It’s written by Laurie Lisle, and it’s called “Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe.” I bought an audio version so I could listen to it while I paint. I don’t recommend the book to anyone who wants to read an entertaining novel. I think it’s more like a historical study. But for anyone, who wants to learn the facts, it’s excellent.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Mindset

There are two things that I have thought a lot after reading the book. First is Georgia O’Keeffe’s personality. Apparently, she was not a very social person and quite straightforward in her sayings. Second is how her photographer husband supported her both by being her manager and her muse. I don’t think Georgia would have discovered her painting style without the discussions with her husband related to photography. These two facts make me believe that her mindset was very analytical. Even if she was a visual artist, she also was a scientist in her closed personal world. She examined plants like they were scientific specimens. It was like she could measure beauty and then create a new version of it. The more I listened to her life story, the more fascinated I became about her.

Those who live in the UK or are visiting the UK: There’s a big exhibition of Georgia O’Keeffe at Tate Modern until October 30!

Botanical Discovery – Create Unique Collage Art!

As a part of Imagine Monthly Fall 2016, I have published a class where you can create botanical art inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe. It has directions on how to cut organic shapes from watercolored papers and build a painted collage out of them. Sign up for Imagine Monthly and get this class immediately after registration!

Botanical Discovery, a collage art class by Peony and Parakeet. Inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe.

Painting an Oak Leaf – Watch the video!

The oak leaf shown at the beginning of the page is an acrylic painting on an art journal. I made it as a tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe and recorded a short video of the process. In the video you see me painting with a broad brush and flowing strokes. This is one of the techniques that I’ll show more in depth in my upcoming workshop Nature in Your Mind. I hope to see you there too!

Create collage art inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe:
>> Buy Art Journaling Bundle 2!

16 thoughts on “Tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe

  1. I really like the process of painting the leaf, though it is too dark for me. I would like to try to paint an azalea flower like O’Keeffe would have. Will try that after I do the one for the class this month. Thanks for showing us your wonderful work.

  2. This painting immediately transported me back to my childhood in England & memories of walking thro’ piles of crunchy leaves; such lovely Autumn colours, must try this with a Liquid Amber leaf, the nearest my Queensland garden has to the rich colours of autumn..
    Loved watching you paint without drawing first, so I must try that too.Thanks for the inspiration Paivi.

    1. Thank you, Lee! I had to google to see what kind of tree liquid amber is. It doesn’t naturally grow in Finland. But based on the images, it’s a perfect model for this project!

  3. Wow, Paivi! Really loved this video. This was so inspiring. When I use a model, I become a slave to detail-trying to get everything exactly as it is. I love the way you got the basics of form down, then set the leaf aside. The second part of the video, both you, and the leaf came alive for me. You captured the essence of leaf, without the stiffness that comes from rendering a subject perfectly. Brava! I’m still playing with two of your classes, but Nature in your Mind looks like a perfect fit for me. Thank you.

    1. Mary, this is exactly why I built Nature in My Mind: to be able to use source material creatively and to get more courage to paint freely! You’ll also learn acrylic painting techniques that will make it easier to set yourself free!

  4. That is just lovely and so great to watch you create such a delightful painting. Thank you

  5. Beautiful! Always enjoy watching & listening to you! I can relate to what Mary Radke says. I’m taking my first online workshop from you- Planet Color next month and am very much looking forward to it! Thank you for all that you do!

  6. Thank you Päivi for sharing! And huge thanks for the inspiring ideas, and new wievs to look at things. Next week I`m teaching my class to paint huge flowers with water colours and as soon as there are colourfull leaves to be collected the kids will be doing a leaf study and painting it O`Keefe style useing guashes.
    I like your style very much dearest Päivi ! Always looking forward your posts!

  7. that is a beautiful painting! You have expressed the beauty there is in fall, and also the melancholy and sadness that the darkness is coming. WOW!

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