"I've been absolutely terrified every minute of my life--and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."
AMEN, Georgia. AMEN.
So the other day I was rinsing out an iced tea jug and I turned it upside down to let the water drain out and a cow's skull stared back at me. I blinked and then I noticed that imprinted on the plastic was a Southwestern motif. I then started snapping pictures and texting them furiously to my (dear, loving) mother and (sweet, supportive) P. "Do you see what I see? Does this not look exactly like a Southwestern cow skull? Hello, Georgia O' Keeffe project!" They 'saw it', though I am not sure they shared my level of enthusiasm... but who knows, a lot gets lost in text.
SO it goes without saying that I am extremely excited to share this project with you along with a little peek into the life and work of Ms. Georgia O' Keeffe.
Let us raise a virtual glass to fierce, determined artists everywhere, who feel the fear and show up anyway.
Georgia O' Keeffe was a famous American painter best known for her dream like paintings of giant flowers and Southwestern landscapes.
Georgia was one of six children. She spent her early life in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. She was fascinated and inspired by nature from a very early age. It is said that by the time she was in eighth grade she knew she wanted to be an artist.
She studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and later at the Art Students League in New York City. Georgia started pursuing a career in art at a time when women were not considered artists. The only way a woman could make a living as an artist was to be an art teacher. Georgia got her first teaching position at a school in Amarillo, Texas. This move West was vital in the development of her work. Georgia taught in Texas and at Columbia College in South Carolina. It was during her time in South Carolina that she created the charcoal drawings that would lead to her first gallery show. From 1917-1923 Georgia started to show her work on a regular basis and people started to notice. In 1924, Georgia began painting her most famous work; paintings of large, colorful flowers. These were the paintings that made her famous and afforded her the ability to set roots out West - her home away from home, which she called "the faraway".
In the summer of 1929 O' Keeffe witnessed a drought in New Mexico that caused the starvation of many animals. Georgia was fascinated by the cow and horse skeletons that were scattered across the Southwestern landscape and began to paint them. "To me they are as beautiful as anything I know... the bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even tho' it is vast and empty and untouchable." In Cow's Skull with Calico Roses, Georgia decorated the cow skull with artificial flowers. The kind of flowers that she saw on the gravestones in New Mexico.
In her later years, O'Keeffe suffered from macular degeneration and began to lose her eyesight. However, her urge to create did not cease. "I can see what I want to paint," she said at the age of 90. "The thing that makes you want to create is still there." Georgia died on March 6, 1986. She was 99 years old.
- empty plastic jug (we used an ice tea container)
- acrylic paint
- two empty paper towel tubes for the horns
- yarn (if you want to make tassels or pom poms to decorate)
- fake flowers - we used store bought but you could also make paper ones
- hot glue gun
- paint palette
- utility knife
- paint brush
- water cup
1. Rinse and dry your plastic jug.
2. Make an 'x' on the back of your jug with a utility knife and then carefully cut out a square section of the plastic backing so you will be able to hang your work of art!
3. Paint your jug with white acrylic paint. It took us 3 coats of paint to get a smooth, opaque cover on our jug. Allow for 20-30 minutes of drying time between coats. If you are doing this with an art class and time is an issue, you could prep the jugs by painting them with spray paint.
4. Paint both of your paper tubes white. We were able to cover ours well with one thick coat of paint.
5. Draw out your horn shapes with pencil or chalk so that you know where to cut.
6. Cut both of your tubes so you have a matching set of horns.
7. Glue around the base of your horns with hot glue and attach them to the side of your cow skull.
9. Our jug came with a Southwestern motif, but if yours does not have one you can still paint one on!
10. Enhance the pattern by using bright paint colors.
11. Time to add some finishing touches. You can dress your "skull" with flowers, yarn, or pom poms.
12. Time to hang! Don't forget to name your jug head. We can't wait to hang "Clive" in our ART CAMPER!