Georgia O'Keeffe Quotes

40 Inspiring Quotes from the American Artist Georgia O’Keeffe

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One of my all-time favorite artists is Georgia O’Keeffe. If you need a bit of inspiration about your art, life, or just general wisdom, Georgia O’Keeffe has it all for you. I find all her words very inspiring.

Not only is Georgia O’Keeffe an amazing artist but she also has a lot of great things to say about life, art, and just general words of wisdom. If you want to find out more about Georgia O’Keeffe you can read our blog Georgia O’Keeffe, The Mother of American Modernism Painting by clicking here.

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Georgia O'Keeffe Quotes

Georgia O’Keeffe: A Pioneer of Modern Art

Georgia O’Keeffe, a name synonymous with modern American art, stands as a towering figure in the 20th-century art world. Born in 1887 in Wisconsin,

O’Keeffe’s journey into art began with her early art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later at the Art Students League of New York. However, it was her independent exploration and deviation from traditional art forms that marked the beginning of her unique journey.

Her work, characterized by its bold and innovative nature, played a pivotal role in the development of American modernism, a movement that sought to break away from the established norms of art and express the new American landscape and spirit.

O’Keeffe’s art is most renowned for its large-scale, intensely colored flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. Her flower paintings, in particular, are iconic — she magnified their individual parts and transformed these into powerful images that were almost abstract in their form and intensity.

This approach was not only groundbreaking in terms of technique but also in its subtle defiance of the gender norms of her time. In an era when female artists were often sidelined, O’Keeffe’s work stood out for its strong, unmistakable presence.

Her paintings of skyscrapers also reflected her unique perspective on modern life, encapsulating the essence of the American urban experience during the early 20th century.

O’Keeffe’s significance, however, transcends her vibrant canvases. She was a pioneer, not just in her artistic style, but also in how she navigated the art world as a woman. Her career was a series of breaking ceilings in a male-dominated field, thereby serving as an inspiration for generations of female artists.

Moreover, her move to New Mexico and the subsequent shift in her artistic focus to the landscapes and cultural motifs of the American Southwest played a key role in introducing and popularizing this region’s aesthetic to a broader audience.

Today, O’Keeffe is celebrated not only for her contribution to American art but also for her role in shaping the narrative of women in the arts, and her legacy continues to influence and inspire artists around the world

Some of my favorite curated quotes from the American Artist Georgia O’Keeffe:

“You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“It’s not enough to be nice in life. You’ve got to have nerve.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I hate flowers – I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“It was in the 1920s, when nobody had time to reflect, that I saw a still-life painting with a flower that was perfectly exquisite, but so small you really could not appreciate it.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I believe I would rather have Stieglitz like something – anything I had done – than anyone else I know.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe Quotes

“It was all so far away – there was quiet and an untouched feel to the country and I could work as I pleased.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing–and keeping the unknown always beyond you.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I don’t very much enjoy looking at paintings in general. I know too much about them. I take them apart.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“The days you work are the best days.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I know now that most people are so closely concerned with themselves that they are not aware of their own individuality, I can see myself, and it has helped me to say what I want to say in paint.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I think it’s so foolish for people to want to be happy. Happy is so momentary–you’re happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I feel there is something unexplored about woman that only a woman can explore.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Marks on paper are free – free speech – press-pictures all go together I suppose.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I often lay on that bench looking up into the tree, past the trunk and up into the branches. It was particularly fine at night with the stars above the tree..” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe Quotes

“I said to myself, I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I had to create an equivalent for what I felt about what I was looking at – not copy it.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Sun-bleached bones were most wonderful against the blue – that blue that will always be there as it is now after all man’s destruction is finished.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“One can not be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect means of expression. It is so spontaneous. And after singing, I think the violin. Since I cannot sing, I paint..” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Anyone who doesn’t feel the crosses simply doesn’t get that country.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I have things in my head that are not like what anyone taught me — shapes and ideas so near to me, so natural to my way of being and thinking.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“I can’t live where I want to, I can’t go where I want to go, I can’t do what I want to, I can’t even say what I want to. I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“My first memory is of light — the brightness of light — light all around.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe Quotes

“I decided to accept as true my own thinking.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“You are one of my nicest thoughts.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“One day a hummingbird flew in–
It fluttered against the window til I got it down where I could reach it with an open umbrella–
–When I had it in my hand it was so small I couldn’t believe I had it–but I could feel the intense life–so intense and so tiny–
…You were like the hummingbird to me…
And I am rather inclined to feel that you and I know the best part of one another without spending much time together–
–It is not that I fear the knowing–
It is that I am at this moment willing to let you be what you are to me–it is beautiful and pure and very intensely alive.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“Someone else’s vision will never be as good as your own vision of your self. Live and die with it ’cause in the end, it’s all you have. Lose it and you lose yourself and everything else. I should have listened to myself.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

“The morning is the best time, there are no people around. My pleasant disposition likes the world with nobody in it.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe not only left us with a legacy of her art but also many of her words. Through her words and wisdom, she continues to inspire us all even today.

Anita Louise Art is dedicated to art education, great artists, and inspiring others to find and create their art. We love art that uplifts and inspires. #ArtToMakeYouSmile! #ArtToMakeYouHappy!

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