Monday, April 9, 2012

H: How Georgia Became O'Keeffe

     How Georgia Became O'Keeffe  is one of my best book finds of 2012 so far.  The subtitle of this comfortable read is Lessons on the Art of Living  and author Karen Karbo does a marvelous job of weaving together both the stories and the lessons of Georgia O'Keeffe's life.  

     I am very curious about Georgia O'Keeffe.  I have always been drawn to her colors and her abstract images - and some of her realism as well (think bones).  What I liked most about this engaging and, yes, quirky biography was the author's voice.  Reading this book felt like I was visiting with two good friends - Georgia and Karen.  We were revisiting parts of our lives together and reviewing what avenues and adventures were most memorable and most satisfying.  Don't get me wrong.  Karbo did not write an autobiography within a biography.  It's just that her occasional personal references make me interested in knowing her as well as reading Georgia's story. For example, check this out:

        "Sublimation is a powerful thing.'ll never let you down.  Are most of us not, at least some of the time, frustrated by our jobs, disappointed by our mates, envious of the slim-ass receptionist at the gym?  The good news is we needn't fix anything.  We need not get another job, a divorce, or strangle the receptionist while she is restocking the towels.  We need only start a blog."  (pg 78)

      Karbo's style is accessible.  She is able to bring Georgia into the room with us and we chat about Georgia's family history, her loves, our shared appreciation for art.  Karbo covers the different professional and personal paths of Georgia's life.  We learn about what Georgia valued as well as what games she had to play in order to be taken seriously as a female artist in the male dominated art world.  Georgia knew she needed to shout in order to be heard and her early abstract expressionist work was nothing if not bold.  As Karbo tells us, "Georgia's idea was simple:  make it big and people will have to look."

One word:  Captivating

My own homage to Georgia

More homage to Georgia


  1. I started a blog once. I can only assume that Georgia and you get along well, and with Karen to orchestrate the dialogue, the three of you gallivant off to the cellar for a bottle of red, and sit sipping and comparing notes. I loved your Georgia paintings.

  2. I put this on my list when you mentioned it in a previous post. I am a big Karbo fan--her novel Motherhood Made A Man Out Of Me is one of my all-time favorites. I also enjoyed her memoir about her father's death. Thanks for sharing this review.

  3. Adding Karen Karbo to my "check it out" list.

  4. I've been meaning to get this book for a while. I love Georgia. She's an amazing artist. Great post and happy A-Z blogging!

  5. That quote made me laugh out loud for real. It's so true. A blog is a place that we can turn our difficulties into humorous situations. A blog is a place to regain perspective. Honestly, I never thought of it that way before.
    My blog here