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Kate Dudding: Voices From the Past: November, 2010

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This is the thirteenth issue of Voices From the Past. My goal for each issue is to publish some highlights of one of my historical stories as well as an update on my activities. Please feel free to forward this e-newsletter to anyone you think might be interested.

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) In Her Own Words

After visiting the exhibit Dove/O'Keeffe: Circles of Influence several times at The Clark, Williamstown, MA in the summer of 2009, I decided to do some research on Georgia O'Keeffe. I was particularly intrigued by a photo of her in the exhibit -- showing dimples, and so different from the stark, New Mexican photos of her. The exhibit had also indicated what the art critics had thought of her work. I wondered what she thought.
Photo of Georgia O'Keeffe, 1920, age 33 Photo of Georgia O'Keeffe, ca. 1950, age 63

Image of Ornage and Red Streak, 1919, age 32 You can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that she had published a book in 1976 when she was 89 that shared her thoughts. Here are just a few of them:

"I write this because such odd things have been done about me with words.

I have often been told what to paint.

I am often amazed at the spoken and written word telling me what I have painted.

I make this effort because no one else can know how my paintings happen."


"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way -- things I had no words for."

Image of City Night, 1926, age 39 In 1925 while living in New York City, I began talking about trying to paint New York. Of course, I was told that it was an impossible idea -- even the men hadn’t done too well with it.

From my teens on I had been told that I had crazy notions so I was accustomed to disagreement and went on with my idea of painting New York.

One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt.

Image of Red Poppy, 1927, age 40 I'll tell you how I happened to make the blown-up flowers. In the twenties, huge buildings sometimes seemed to be going up overnight in New York.

At that time I saw a painting by Fantin-Latour, a still-life with flowers I found very beautiful, but I realized that were I to paint the same flowers so small, no one would look at them because I was unknown. So I thought

I'll make the flowers big like the huge buildings going up. I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.


There are many other thoughts of Georgia O'Keeffe's that I'd love to share with you. So please ask me to come tell you the rest of her story.

Here is some more information about Georgia O'Keeffe.

News about me

I was honored to win the storytelling slam (storytelling competition) at the 2010 National Storytelling Conference in July in Los Angeles. I'll be telling that story on Sunday, November 14, 2010 at the GE Theatre at Proctors as part of Tellabration 2010: Laughing Fits -- Stories of Smiles and Surprises.

I hope you will come. You'll hear a wide range of tellers – from a 20-something library science student to an eighty-something great-grandmother – sharing a wide variety of stories: personal stories, folk tales, a literary tale and perhaps a few tall tales. Tellabration is a performance itself, but also as a fund raiser for subsequent storytelling events in our area. The profits from the previous fourteen Tellabrations have underwritten over 80 storytelling events in the greater Capital Region

Thanks for reading this issue. I’ll be sending you some more story highlights in a few months.


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Copyright 2010 by Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.


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