Archives for posts with tag: women artists

   in memory of Georgia O’Keeffe
by Larry D. Thomas

she dons jet-black
and takes her stance
before the canvas,
draping her heart
with the shadow
of a black cross.
She scours her mind
with cloudless
desert sky
and she waits
for the moon-like rising
of the flower,
the pelvis,
the cleansed,
sun-bleached skull.

“For Purity” appears in the collection Amazing Grace by Larry D. Thomas, Texas Review Press, 2001

PHOTO: Georgia O’Keeffe with painting, 1930, by Alfred Stieglitz, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Alfred Stieglitz Collection


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, American Artist (1887-1986)


Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant; there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” GEORGIA O’KEEFFE 

Painting: “Jimson Weed” (Oil on canvas, 1932) by Georgia O’Keeffe

by C.S. Merrill (March 1974)

I worked for O’Keeffe at first
as librarian in the book room.
It smelled of old paper
sweet, sharp, and dusty
bare bulb overhead
plywood table
books all over
on the floor, in crates
on shelves, in boxes.
I listed these books
cataloged them
on a manual typewriter
sitting on a cane bottom chair.
Is this how a medieval scribe felt?
To relieve my hours
she hung a small painting
on the west wall,
brilliant scarlet poppies.
Asked her after lunch,
“May I have that little painting?
Will you give it to me?
I like it.” She snorted
didn’t laugh
didn’t say anything
She snorted…loudly
Years later
looking at a paper
for an auction
I learned how much
money it was worth.
She snorted at me
there in the library.
went out the door.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE FROM C.S. (CAROL) MERRILL: O’Keeffe answered my letter. I first visited her one day in August, 1973. She hired me to work on weekends as librarian, secretary, cook, nurse, or companion from 1973 to 1979. This poetry is from my journals written a few hours after the experiences. O’Keeffe…often had me read aloud to her from biographies of the great. Many times we re-read an ancient Taoist text Secret of the Golden Flower. O’Keeffe taught me to cook. She taught me to look, really look, at things. She showed me how to live. She let me know her when she faced old age, blindness, and death in the last years of her life. O’Keeffe must be remembered. She was a woman of fierce temper, infinite kindness, and impeccable sense of artistry. She encouraged me and changed my life. I like to think of her walking in beauty beneath ancient cliffs at Ghost Ranch. This work [poetry] is thanks for the strength of her will and the spirit of her work.

Painting: “Oriental Popples” (oil on canvas, 1928) by Georgia O’Keeffe


To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” GEORGIA O’KEEFFE

November 15, 2013 marks the 126th anniversary of the birth of artist Georgia O’Keeffe — born in a farmhouse hear Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, in 1887. O’Keeffe lived to age 99 — passing away in March 1986 — and remains a role model and inspiration for artists around the world.

Painting: “Sunrise” (watercolor, 1916) byGeorgia O’Keeffe

by Ellaraine Lockie

Plastic replaces bona fide flowers and pollen
on the table by a stack of magazines
You think you can smell neroli
from the bittersweet blossoms
on the cover of The Green Gardener
Or maybe it’s the gray cat curled
around the tree trunk that’s causing
your nose to raise its voice
First the whine of sniffles sends you
to the box of Kleenex on the corner table
Then the blast in a trombone’s decibel range
that causes a woman to drop her pill
Followed by a continued ensemble of sneezes
as Georgia O’Keeffe’s purple petunias
on the wall waft optic allergens
And oak branches outside brush their own
allergy onslaught against the skylight
You know by feel that the flowers
beside the Kleenex are silk
Yet your eyes want to water them
Someone offers a Benedryl
but you can’t accept the absurdity
You feel even more foolish to find
from the allergist that dust and molds
are your real antagonists
With 179 needle scratches that leave
back and arms with enough red welts
to evoke a battered woman
You return Better Homes and Gardens
to the waiting room table
Brush against a plastic sunflower branch
And gray powders storm the air
that the biggest welt on your arm
welcomes like long-lost relatives

Illustration: “Purple Petunias” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1925)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author, and essayist. Her ninth and recent chapbook, Wild as in Familiar, was a finalist in the Finishing Line Press Chapbook contest and received The Aurorean’s Chapbook Pick for Spring 2012.  Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as poetry editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh, and as associate editor for MobiusSilver Birch Press published her poetry chapbook Coffee House Confessions  on February 3, 2013. Find the book at

“Irony at the Allergist’s” and other poetry by Ellaraine Lockie appears in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose from over 60 authors around the world — available at


“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” 


Mural by Levi Ponce, Pacoima (Los Angeles), California, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Photo by Robert Medina, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



by Sam Shepard

They caught him with a stolen print of a cottonwood tree. He was in the parking lot cramming it into the bed of his pickup. When they asked him why, he told them he wasn’t sure why. He told them it gave him this feeling.

He told them he saw himself inside this picture lying on his back underneath the cottonwood. He said he recognized the tree from an old dream and that the dream was based on a real tree he dimly remembered from a long time ago in his childhood. He remembered lying down underneath this tree and staring up through the silver leaves.

He remembered voices from those leaves but he couldn’t remember what the voices said of who they belong to.

He told them he was hoping the picture would bring the whole thing back.

Painting: “Cottonwoods Near Abiquiu” (1950) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Poem by Charles Bukowski

a good poem is like a cold beer
when you need it,
a good poem is a hot turkey
sandwich when you’re hungry,
a good poem is a gun when
the mob corners you,
a good poem is something that
allows you to walk through the streets of
a good poem can make death melt like
hot butter,
a good poem can frame agony and
hang it on a wall,
a good poem can let your feet touch
a good poem can make a broken mind
a good poem can let you shake hands
with Mozart,
a good poem can let you shoot craps
with the devil
and win,
a good poem can do almost anything,
and most important
a good poem knows when to

Painting: “Hollyhock Pink with Pedernal,” 1937 by Georgia O’KeeffeMilwaukee Museum of Art

Note: “Defining the Magic”  is included in Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories by Charles Bukowski, available at


“Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course, you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.” JOAN DIDION

PAINTING: “Pink and Green Mountains,” 1915 watercolor by Georgia O’Keeffe