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Georgia O’Keeffe Quotes For the Tortured Artist in Each of Us

Keep reading for some Georgia O’Keeffe quotes that paint a picture of this amazing woman.

Georgia O’Keeffe started studying art at 18 years old, formally training at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

She studied there for three years, before running out of money to pay for her schooling.

She worked as an illustrator and a teacher for two years, continuing to devote her summers to studying art.

The principles and philosophies of Arthur Wesley Dow influenced her greatly.

The feeling of being restricted and taught to copy nature gave way to the idea that an artist could do much more.

Dow believed that an artist’s work should be one of self-expression, using the elements of a composition as a medium to do so.

Georgia O’Keeffe would become known as the ‘Mother of American Modernism,’ altering the way Americans appreciated art; even changing the way most viewed women, sexuality, and mental health.

These Georgia O’Keeffe quotes share her thoughts on her work, how she felt about people and painting.

She even has some advice that can apply to most of us today, even if we are not artists.

Don’t forget to also check out these Mark Manson quotes to inspire you to live a better life.

Georgia O’Keeffe quotes about flowers

1. “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

2. “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

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

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

5. “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

6. “If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

7. “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower; you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don’t.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe quotes on painting and the arts

8. “One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

9. “I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

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

11. “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

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

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13. “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

14. “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

15. “I got half-a-dozen paintings from that shattered plate.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

16. “You paint from your subject, not what you see… I rarely paint anything I don’t know very well.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

17. “The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of painting quotes about the power of creating with color.

Georgia O’Keeffe quotes that express what she thought of people

18. “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

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

20. “Anyone with any degree of mental toughness ought to be able to exist without the things they like most, for a few months at least.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

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

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

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

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24. “I’m getting to like you so tremendously that it sometimes scares me.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

25. “My pleasant disposition likes the world with nobody in it.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

What did you learn from these Georgia O’Keeffe quotes?

Many people believed that the flowers in Georgia’s work represented female genitalia, which she denied.

Her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, was a photographer and art dealer.

He had taken hundreds of pictures of her, most of them when she was nude, and displayed them.

This added to the idea that Georgia’s work had undercurrents of sexuality, which in the early 1900s was taboo.

Georgia’s relationship with Alfred started as an affair, although the two later married.

Years later he began having an affair with someone else, and Georgia was hospitalized for depression.

She had a nervous breakdown in 1933, not painting again until 1934.

She went to New Mexico and bought a ranch house, splitting her time between there and NY, until Alfred’s death in 1946.

The view inspired some of her most famous landscapes, including Ram’s Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills.

She dared to do things that people weren’t doing, and for that reason, Georgia O’Keeffe became a legend in the art world, and in the hearts of women.

She holds the record of having the highest selling price for a painting by a female artist.

Reading through these quotes of hers, I felt like she could just be my new hero!

She seemed like the type of badass woman who would do it her own way.

Do you have any other Georgia O’Keeffe quotes and sayings to share?

Leave them in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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