How often do you let fear stop you?
Today is November 22 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “How often do you let being terrified keep you from moving forward?”
People who navigate the chaos, like American artist Georgia O’Keeffe, found a way to move forward in life despite feeling terrified of doing so.
As O’Keefe noted “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
This powerful quote serves as a reminder of the duality that exists between our fear on one hand and our desire to live on the other.
O’Keeffe was best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. O'Keeffe has been recognized as the "Mother of American modernism"
O’Keeffe mailed some of these highly abstract drawings to a friend in New York City, who showed them to Alfred Stieglitz. An art dealer and internationally known photographer, he was the first to exhibit her work in 1916.
He would eventually become O’Keeffe’s husband. By the mid-1920s, O’Keeffe was recognized as one of America’s most important and successful artists, known for her paintings of New York skyscrapers—an essentially American image of modernity—as well as flowers.
O'Keeffe was known as much for her independent spirit and female role model, as for her dramatic and innovative works of art. Nancy and Jules Heller said, "The most remarkable thing about O'Keefe was the audacity and uniqueness of her early work."
In the summer of 1929, O’Keeffe made the first of many trips to northern New Mexico. The stark landscape, distinct indigenous art, and unique regional style of adobe architecture inspired a new direction in O’Keeffe’s artwork. For the next two decades she spent part of most years living and working in New Mexico.
She made the state her permanent home in 1949, three years after Stieglitz’s death. O’Keeffe’s New Mexico paintings coincided with a growing interest in regional scenes by American Modernists seeking a distinctive view of America. Her simplified and refined representations of this region express a deep personal response to the high desert terrain.
In her work as well as being, O’Keeffe had become an unwilling lightning rod for men’s constricting ideas about that mysterious creature, the female of the species.
In response, she painted a skyscraper. “When I wanted to paint New York, the men thought I’d lost my mind,” she said later. “But I did it anyway.”
How often do you let being terrified keep you from moving forward?