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Think Out Loud

How Georgia Became O'Keeffe

Pete Springer/OPB

Portland author Karen Karbo has penned a unique take on the life of iconic artist Georgia O’Keeffe. The book is largely a biography of O’Keeffe, with no-nonsense descriptions, like:

As a young woman, she dressed as she would all her life — in long black dresses that resembled the vestments of a priest… She was a stranger to makeup and wore her black hair pulled straight back from her face. Here, I feel the impulse to offer some details about the fashions of 1916, but it hardly matters. Whatever women were wearing in those days, this wasn’t it.

But the book is also rich with Karbo’s commentary and observations about the way O’Keeffe operated in the world — the things that make the artist seem decades before her time and reflect the subtitle of the book, “Lessons on the Art of Living.” Among those: Drink someone else’s lemonade; Say yes to no frills; and If your boyfriend takes a naked picture of you, be prepared for the world to see it.

Since this is the third in her series of books about “Kick Ass Women,” we’ll also find out what Georgia O’Keeffe, Coco Chanel and Katherine Hepburn have in common.

What fascinates you about the life and art of Georgia O’Keeffe? What would you like to ask Karen Karbo about this or her other books?

art biography georgia o'keeffe

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