Hi, there! Is it really mid-April? These spring days are passing by much too quickly as I change direction and welcome more creatives onto Seize a Daisy.
And, to be honest, that’s the major reason I hesitated in deciding to choose the subject for this post. My worry? By selecting author Dawn Tripp (The Season of Open Water, Moon Tide, Game of Secrets) and her latest historical novel Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O’Keefe, you might roll your eyes and think Seize a Daisy has become a book blog again.Yet, that is not the case. Instead, this post is focused on literary creative Dawn Tripp giving a voice to artistic creative Georgia O’Keefe. For those who have read any of the author’s previous novels, you know how Dawn’s words paint both subtle shadows and bold, clear-cut emotions into her writing. And she certainly accomplished the same wth Georgia.
Synopsis of GEORGIA:
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • In a dazzling work of historical fiction in the vein of Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank, Dawn Tripp brings to life Georgia O’Keeffe, her love affair with photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and her quest to become an independent artist.
This is not a love story. If it were, we would have the same story. But he has his, and I have mine.
In 1916, Georgia O’Keeffe is a young, unknown art teacher when she travels to New York to meet Stieglitz, the famed photographer, and art dealer, who has discovered O’Keeffe’s work and exhibits it in his gallery. Their connection is instantaneous. O’Keeffe is quickly drawn into Stieglitz’s sophisticated world, becoming his mistress, protégé, and muse, as their attraction deepens into an intense and tempestuous relationship and his photographs of her, both clothed and nude, create a sensation.
Yet as her own creative force develops, Georgia begins to push back against what critics and others are saying about her and her art. And soon she must make difficult choices to live a life she believes in.
A breathtaking work of the imagination, Georgia is the story of a passionate young woman, her search for love and artistic freedom, the sacrifices she will face, and the bold vision that will make her a legend.
Praise for GEORGIA
“Complex and original…Georgia conveys O’Keeffe’s joys and disappointments, rendering both the woman and the artist with keenness and consideration.”
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“As magical and provocative as O’Keeffe’s lush paintings of flowers that upended the art world in the 1920s…Tripp inhabits Georgia’s psyche so deeply that the reader can practically feel the paintbrush in hand as she creates her abstract paintings and New Mexico landscapes…Erotic and evocative from the first page to the last, Tripp’s Georgia is a romantic yet realistic exploration of the sacrifices one of the foremost artists of the 20th century made for love.”
“Sexually charged… insightful… Dawn Tripp humanizes an artist who is seen in biographies as more icon than a woman. Her sensuous novel is as finely rendered as an O’Keeffe painting.”
THE DENVER POST
Of course, there are many, many more accolades. However, on a personal note, the author’s poetic, yet realistic prose can transport readers’ minds into a different state of consciousness.
In an interview with Salon when the Hardcover was published last year, Dawn explains how a 2009 exhibit at the Whitney Museum changed her perspective of Georgia.
I was actually 60 pages into another novel when I saw that exhibit. I don’t always know intellectually what’s driving me into a story, but I feel it in my gut. I’ve always admired O’Keeffe’s art and I grew up with a really strong, vivid image of her in my head from that 1968 cover of Life magazine with the caption “stark visions of a pioneer painter”; that black-and-white image of her as an older woman with the desert spread out behind her. At the Whitney show, her abstractions were, for me, a revelation. They were visceral and cerebral, glowing exquisite shapes of color and form designed to express and evoke emotion. They were stunningly original.
I realized O’Keeffe was making abstractions as early as 1915 when she was only 27. At that time, not many other American artists were bold enough to be mucking around with that new language of art. I was really fascinated by that. I kept wondering at the museum: Who was the young artist who made this work? What did she think and feel and want? And the most driving question: Why is she not known for this? Why have I never seen the full range and scope of her abstract work before?
Also in that exhibit were excerpts from the letters O’Keeffe and Stieglitz exchanged. The language of those letters was sharply intimate; there was sexual passion, but also a deep creative passion. I ditched that other book and started to research her life. I never wanted to write a third person account; there are so many stellar, insightful biographies about O’Keeffe. But I believe fiction can get at a different side of truth that’s more experiential, psychological and emotional.
This is such a great example of how creativity sparks alternate directions and mind shifts, the how and why creatives create. And, although it’s fictional, Dawn gives a voice to Georgia who confesses to having only her art to truly express herself.
Although numerous biographies exist on Georgia O’Keefe, Dawn offers a more personalized portrait of who this bold and talented woman. And I believe she was successful because the author is also a photographer.
Living on the southcoast of Massachusetts, Dawn shares her morning beach pictures on Instagram, no matter what the season. And, yes, I have told her, “I don’t know what I love more, your literary voice or your photographer’s eye.” Both are captivating and vividly exquisite.
[A daisy love recommendation to Randy Susan Meyers for her new novel, The Widow of Wall Street, already receiving 5 star reviews.
Do you like “Compelling? This is a great read . . . An engrossing emotional journey.” (Kirkus Reviews OR “[A]n engaging and sharp reflection of the rapid changes in marital dynamics over the course of the 20th century, as well as a cautionary tale about the dangers and allure of ambition in the heyday of Wall Street.” (Publishers Weekly)
If the answer is yes, pick this book up!]