NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Students from New Rochelle High School’s PAVE Visual Arts 1, 2 and 3 classes, as well as Drawing & Painting 2/3 and AP Art 2D classes, visited the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx this week to see the “Georgia O’Keeffe Visions Of Hawai’i” exhibition of her paintings.
The exhibit includes 20 of Georgia O’Keeffe’s little-known depictions of Hawai’i from a nine-week sojourn in 1939 while on commission to produce images for a Dole (then known as Hawaiian Pineapple Company) promotional campaign. The exhibit coincides with a lush flower show in the Haupt Conservatory, which explores the beauty and variety of Hawaiian flora, as well as its complex botanical and cultural history.
The 83 students drew flowers in pencil from direct observation. Back in class this week, they enhanced their artworks with ink and watercolors. They also took photographs of flowers at the gardens; they will use the compositions of the images to create oil paintings inspired by O’Keeffe’s works in the exhibition.
“Being able to experience the beauty of the New York Botanical Gardens, and draw the wide variety of flowers from direct observation in the same manner as O’Keefe was a wonderful opportunity,” teacher Alexi Brock said. “Seeing her paintings in real life, to really experience the sense of scale, texture and color – not being viewed on a phone or computer screen, or in reproduction – is immeasurable. We are lucky to have the cultural richness of New York City and its boroughs just a close bus ride away. We try to connect the students to ‘real time’ exhibits that are in the current media dialogue.”
The visit is part of the high school Art Department’s commitment to seeing art in local and city cultural institutions. The trip was planned and organized by NRHS Art Teachers Brock, Moira McCaul and Scott Seaboldt.