Over the past six weeks, I’ve enjoyed three living history presentations given by Colleen Webster. These events were sponsored by the Harford Artist Association and were well attended. Ms. Webster makes an art out of telling stories about creatives of long ago who left their mark on this world. Thanks to the ephemera they left behind and the protection of copyright laws, their bodies of work live on in public domains such as in art museums, on shelves in libraries and bookstores, and in oral history stories.
The first living history presentation featured artist Rita Kahlo. Learning about her personality and traumatic occurrences throughout her life helped me to understand her art. There is little doubt both became artistically rendered through her craft. Her painting sustained her through difficulty and tragedy. There is more about this performance on this blog post called Interpreting Art and Life.
The 2nd in the series was about the life of painter artist Georgia O’Keefe who is most frequently associated with her images of stunning poppies and her studio and residence in New Mexico. Here is an article I wrote some years ago on allthingsfulfilling.com after visiting the O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe. O’Keefe’s life was long, she lived to nearly 100, so there was plenty I wasn’t aware of which was brought out in Colleen Webster’s oral portrayal of the artist.
The subject of the third living history performance by Colleen Webster was about author and poet Dorothy Parker. Like Kahlo and O’Keefe she too was born before her time. It took enormous vulnerability on the part of all three to pursue their art and live so independently and so differently than others of their gender in their day and age. The women all lived lifestyles that many would describe as gutsy, rash, reckless and irresponsible. Yet, it was their love for their art that kept propelling them forward. O’Keefe freely admitted “she was scared every day of her life,” but pursued her passion anyway. How’s that for unstoppable and driven?
I’d like to thank the Harford Artist Association for bringing these very memorable performances to our community. For more information on other living history presentations by Colleen Webster and her schedule of events, please visit her website.
According to an article about intentional creativity, art is derived from our communications with ourselves. From these oral presentations, the audience could better understand each artists life and how the fulfillment of it was translated into their art. The “Red Thread Chronicles” articulates stories of the power of art on women’s lives globally. Check it out.
“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” ― Georgia O’Keeffe