NOT LETTING AGE DEFINE MY LIFE OR STYLE

Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibition | Exploring Tate Modern

'Men put me down as the best woman painter…… 

I think I’m one of the best painters.'

Georgia O’Keeffe


So sayeth one of the great painters of the 20th century.  Georgia O'Keeffe was one kick ass lady! She knew she wanted to be an artist before she was 12 years old.

Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibition Guide, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

Her first major exhibition was in New York in 1916 so it's fitting that a century later, we're celebrating her work.  Tate Modern's blockbuster of a summer exhibition brings over 100 of her paintings together, spread over 13 rooms.  And living so close to the capital as I do, I was champing at the bit to see this exhibition.

As an art lover, I of course knew about her and knew her work but until a couple of Sundays ago, I realised I only really knew a tiny fraction of her work - her famous and infamous flower paintings. I didn't know how much she railed (quite rightly) against being seen as a 'female' painter and railed even more against the misinterpretation of said flower paintings, as having sexual meaning.  I mean how reductive a view is that simply because you're looking at a flower close up?  And how insulting to the artist when the artist has clearly stated what her intention was behind her flower paintings:


'When people read erotic symbols into my paintings, 
they're really talking about their own affairs.'

That's the joy of going to exhibitions; discovering new and unexpected things, of which this exhibition delivers in spades.

But before we go on a journey through her work, allow me to take you on a pre-exhibition journey through Bankside, the area where Tate Modern is.  We decided to make a day of it starting with brunch at the Albion - part café/restaurant, part shop.

The Albion, Neo Bankside | Petite Silver Vixen

Tall Brown Fox and I shared their meat platter for two with the biggest curl of pork crackling I've ever seen perched on top! And mighty fine crackling it was too.

We munched our way through two kinds of ham, beef, chorizo, salamis, meat paté, chutney, red onions and a scotch egg. Being as much an unashamed foodie as I am culture vulture, I would've preferred a whole or at least a half scotch egg to the quarter on the platter, simply because it was so tasty and sharing a quarter between two foodies is a little fiddly!

Meat Platter at The Albion, Neo Bankside | Petite Silver Vixen

With it being a beautiful, bright sunny day, we couldn't pass on eating en plein air.  All the better to appreciate the new Tate extension, literally across the road from where we were sitting.

View of Switch House, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

The South Bank by the gallery is a far cry from what it was even 10 years ago.  Lots of expensive flats and new office buildings popping up.  I'm not so sure I'd want to live in such a fish tank.  I'm sure the views from the flats higher up are great but the downside is, your space is on show!  

I hope the teddy bear is enjoying the view!

Teddy Bear at Neo Bankside Flats | Petite Silver Vixen

It's an interesting area to wander around and you have the benefit of being either riverside or within spitting distance of the Thames. Sprinkled around the NEO Bankside development are various striking stone sculptures by Emily Young.

They certainly set the right mood for what was to come.

Emily Young Sculpture | Petite Silver Vixen

Emily Young Sculpture | Petite Silver Vixen

Fortified by our carnivore lunch, it was time to get up close and personal with the Switch House. Tate Modern was originally a power station and is now composed of two, connecting buildings, their names reflecting their industrial past.  The main gallery - the Boiler House - is the old power station which includes the vast Turbine Hall.  The new extension is the Switch House.

We purposely chose to go in through this entrance rather than the main riverside one and you certainly appreciate the pyramid design from this side.  This brick ziggurat rises 10 stories high.  The extension has been done very sympathetically and I particularly liked the external facade of the brickwork pattern.  Very in keeping with its older, neighbouring building.

View of Switch House, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

View of Switch House, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

'A once-in-a-generation chance to explore a figure entirely absent from British collections.'
Financial Times

With a review like that, you'd be foolish to miss up this chance to enjoy an artist whose body of work spanned over 7 decades.

A quick snap before we went in!

Outside Switch House, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

Exhibition Tips: 

- It's worth buying the audio guide.  It's just under £5 which is on the pricey side I feel for exhibition audio guides so Tall Brown Fox and I shared one between us.  The unexpected benefit of having the guide was that you actually get to hear Georgia speak about her work from old recordings, as well as insights from the curators of the exhibition. 

- Allow about 2 hours if you really want to absorb it all at a leisurely pace. It's a popular exhibition so sometimes we had to wait a couple of minutes to be able to stand right in front of paintings we were really interested in.

- Wear comfortable shoes.  Only some of the rooms have central benches in them to sit on.

- Or opt to take one of the folding stools provided at the entrance to the exhibition.  Then you'll have your own portable seat!

I had to have a photo taken of me standing next to the exhibition poster at the entrance to the gallery. It depicts probably one of her most well known paintings - Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, painted in 1932.

It was completely by chance that I happened to be channeling my inner Georgia O'Keeffe by wearing colours so in tune with the poster - teal, navy - plus a floral blazer!

Petite Silver Vixen next to O'Keeffe Exhibition Poster, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

'I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.'
Georgia O’Keeffe

One criticism often levelled at O'Keeffe is how photographic her work was.  Yes, she was influenced by photography - her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, was one after all.  She was also friends with Ansel Adams - another unexpected, delightful nugget I learned. Yes, a delight as he's one of my favourite photographers!  There are a few of his and Stieglitz's photographs in the exhibition, along with copies of books and a sketch book of Georgia's.  I love it when personal items are included.

Her paint is smooth and utterly flat to the canvas, unlike the oil paintings say of Dutch masters where up close, you can literally see the oils rising off the canvas in ripples.  But there is incredible depth to the paintings through perspective and use of colours.

Obviously no photography is allowed once inside the exhibition.  To give you a flavour of what we viewed, here are 2 works from the exhibition that really resonated with me.

Red and Orange Streak, 1919

By 1919 Georgia had moved from Texas to New York.  Many of her paintings from this time reflect how she wanted to try and capture some of the sights and sounds of her time from living in a place so different to the city.  She was fascinated by the spectacular Texan storms she saw, and when she went on night time walks, how noises coming out of the dark such as cattle lowing or train whistles, would apparently evoke certain shapes and colours.

Works from this period clearly show she understood and had an interest in synesthesia and in particular, chromesthesia, which is a sound-to-colour form of synesthesia.

For me, this was the most striking and breathing piece in the exhibition.


From the Lake, 1924 

Georgia and Alfred had a summer house at Lake George, in upstate New York.  As with her New York City paintings, it was clear how much she thrived not only the environment around her, but on the palette that that environment gave her.  

Georgia was a master of colour graduation.  At first glance this painting looks dark and incomprehensible.  But look closer and you'll see extraordinary shades and tones of colour that swirl, merge and seep into each other.  Grey, indigo, purple, mulberry, teal, yellow, aqua, all atmospherically indicating stormy weather over Lake George in abstract form.


Another landscape that informed her work was that of the South West.  You really can feel the expanse of the sky, the aridity of the earth and rocks.

I loved seeing her interpretations of a landscape that clearly meant so much to her but which is so unfamiliar to me.

Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibition Guide, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

The exhibition shop is an O'Keeffe buyers delight!

I didn't buy anything as I haven't put up yet some of the prints from the numerous other exhibitions I've been too!  But I was tempted!

Georgia O'Keeffe Prints, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibition Prints, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibition Prints, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibition Prints, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibition Prints, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen
After we'd viewed the exhibition, next stop was up, up and away! 

We could hardly make a visit to Tate Modern and not experience the 2 viewing levels.

Petite Silver Vixen standing on viewing platform, Tate Modern | Petite Silver Vixen

Especially on such a picture postcard day as this!  

Doesn't St Paul's Cathedral look magnificent, on the other side of the Thames?

View from Tate Modern across to St Paul's Cathedral | Petite Silver Vixen

I was breaking myself in gently.  Next stop was the viewing level right at the top of Switch House. 

Pluses - a 360° view of London.
Minuses - It's blinkin' high!  It's very narrow. 

Oh dear, vertigo inducing!

My odd expression is due not only to looking right into direct sunlight but also from trying not to freak out at being so near the rail, despite the fact that it's almost as tall as me!  The things I do for blogging.  

At least I got you a good snap of the Shard in the background!

Tate Modern Viewing Terrace, Shard in background  | Petite Silver Vixen

Looking much happier as I'm almost back at ground level - phew.  Soaking up the industrial grandeur of the Turbine Hall, which currently isn't housing any exhibitions.

Perfect for a spot of outfit posing, about which you can read here.

Standing in Turbine Hall, Tate Modern  | Petite Silver Vixen

Autumn Styling Boden crop trousers, M&S floral jacket | Petite Silver Vixen

Autumn Styling Boden crop trousers, M&S floral jacket | Petite Silver Vixen

There's a choice of eating places inside the Tate but as we'd passed a branch of Gail's, the Artisan Bakery, on the way to lunch (it's a couple of doors down from The Albion), we popped in there for tea and cake before wending our way home.  It would've been rude not too!

Deep in conversation with another of Emily Young's sculptures.

It's got its eye on my brown paper bag.  No wonder, it probably could smell the walnut and honey bread inside it that we bought at Gail's!  Utterly delicious toasted and smothered in butter.  The bread that is, not the sculpture.  The sculpture wouldn't fit in our toaster.

Petite Silver Vixen Next to Emily Young Sculpture | Petite Silver Vixen

O'Keeffe Footnote

Living in London, and having travelled much more in Europe than North America, I'm steeped in the history of European art and culture.  I'm less familiar with American artists, so it was visually refreshing to experience a painter who is rightly acknowledged as being one of the founding artists and exponents of modernism and abstract art in the United States.

Georgia O'Keeffe Exhibition at Tate Modern is on until 30th October.  Catch it before it closes.

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How to Style Cropped Pants for Early Autumn | Floral Blazer | Navy, Teal & Pumpkin

The beginning of September was spent in linen and chambray shift dresses it was so sticky.  More a case of 'hotter than July', as the impeccable Mr Stevie Wonder sang, than the usual Indian Summer we experience in September in London.

But last weekend, temperatures dropped - thankfully - to levels more akin to early Autumn.  Although it's mid September, I'm far from ready to say adieu to my Summer wardrobe.  There'll be more than enough time ahead to be wrapped up in Winter garb; I'm eking out a number of my Summer staples, with a few minor tweaks for early Autumn.


It's not hot enough any more for flimsy summer skirts but we're not ready for wool ones.
The time for flaunting light weight linen trousers has receded.
We don't need coats but bare arms are a little too chilly.

What to wear when transitioning between seasons, when you often have both seasons in one day? 

Crop trousers are perfect for this time of year.  
They're ideally suited for the transitional seasons of Spring and Autumn.  

The pair I'm wearing were in fact bought last Spring.  Tailored from stretch cotton-elastane they have a medium weight feel to them, making them suitable workhorses again for my Autumn wardrobe, after a Summer off.



Now floral bombers are all the rage at the moment.  You can't turn a corner without being assailed by one.  Which of course is great, if you love bomber jackets.  But not everyone suits bombers.

If like me, you're short waisted, petite and have a bust, they can make you look like the Michelin Man Tyre Logo!  A look you want to avoid at all cost!

If you want to stay au courant, swap the floral bomber for a floral blazer!  
You'll gain this season's print in a style that suits.

Winter florals are a big trend for the coming months and although my floral jacket is light weight, the dark navy background means it doesn't look out of place in early Autumn.

I may still be wearing sandals but the tan colour along with the spicy pumpkin coloured bag, which brings out the colours of the jacket, make it more Autumnal in feel than Summer.




I played up the floral motif even more with a floral embroidery anglaise top in a contrasting yet complimentary colour to the jacket.  Autumn is all about rich colours.  The teal is a much more interesting choice to wear against the navy than blush or ivory.

The style of the necklace reminds me of sunflower or daisy petals; simple yet fitting.




Late Autumn And Beyond: 

And even when warm days become a memory this outfit will still work.  Here's how.

The Jacket
- Slip on a long sleeve tee underneath or a tie neck blouse and I can easily wear the jacket for a few more weeks to come.
- A cashmere polo or turtle necked jumper as a warm base layer, with the jacket on top as a colourful overlay.

The Crops
- I love the combination of tights and ankle boots in late Autumn with crops, to extend their wear.
- The beauty of these crop trousers is that as they're wide legged ones, there's room for knee high boots to be worn underneath them in Winter.

Realistically, these crops and jacket are versatile enough to take me through to those crisp, bright days we get in November.


Boden Richmond Wide Crop Trousers which come in Petite, Regular & Long in 3 colours.  They also do Flare Crop Trousers in 3 lengths/3 colours.  
River Island Black Cropped Trousers

Marks &Spencer Floral Jacket SS16 bought in the sale, now sold out.
Petite: ASOS Petite Satin Floral Jacket or ASOS Petite Floral Blazer currently in the sale.
Regular: ASOS Floral Blazer or Wallis Black Floral Blazer or what about this gorgeous longer length Vera Moda Floral Coat Jacket

Embroidery Anglaise top, last seen here.
New Look Pumpkin Tote Bag.  Dune Bag
Camaieu Necklace   Majique Metal Petal Necklace

Floral Fancy Footnote

Now before some of you ponder were these photos taken on a building site?  Well, yes, the background looks somewhat stark!

Tall Brown Fox and I were at Tate Modern, to view the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition that's currently on there.  We took advantage of the industrial grandeur that is the Turbine Hall, for our photo shoot.  All whilst dodging tourists and visitors, which ain't easy when they kept wandering aimlessly in to the shot!


Channelling my inner Georgia O'Keeffe!  

It was completely by chance that I happened to be channelling my inner Georgia O'Keeffe that day. Here I am next to the exhibition poster.

Crikey oh riley, how appropriate are the colours and the print of the jacket I'm wearing???????
I think Georgia would've approved!  I'll be posting later this week on the truly amazing exhibition.


How are you transitioning to Autumn?  What items of your Summer wardrobe will still be going strong in Autumn with a few tweaks?

Linking with  Not Dressed As Lamb / Confident Twosday / Garay Treasures /  Turning Head's Tuesday  /  Style Me Wednesday / ColorandGrace /  JerseyGirlTexanHeart / Living In Colour  / High Latitude Style   / Happiness At Midlife  / Eleganceandmommyhood  / A Labour of Life /  Curly Crafty Mom  / Fashion Should Be Fun /  A Pocketful Of Polkadots / Jeans And A Teacup / Nancy's Fashion Style / Fine Whatever /

How to Wear Yellow: Pale Lemon, Orange, Printed Mosaic Trousers

Are there certain colours you shy away from wearing because you find them just so darn tricky to wear?

They don't sit well on you, however you wear them.

And how many times have you heard someone say 'I can't wear yellow, I don't look good in it.'  And to be fair, it is one of the trickier colours for many women to wear.  For years, yellow was that colour for me.

I tried so many different shades in my effort to wear it, I nearly gave myself a sartorial hernia.

Gold never felt right on me.  I rarely wear gold jewellery.
Bright lemon - think lemon curd - made me look ill and jaundiced.  Too acidic for my skin.
Mustard made me look like I hadn't slept for 3 years.

I was convinced I couldn't wear it, even though I rather liked the idea of wearing such a bright and sunny colour.  However, the problem was I had unfairly tarred all yellows with the same brush, deciding that every yellow, from primrose to canary was verboten, when in reality I hadn't found the RIGHT shade to wear!

Time to apologise to yellow!


With my skin tone and colouring, there are certain colours I can wear all the shades and saturations of.

Take blue. I can wear every kind of blue from baby blue, cobalt, petrol blue to midnight navy.
The more blue the merrier, I say!  Tis my favourite colour.

But equally, there are a few colours where I have to tread carefully.

Take green. I can wear apple, emerald and forest green till the cows come home from the very green fields they've been grazing in.  But khaki, olive, lime.... will suck me dry and spit me out UNLESS ...

- they are worn in very small doses,
- are worn away from my face,
- or paired with colours I CAN wear to balance them out.

It was only a few years ago when I had my 'colours' done by a friend who was training to be a colour consultant and needed a guinea pig to practice on and I was a willing guinea pig to the extent I resembled an excitable 3 day old puppy, that I discovered the ONE shade of yellow that I COULD wear.   Sound the trumpets!

A soft pale lemon.  


My default yellow pairing is mostly navy or navy and white.  Classic, tried and tested, if not a little obvious. The benefit of blogging though, is that it pushes you away from comfort pairings to try colour combinations that are a little less familiar to you.

These trousers were a recent, end of sale buy a couple of weeks ago; something of an impulse purchase!  Summer had finally hit her stride back then, with blue skies, hot days and muggy nights in London.  Typical, huh? Just as we were saying au revoir to August!

I knew at first sight I could create an immediate outfit by highlighting the yellow in the trousers with the embroidery anglaise top, already in my wardrobe.

And as we increasingly say salut to September, adding my orange cardigan not only warms up the yellow (even better for my colouring), but I've an ideal outfit to transition from late Summer into early Autumn.

And when the leaves start turning and the days shorten, I'll just add a taupe leather jacket and swap the wedged sandals for ankle boots to stop my toes from turning the colour of my nail varnish.



Yellow Combinations I Wear:

My pairing here is quite zesty; colourful for Summer but the orange and cognac sandals also give a hint of Autumnal colours to come. A neat foot in each seasonal camp.  If like me and you've clear, porcelain skin with dark eyebrows, then here are other pale yellow pairings that work.

- As well as wearing pale lemon with the aforementioned navy for a very classic look why not swap navy for aqua or light teal?  As refreshing a look as a chilled glass of H2O.

- I sometimes wear yellow, silver grey and ivory for a soft, neutral look.

- Contrast colours always look good.  Pale yellow and charcoal grey are striking as are yellow and evergreen.

- But you can also do top to toe pastels.  On holiday in Copenhagen back in June, I teamed pale lemon with baby pink, accessorised with a two tone white and yellow bag.


But if you can carry strongly saturated yellows, take a leaf out of nature and be fiery!  Canary yellow with orange and red tones.

I photographed these Kees Nelis Tulips at The Eden Project a few years ago, when all the Spring tulips were in full bloom. Aren't they stunning?


Tips for wearing a tricky colour:

- Experiment to find the right shade that works for you before you toss a colour in the bin!
- If the colour or shade doesn't work near your face but you love wearing it, do so on the bottom half.
- Pair it with a colour/s that you can wear and which either compliments it or softens it.
- Wear it in a print with other colours - as with my printed trousers.
- Wear it as one small block small on your body.  I like to wear lemon yellow on my top half with a strong complimenting colour.  Here my pale yellow embroidery anglaise top is warmed up by my orange cardigan.
- Wear it as an accent colour in your accessories - bag, shoes or jewellery.


Tu at Sainsbury Pale Lemon Embroidery Anglaise Top SS16
Monsoon Orange cardigan (old) seen previously on the blog in my Citrus & Spice post.
Petite Wallis Mosaic Print Trousers; sold out but the Petite Mosaic Print Jumpsuit is still available in the sale
New Look Wedges sandals (old)

Mellow Yellow Footnote

It's always good to remind ourselves every now and then, that not all colours are equal.  Just as with some you'll be able to wear all shades, accept that with others there may be only one or two shades that work with your colouring.

Whilst yellow may not be a colour I naturally gravitate to, it's no longer consigned to the colour scrap heap in my wardrobe.  

What colours do you find tricky to wear?  And is yellow one of them?

Linking with  Not Dressed As Lamb / Confident Twosday / Garay Treasures /  Turning Head's Tuesday  /  Style Me Wednesday / ColorandGrace / High Latitude Style   / Happiness At Midlife / JerseyGirlTexanHeart  / Eleganceandmommyhood  / A Labour of Life / Fashion Should Be Fun /  A Pocketful Of Polkadots / Jeans And A Teacup / Nancy's Fashion Style / Fine Whatever /

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