Posted by: Inner~Creative~Voice | January 3, 2008


okeefe_skull1.jpgGeorgia O’Keeffe, Deer’s Skull with Pedernal, 1936

Took the kids to a nature center today (Hager Park link: ) for a discussion on mammals and birds.  We were able to look at many skulls and animal pelts.  We learned a great deal about types of teeth and fur and what makes each animal unique and adaptable.  Then, we went on a long hike and looked for tracks. 

What was of great interest to me was the difference and intracacy of the skulls.  Beautiful bone and enamal.  Some were very delicate, like the bird’s skulls…their bones are hollow for flight.  Some were very tough and durable, like the beaver…they cut down whole trees with their teeth and need a solid skull to handle the blows. 

Each has its own character and could be sketched in endless directions.  I think this will be on my “to do” list….observe skulls and attempt to sketch…especially up inside the nose cavity…amazing!

I was put in the mind of Georgia O’Keefe.  The picture above depicts and animal from a very different area, but the essence is the same…take a look at nature and it tells you a deep story.

What do you notice in the O’Keefe painting?  What story does it tell?



  1. How wonderful you took the time to learn about mammals and birds! Skulls do tell a great deal and and must have been a great thing for the kids!

  2. Hmmmm…. whenever I see a skull I try to imagine the animal’s face. At first the face is fairly general, I’m just picturing the animal as it may be drawn in a book. Then I look to see how old the skull is. Now the face becomes a little more distinct, showing age and intelligence or innocence. Then I look to see if I can tell if it’s female or male (not my strongest skill at identifying). Now the face takes on even more detail. For example: a bear skull. We all know what bears look like. Picture it. Now, the bear is 10 years old. Some grey around it’s nose, it’s fatter in the face. The eyes have seen many feasts, famine, winters and hot summers. Now: it’s male. Perhaps a scar across his cheek. He’s stockier, his face more square, he moves slowly. His eyes more wild, intense, never knowing offspring and always alone. He almost seems to be sour. Now erase him, and start fresh: A bear. A 4 year old – healthy, energetic, knowing, moving with intent beauty. A female. More delicate, her face is smooth and her fur shiny. She has cared for cubs, she is loving and warm. Her eyes are liquid. Although she has hunted for fish and eaten berries in the same fashion as the male, she is a much different being. Now put them side by side. Their skulls, while perhaps a little different in size, would be exactly the same. Skulls are fascinating.

    The image you posted actually brings me to humans, not animals. Who decided to hang the skull on a tree or post? Did this human kill the animal? Did they find it? The animal’s face is hard to see through the human influence. I see a Texan landscape, or at the least plains, dryness, men with guns, dust…I’ll go back to the bears. A two month old cub. Male. Playing…

    Thanks for sharing –

  3. You are a wonderful poet!

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