Eric Carle & Georgia O'Keeffe


There are two books that stand out in my memory as my "go-to" childhood reads: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. While Dr. Seuss' cadence of words was captivating, it was Eric Carle's visual compositions that completely memorized me. His ability to create a collage that was original (he makes his own papers) and told a story is truly fantastic. When I flip through this book today, I find that I love it just as much as I did when I was four. I love how Eric Carle uses the book pages in a creative way to propel the story. If you are ever in Amherst, Massachusetts, I totally suggest visiting The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. It is definitely well worth the trip and you will not be disappointed.

When I was a senior in high school, I had the privilege of being selected to enroll in "Senior Portfolio," a year-long course focused around creating a portfolio for admission into art school. This was my favorite class during my four years of high school. I became very close to my classmates and my art teacher, Mrs. Zoglio. For my birthday, she gave me Eric Carle's The Very Quiet Cricket, because she felt that it reflected who I was as a person, as a student, and as an artist. It was one of the kindest presents I'd ever received. I still own the book and every so often flip through it to remember Senior Port. I learned so much about history and technique, and I really challenged myself artistically. One artist I studied who stuck with me with was Georgia O'Keeffe.

Besides being a strong woman artist in a male-dominated area, she also brought American art to Europe and lived until she was 98. The woman was a pretty kick-ass lady. She would camp out in the deserts of New Mexico so she could feel close to the environment, battling winds that would knock over her easel and the scotching sun, which would force her to crawl under her car for respite. O'Keeffe was best known for her abstract paintings of rocks, skulls, flowers, and the desert. I must note, it took a while to find a painting to include in this blog that did not resemble female genitalia (O'Keeffe repeatedly denied that she painted her flowers to look vaginal...I'm not quite buying it.) We watched a documentary on her in Senior Portfolio, which was shot towards the end of her life. I would suggest renting it - she really is one-of-kind.

So Mashup #4 uses the collage technique of Eric Carle to create an O'Keeffe abstract floral composition.

Materials: Handmade collage papers made from paint and tissue paper; illustration board; X-acto knife and cutting board; paintbrush & glue; image to work from & tracing paper; pastel pencil.

1. The first item of business was to create my tissue papers for collage. Eric Carle has a great step-by-step presentation on his website showing how to do this. [Click here to watch.] I will say, after creating these papers I respect Eric Carle even more than I did before - this job was so tedious!

2. I then traced out the major pieces of my image and cut the illustration board (on which I would glue my tissue paper) to the correct size.

3. Working with my tracing, I placed it over one of the pieces of tissue paper and cut out the image. I then glued this cutout onto the illustration board, using watered-down glue and a paint brush. Working in batches I continued the process until the entire image was glued on the board.

4. To define some of the petals I used a pastel pencil to outline the contour lines.

I did enjoy the process of the mashup, although I'm still on the fence about the final product. I'm not sure if you can tell it's a flower, but then again, at least I know it's not a vagina.


  1. I think it is my favorite so far! Way to go!
    Love, Mom

  2. Beth! I just found your page via Facebook! What an awesome mashup idea - I love it!