Four Famous Women Who Loved to Paint, Write, Sing, and Act

Four Famous Women Who Loved to Paint, Write, Sing, and Act

The urge to create is in each one of us. Our individual need to express ourselves is a vital part of who we are. The poet Walt Whitman once wrote that we are all born with the desire to “sound our barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world.”


Since the beginning of time, women have expressed themselves through art, literature, song, dance, and theatre. For many years the beauty of their artistic messages went unnoticed. Nearly two thousand poems by Emily Dickinson went unpublished until after her death.


Here are four women whose creations continue to leave their artistic marks on us.


Georgia O’Keeffe



Georgia O'KeefeGeorgia O’Keeffe was an artist born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, November 15, 1887. Her full name was Georgia Totto O’Keeffe. She painted in oils and watercolors. Her large paintings are full of sensual flowers and landscapes of the southwest. She lived a very long life and died in Sante Fe, New Mexico at the age of 98. Georgia O’Keeffe is known as the Mother of American Modernism.


Georgia O’Keeffe

Like the baby’s sky

that lives beyond

the gentle touch of truth,

her pastels rise softer

than a daylight dream.

Her golden eyes

belong to the stars

of another world

where shade and shape and hue

of yellow, purple, blue

unfurl like calla lilies

in a field of lilac.

In warm, blending tones

of sleeping summer babies,

she wakes our eyes

to new worlds

full of color,

motion, and light.

©Charles Ghigna



Emily Dickinson



Emily DickinsonEmily Elizabeth Dickinson was a poet born in Amherst, Massachusetts, December 10, 1830. After college she moved back home and lived much of her life as a recluse, rarely leaving her house. It was not until after her death that her younger sister, Lavinia, discovered Emily’s nearly two thousand poems hidden away in her room. Dickinson’s complete works were not published until seventy years after her death, yet she is now considered to be one of America’s most popular poets.


Emily Dickinson

Stanza upon stanza,

her elegant extravaganza

of poem upon unpublished poem

came to life upon her death,

gave birth and endless breath

to old worlds made new.

©Charles Ghigna


Sarah Vaughan

1924 – 1990


Sarah VaughnSarah Vaughan was a blues singer born in Newark, New Jersey, March 27, 1924. She began taking piano lessons at age seven and organ at age eight. By age twelve, she was playing and singing in her church choir. She won a vocal contest at the Apollo Theater when she was sixteen and began singing professionally when she was eighteen. She was one of the greatest female scat singers of Bebop jazz. Her later recordings featured many popular songs. Her nickname was “The Divine One.”


Sarah Vaughan

An infant speaks,

a young girl sighs,

an old man laughs

to hide his cries.

When she sang

her sultry song,

clear blue skies

from now on.

How gentle is the rain

that falls softly on the meadow.

Birds high up in the trees

serenade the flowers with their melodies.

See there beyond the hills

the bright colors of the rainbow,

some magic from above

made this day for us just to fall in love.

©Charles Ghigna


Bette Davis



Bette DavisRuth Elizabeth “Bette” Davis was an actor born in Lowell, Massachusetts, April 5, 1908. She appeared in plays on Broadway and starred in more than one hundred movies. She became the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is often regarded as one of the greatest actors in the history of Hollywood.


Bette Davis

The deep timbre of her

husky voice

played upon the drums

of our ears,

set us all on edge,

made us sit up in our seats

like obedient puppies

waiting for her command.

Her magnetic eyes

held us in her spell,

cast us into new worlds

and made us all believe in magic.

©Charles Ghigna


Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books for children and adults from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers. His poems appear in hundreds of magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. For more information, please visit his website at