There she visited Alfred Stieglitz's art gallery 291 where she was exposed to such artists as Matisse and Rodin. She did not return to the Student League in 1908 as she became discouraged with her work, she instead returned to Chicago and took work as a commercial artist. She did not pick up a paintbrush for four years, the smell of turpentine, she said, made her sick.
She them moved back to Virginia in 1909 and four the next four years took teaching jobs in Texas and Virginia. Her interest in painting was rekindled in 1914 when she moved back to New York and enrolled in Columbia Teacher's College. By the fall of 1915 she was teaching art at Columbia College in South Carolina. It was In South Carolina that she began to experiment with charcoal. She sent a series of abstract charcoal drawings to a classmate from Columbia, Anne Pollitzer.
Anne, going against Georgia's wishes to not show the drawings to anyone brought them to Alfred Stieglitz. "They are the purest, finest, sincerest things to enter 291 in a long while,aE he said. He exhibited ten of her drawings
In the fall of 1916 Okeefe took a job teaching at West Texas State Normal College. During this time she would take trips to the nearby Paolo Duro, hi