There is a similarity here with a geographical map, where we look down on a river which makes its way through the countryside. A number of smaller streams then come off the main body of water and disappear in different directions. O'Keeffe was a great fan of the outdoors, having been brought up in a fairly rural part of the US. She would then spend time living in the city, though, and this period would also inspire content choices within her career. The artist liked to focus on particular details of everyday objects and scenes and in doing so the overall context would be left out, meaning that a new abstract world could be created in which these new finer details were much harder to identify.
Artists have worked on their drawing talents for many centuries, and for a long time it was not possible to be taken seriously unless this medium was entirely mastered. Today, things are a little more open-minded but it is still normally the first discipline that art students are introduced to. O'Keeffe was the same in that regard but remained happy to work with charcoal for several years before she finally started to devote more attention to oils instead. Her education was also dominated by drawing which was easier to teach in terms of resources and also was important in understanding many of the fundamental elements of art which could then be stretched across all manner of other mediums such as painting and sculpture. It was then the influence of others which persuaded O'Keeffe to try out alternative ideas.
In order to understand the importance of the drawing medium over the years, it is necessary to study some of the old masters who themselves were highly impressive in sketching. Rembrandt, for example, produced some of the most exquisite drawings in history, with highlights including the likes of Seated Old Man, The Entombment of Christ and Kneeling Man. He himself would take these abilities across into other disciplines such as etching and engraving, both of which were seen regularly during the more traditional periods of European art. Rembrandt continues to be considered one of the most talented artists of all time, and although his style was very different to that of O'Keeffe, she would have studied the great masters in detail in order to glean important technical pointers as she continued to learn her trade.