On a recent visit to a local
library to peruse some art books
I came across the artist
Joan Mitchell. The bold color
and sweeping strokes on the
cover quickly caught my
Without too much reading I
felt the expressive, energetic
quality within each piece. The colors
had a clarity about them and a
lyrical movement in relationship
with each other.
Sunflowers - 1990-1991
Ms. Mitchell was born in Chicago
in 1926 and she has a long history
of success since childhood.
She became a championship figure skater,
and competitive athlete skilled
in tennis and other things.
Clearly a young woman of discipline!
Although, in reading it sounds
like her father was quite a force
behind all that. I read that art
became a way out for Joan as she felt it
was an area in which her father could
Ms. Mitchell pursued art earning both
a BFA and MFA at the Art Institute
of Chicago. She made many connections
there, later moved to France where she would
reside until her death in 1992.
Death was a topic Mitchell contemplated
often and is quoted as saying:
Minnesota - 1980
"Painting is the opposite
of death, it permits one to survive, it
also permits one to live."
She was afraid of death - maybe like
many of us as it's a connection to
the great unknown. But this fear
got channeled into her vibrant
and very expressive paintings taking
Ms. Mitchell into the realm of
being one of the few female
artists to gain recognition as
an American Abstract Expressionist.