Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Reading About Other Artists

I have read quite a few good books about artists lately.  There are so many biographies around now, fat books that take a long time to read.  I find them fascinating; it is endlessly interesting to read about the struggles and the successes.  'Lee Krasner, a Biography' by Gail Levin; 'Agnes Martin Pioneer, Painter, Icon' by Henry Martin; 'Edward Hopper An Intimate Biography' by Gail Levin; 'Joan Mitchell Lady Painter' by Patricia Albers are examples of the many you can find in your favourite bookstores (mine happens to be Pulpfiction Books on Main Street here in Vancouver - or if you are in the depths of Kerrisdale, Hager Books will find them for you).

'Ninth Street Women' is a heavy tome that was sitting on my friend Bob Christie's desk when I was in Saskatoon a while ago.  Pretty soon it was sitting on my desk also.  The author Mary Gabriel chronicles the lives of female artists who were very involved in the abstract expressionist movement but didn't get the attention the guys got.  Now it seems to be their time - some fabulous paintings are hitting the auctions with great success.

Myself, sometimes I feel like an imposter because I didn't go to art school and didn't start painting until I was over 20.   That was not the problem with these artists.  They were fully engaged in the process of painting and learning to paint and figuring out how to get better from an early age and completely committed to the challenge.  They were driven in a powerful way to make canvases, engaging new and innovative ways to put down the paint.