The musings of a landscape painter, art teacher, and art history lover
Joan Mitchell's Visual Poetry
Joan Mitchell (February 12, 1925 – October 30, 1992) is one of my favorite abstract expressionists. Colors swim through her paintings with a resounding buoyancy and joie de vivre. Mitchell was part of the New York school of abstract expressionist painters during the 1950's. What's wonderful about her work, is how important color is in her visual language. So many of the New York School painters, worked in monotones and dark values, but not Mitchell. She studied the French colorists, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh, bringing their color sense to her large, abstracted surfaces.
I often think of my own paintings as poems. Short, poignant moments, frozen in time on the canvas. Joan mitchell seemed to feel the same way. She once stated, "My paintings repeat a feeling about Lake Michigan, or water, or fields...it's more like a poem...and that what I want to paint." Indeed, her vigorous dashes and smears of color, speak of landscapes without ever being that specific. They are the essence of memories sparking like poetic kaleidoscopes on canvas. Each one, its own unique poem.
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Author: Bruce Black
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