Category Archives: Artists

Who was Joan Mitchell?

“That’s why I paint, because I don’t exist anymore.”

In one of my recent art classes, my professor assigned each student an artist that we were to do a presentation on. I was assigned an artist by the name of Joan Mitchell and ever since then, she has been my favorite artist.

My professor told me that she was associated with Abstract Expressionism, but I had never heard of her before. When I hear “Abstract Expressionism” I immediately think of artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. So when I was given this artist that I had never heard of I was very excited to do some digging.

Joan Mitchell was known as a second generation abstract expressionist. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago and later moved to France to kick start her career. It was in France that her paintings started to become more abstract. Many people were against her because she was a female abstract expressionist. Back in those times, it was more accepted for an the artists to be male. Most of her paintings are large scale panels. When asked if painting was suppose to be about an experience, her response was “I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s just a rectangle with a lot of paint on it.”

I could go on and on about Joan Mitchell, but then this would be a really long blog post. In your spare time, I would definitely recommend researching her and her work. A great documentary to watch on her is Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter. 

Mark Rothko

When I was first introduced to Mark Rothko’s work, I didn’t understand it. I thought, “How is this even considered art? He painted two colored shapes.” But as I continued to study his work, it grew on me.

Mark Rothko is another artist that is associated with Abstract Expressionism. Though he refused to be categorized within any art movement, he was closely associated with the Abstract Expressionists. He is also considered to be a Color Field painter. Rothko created a new form of abstract painting. Most of Rothko’s well known paintings are those consisting of fields of color and light.

His paintings allow viewers to ponder and be held captive by the depth that the painting encompasses.

The Jackson Pollock

“When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing.”

One of the most influential of all Abstract Expressionist painters was Jackson Pollock. Jackson Pollock was well known for his technique of drip painting. This drip painting technique led to what is known as action painting. Pollock used hardened brushes and sticks to drip, smear, and splatter paint. By not painting on the normal upright surface, this allowed more freedom in applying paint in all directions.

Pollock was married to American painter Lee Krasner. He died in a single car crash due to driving under the influence.