Pearls from artists* # 560
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
In describing her technique, Joan [Mitchell] once said, “I don’t go off and slop and drip. I ‘stop, look, and listen!’ at railroad tracks. I really want to be accurate.” One can imagine every stroke applied, every drizzle of pigment – both those visible in the finished work and those buried beneath its many layers – being the result of just such consideration. The majesty of Joan’s painting, which she would call City Landscape, was a quality it shared with all great art – the sense that it had always existed, and that during one inspired moment it had been dredged from the subconscious depths by a hand and mind graced with the talent and vision to retrieve it for the rest of us. That revealing work, so exuberant, so deep, so masterful, and so unlike the shards and violent explosions that had been her signature, was the result of Joan’s having survived a personal hell and her own imperfections. It was her prize for having persevered, and all who saw it were the beneficiaries.
Mary Gabriel in Ninth Street Women
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