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Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Women in The Shadows

Prompted by my excitement over the show that's touring the U.S,, I've been seeking out the women painters who favored Abstract Expressionism and using photos of them as drawing references. While looking at them closely, I wondered why they chose that style that emphasized color and gesture over articulated forms?  Because their famous husbands and lovers did?  Or because the AbEx offered a way to say what was on their minds without saying what was on their minds?  Were they happy in the shadows? Or were they so furious, words wouldn't do?  The movement took place in the fifties, sixties and seventies, the era of white calfskin gloves, hats, girdles and garter belts, all clothing that binds.

The style is about the beauty of paint, color, texture and most of all,  the grand gesture. The paintings are large and bold. The subject is emotions, but sometimes there's a glimpse of vague forms to give us a hint what prompted the response. The paintings shout.  They dominate space with color and size. They assert power. The style was perfect for the times. The paintings are alive and in constant motion--as was the women's movement.

 Action painting, as the style was also called,  is exhilarating.  It is the painting style that gave me bad knees from duck-walking around large canvases.   But I always came away from the studio feeling on top of the world.  The fact that many paintings, theirs and mine, were unresolved,  pinned down, tidied up and finished, didn't bother me.  That's life!

These are three AbEx painters whose work is on exhibit in Denver.  October 22nd through January 22nd, the show will be at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I put it on my calendar.    


Pearl Fine, AbEx, 6" x 8" study.  Her squint and the cigarette dangling from her lips is so
reminiscent of an earlier life,, I had to take a closer look

Pearl Fine thumbnail.  There's a portrait here that rivals the women Waiting At The Gate.

Pencil drawings will have to do for a while.  Tomorrow is my knee surgery; walking steps and standing for long periods will be as annoying in recovery as it has been these last three months--but the good news is recovery pain  goes away quickly. I can't wait to stand and paint, dance and paint, walk to the lake and ride my bike.  I am looking forward to getting up at four tomorrow morning and get the healing process started.  Happy painting!  It's a blessing whatever style turns you on.  


  1. All the best wishes for your surgery and recovery, Linda!!! For me it's not clear yet what is to be done about my knee.

    1. Thanks Judy. Surgery is history. Recovery has begun. I should be drawing again soon--as soon as I get past people telling me do this, do that, you'll feel better. And they are right! Everyday just a little bit better.

  2. So how is the recovery coming along? I'll be happy to see you back on your feet covered in paint, I know how you've missed it. My joints have learnt to live with me ... now migraine is having to learn as well. I still get to play all day though - the boat is looking like a boat now. Stay in touch, buddygirl

  3. I am doing very well thank you. No walker needed. No cane needed either, I carry them around the house though just in case I'm being overly confident. Next week I have a series of doctor appointments, one of them post op. After that physica therapy for however long? I am looking forward to it.