So we all know Grandma Moses as being the most famous woman artist over 50. We respect her talent and giggle about her being a grandmother who was a self taught artist whose art hangs in many museums and auctions for big bucks. I don’t know of any other woman artist so celebrated in this age group. Please feel free and let me know if there are women artists who were successful after the age of 50.
I began showing my art at the age of 56. I came out of a 30 year artist block then. I went back to the Art Students League in NYC to study. The first thing I noticed was some of the male instructors would ignore me but were very helpful to the younger women. Most of the monitors were young men. So I became aware of being a second class citizen. I want to say that I did get enormous support from a small group of instructors with integrity. Thank you Michael Burban, Oldrich Teply, Dean Hartung Max Ginsburg, Barney Hodes.
I did my first group art show of my paintings in the Chelsea Room in the infamous Chelsea Hotel in 2010. That night was very exciting and as I looked around I noticed that I was the only woman artist in the show. And the only artist over 35! But I engaged the younger men and I never thought I was too old. After all an artist is an artist. Now after many years of showing my work I still am the oldest woman artist in group shows. Some of the young artists ignore me and some engage me as another artist. Sometimes they talk to me like a mother.
But the idea of being a creative woman of age has been a bee in my bonnet (talk about an old phrase, yikes!). There is a lot of age and gender discrimination in the art world. However, I push through it and have been successful for 10 years as a professional woman artist (of age). I don’t feel any difference because I’m good at my art and I don’t feel old next to anyone. We are equal with respect to being artists. And I do command respect for my talent. I also respect the talent of any artist.
I will continue to celebrate who I am: a talented ageless woman artist. Never stop pursuing being the artist you are.
Thank you Grandma Moses.
In another galaxy away from my blog for many months, I have been reclaiming my true self mentally. I had to withdraw from the world in order to get off a very powerful and destructive antidepressant I had been on for 16 years.
DISCLAIMER: This is my story and I am not endorsing that antidepressants are bad and everyone has to stop talking them. Please follow your doctor’s advice. Never stop cold turkey. It’s extremely dangerous.
Okay so I have been on psychiatric medication since the 1960s off and on. The reason was I had childhood trauma. They have been helpful for many of those years. However, I’m 65 now and many things physically are different. The last 16 years on the last medication was actually too long and I was becoming less productive in the last year. I started to experience more fear and anxiety. Less creativity. Withdrawal from people. More drugs were added and I got worse. I was under the drug spell. Believing that the drug was better than no drug. Until I went to pick up the latest drug and the pharmacist said the co-pay was $283!!!! For one month!!!! Faced with maintaining the suppression of depression or paying rent and eating I pushed the drugs back to the pharmacist and said “I don’t need these thank you “. Called my psychiatrist and said I’m over all these chemicals that are making me feel numb. I m over being dependent on meds that have me spellbound. So she didn’t try to change my mind and she agreed to wean me off.
It took 5 months of being dizzy, having brain zapping, leg pain, insomnia, anxiety, days when I couldn’t leave my house because I was not able to feel grounded. But today it’s 46 days clean!!!
46 days and I am seeing that I am not a depressed person. I stopped being depressed after I went back to doing my art. I do experience down times which is life but I embrace them. I am using exercise, diet, mindful practice, and walking in nature as my antidepressant. Another thing I became aware of was the depression I experienced had a lot to do with the anxiety of my untreated ADHD. So now I’m just treating my ADHD with less medication since I have stopped the antidepressant. I’m a different person today.
I did accomplish some wonderful things last month. A successful art show and sale. Preparing a iPad art workshop for the National Association of Women Artists for June. And this summer I am mentoring a 10 year old girl in art. And I negotiated a workshop for young men leaving prison to learn to create art on their iPads. The organization is called Getting Out and Staying Out.
I am the Jedi Artist who has returned!
THE ART SHOW
THE WITHDRAWAL PAINTINGS
I love a good murder mystery. But you never think artists are involved in such mysteries. Artists are too busy doing their art in solitude. So I bought an out of print book at the Strand bookstore in Union Square New York. This artist, Tom Thomson’s paintings were mesmerizing!!! “The Best of Tom Thomson” by Joan Murray (1986) is the book I bought and I never read the book and just looked at the pictures. I do that a lot. Then I decided to read about him as a possible blog post. Well it turns out Tom Thomson’s story ends with his mysterious death that has never been solved even with the coroner’s report of accidental drowning. His death has been researched for decades and many conspiracy theories have been written about. So WHO IS TOM THOMSON?
This is a story of a talented artist who could never believe in his talent.
ITS A STORY OF A TORTURED MIND OF DOUBT.
He would refer to himself as the “Bum Artist “. When visitors came to see his work in his studio he would welcome them with “Come in and see my junk”.
Tom Thomson did acquire iconic status as a wilderness painter in Canada even before his tragic death in 1917.
He is considered the most influential painter of the 20th Century. It was Thomson’s style that inspired the creation of the GROUP OF SEVEN “ wilderness landscape painters in 1920.
His best known paintings are “THE WEST WIND” and “THE JACK PINE ” shown below.
THE WEST WIND oil on canvas
THE JACK PINE 1916-17 oil on canvas
Tom Thomson has been called the Van Gogh of Canada. He was tall, dark and handsome always far too shy and humble. And his death came much too soon at the age of 39.
My next post on Tom Thomson’s death and how it continues to be a mystery centuries after will delve into the many theories.
Resources: www.wikipedia.com. http://Www.canadianmysteries.ca
MORE SHALL BE REVEALED.
A painting I am working on in my escape into landscapes theme.
The original acrylic on canvas
The iPad experiments
The first painting of the year is a prediction of where I am going. After a break from painting this is what appeared.
It was done in acrylic. 18″ x 14″
HOW TO GET OFF THE HINDENBURG!
My mind is still spinning. How did so many people drink the Kool Aid???? We’ve lost our minds.
The challenge is existing in a country run by a narcissistic sexual predator for 4 years. I’ve been afraid to post my feelings of this election but this is MY blog so I can do whatever I want. However, I’m not going to give attention to the future “Not My President “.
As an artist I am guided to help the pain in the world by creating beauty again. I don’t want to do anything political in art. I want to paint serenity in a time of darkness. My art has never been motivated by politics. My paintings are to escape insanity and to remind people that there is beauty.
I’m a mature artist so I will leave politics for the younger generation. The generation that tells me my art is “over the couch art “. Great I’ll take that market. I’m not proud. A lot of people like pretty paintings.
Anyway, my point is the lack of creativity and culture in our country created this mess. A creative mind would never have been led down this path. The mind that thinks creatively would see and hear the bullshit. The way out was limited but the choice made was a misinformed one.
A creative mind sees a bigger picture. A creative mind experiences life with multiple options. It is not led by others. That’s why people think artists are strange. Different.
My mission is to get people to start creating. I want them to start to think like an artist. No talent needed. Just an open mind. Unlock imagination. Let go of fear and worry. Look at beauty again. Love people. Stop comparing. Stop complaining. The call to action is start thinking about what’s really important to you and your community. Don’t go down the rabbit hole with toxic people. No one has the power to take away your thinking. Your decisions. Your life. Your country. We gave over our power and listened to lies. We only heard what we wanted.
As an artist I have to get people to get their own minds back teaching them creativity. I have to create paintings of beauty.
THE WORLD CAN BE BEAUTIFUL AGAIN IF WE WORK TOGETHER.
A few of my “over the couch” paintings.
Sometimes I think I’m alone in my artist block. The ability to see that others have been in this position and they have gone through the pain of not creating for a long time helps me identify and not feel alone. Even hearing that a person has survived being hospitalized for a mental breakdown is inspiring and hopeful for me . I’m always in fear of having a mental breakdown. I’m afraid people will leave me for being crazy. I’m afraid of never being creative again.
I started to research artists who have had breakdowns and blocks. Here’s one that surprised me. Georgia O’Keefe.
In 1932, after falling far behind on a Radio City Music Hall mural, O’Keefe suffered an intense nervous breakdown. It was only after a period of hospitalization and NOT PAINTING FOR TWO YEARS that she was able to rekindle her life’s love of creating art.
I was blown away by this story. I’m in great company with my mental breakdowns and blocks. It happens. So what.
I’M NOT ALONE!!!!! HERE’S TO YOU GEORGIA!!
I HAVE BEEN STALKED AND CAPTURED BY THE DARK CREVICES OF MY MIND. I CAN UNDERSTAND VAN GOGH’S FIGHT WITH SANITY. BUT I AM A VERY LEARNED WOMAN WHO HAS SPENT A LIFETIME EDUCATING MYSELF ON HOW THE BRAIN WORKS.
KNOWING IS THE FIRST STEP IN BEING ABLE TO STOP FIGHTING THE DARKNESS AND LET IT JUST FLOW THROUGH.
DURING THESE TIMES I HIDE IN MY HOME AND RETREAT. I’M TAKEN AWAY FROM INDULGING IN LUSCIOUS OILY PAINT COLORS AND BUILDING LAYER UPON LAYER OF RICH THICK PAINT. I’M IMMOBILE TO ACTION.
I accept those times even though I shut the world out and fear I will never escape my demons. But I have to always avoid giving in to false evidence appearing real.
A month ago I experienced a new mental twist…anxiety disorder! I didn’t know that I had it. But I have to say I chased my recovery from it and sought help. I don’t have to go through pain alone anymore. And all through this I let the luscious oil paints flow on canvas and shared my experience to a troubled student in my painting class.
I don’t give in but I also don’t fight my mind…my darkness is another part of being an artist. I even used darkness in a series of paintings.
I’M BACK TO BEING JEAN. I’M BACK . I trust God and give to others.
MY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE NOT A MORAL ISSUE. THEY ARE THE PIECES OF THE MYSTERIOUS PUZZLE CALLED JEAN MESSNER.
IN REMEMBRANCE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH.