On a documentary-watching binge on hulu. Loved this one on painter Joan Mitchell, who I didn’t know a lot about previously. Some snippets from the film:

Painting really isn’t about reality, it’s about life.

– Elizabeth Murray, painter

Interviewer: What do you do when you paint?

Joan Mitchell: I paint.

Interviewer: What happens to you when you paint?

Joan Mitchell: Nothing. My hands get awfully dirty. (clip here)

[It’s as] if you took an apple and a lemon and started painting it. The more you look at it the more you would understand. It’s sort of like the more you listen to a chord, the more you understand its parts, its pieces.

Interviewer: Do you lose yourself while painting?

Joan Mitchell: When I do, it’s so blissful. I think that’s probably why I paint, because I don’t exist anymore. It’s wonderful.

Give me a color and if it’s dead, it’s because of the color next to it.

And bleakness came through the trees without a sound.

(from a poem Joan Mitchell wrote in elementary school)

I also watched the beginning snippets of a film about Louise Bourgeois, whose work I like very much but whose discomfort in the interview on film made me cringe. So I stopped watching. But I like what she said in the part I did see:

Sculpture is a problem to be resolved. And it is a pleasure to find a solution… So that the purpose of sculpture is really self-knowledge.

It is difficult to be a woman and to be likeable. You see, this desire to be likeable, it is really a pain in the neck. How are you going to be likeable, eh? And be yourself? So there are doubts there. I am full of doubts.


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