Early Women Artists Breaking Free!

Throw away the keys, 8" x 10", acrylic on canvas
I'm finally starting to like this painting. I've worked and worked on it, from texturing with Gesso to experimenting with Golden Clear Tar Gel to applying layers and layers of glazes. It just didn't seem to speak to me until I put in the grid pattern, which seemed to unify it and, along with the colors, suggest a theme. It, ironically, seems to suggest a message I'm getting from a good book I picked up from the library the other day called "Independent Spirits, Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945." The artwork is stunning and I have to wonder why I was never exposed to any of these fabulous artists when I was in art school. After seeing some of these women's paintings and reading their stories, I can't help but feel that I was shortchanged in my education. Janson's "History of Art" (which was taught by a female professor) was required reading and didn't mention any women artists at all! I'm sure times have changed for the better since I attended college, but that indoctrination--that only the art of men was to be seriously studied and considered--is hard to shake to this day. The book is an inspirational eye-opener about the strong women who persevered in their art in the early 20th century, many times at great cost, and refused to be chained by societal limitations. I hope one day I can unlock my creative side and not worry about all the what ifs and why fors.

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