Monday, December 21, 2009


Last night was rough.  I tossed all night while sleeping. This morning the cats looked shipwreaked and I felt like I had been dragged through a turbulent sea. Through all the turmoil in dreamland the name Joan Brown kept surfacing.  Who is Joan Brown you may ask?  Joan Brown orginally Joan Vivien Beatty was a Bay Area Figurative artist from 1955 - 1965 before she changed her style and subject matter.  During those years she studied with Elmer Bishoff, Frank Lobdell, and David Park. Her second marriage was to Manuel Neri.  On becoming a mother she starting painting her life and her work became autobiographical.  "I feel most of my work, if not all of it, is like keeping a diary." 

I haven't thought of Joan Brown in months and I am still unsure why her name visited my dreams...but this morning she did make me pull out my book Bay Area Figurative Art 1950-1965 by Caroline A. Jones and reread her history and study her paintings.  One of my favorites of her paintings is called Green Bowl, oil on canvas from 1964.

"I did not want to be "turning out a product," so I began to look at new things, artists I had not looked at before--Morandi, Oriental art,...Ingres.  I made a decision to put away the trowels and the large format.  I stretched a canvas 2 x 3 feet, and I took an egg and a cucumber out of the refrigerator, and I worked on painting only that for one whole year, and I found the freshness and energy I lost."

I feel there is an important message here and I hope that this message will reveal itself in the coming days.  Oh, sweet dreams.

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