I’ve been slowly plugging along reading the life of the abstract impressionist painter, Joan Mitchell. It’s been a tough read since her life was filled with turmoil and alcoholism. She painted beautifully but lashed out at everyone around her. She was filled with a self destructive rage. She longed for love, marriage and children yet she sabotaged it at every turn. Her painting kept going despite all the drama she created. The turmoil and the painting where her two constant companions.
I often wonder about successful women and how marriages and families allude them. Georgia O’Keeffe, Joan Mitchell, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, off the top of my head, and I’m sure I could research more. I read this awful quote “There has never been a first-rank woman artist. Only men are capable of aesthetic greatness. Women make up 50 per cent or more of classes at art school. Yet they fade away in their late 20s or 30s. Maybe it’s something to do with bearing children.” by Brian Sewell in 2008, a highly respected art critic for London’s Evening Standard. Can you you even believe that crap?
So, as I feel full of energy and motivation to start the new year, I wonder what affect having children, a husband and a house are having on my creativity and my art career. Would those “successful” women without a family give it all up to have a husband and a child? And would the women with the children and the husband give it all up for fame and fortune? Perhaps the definition of success is different for each person. But why should women have to choose? Are they even choosing? It seems like men still do whatever they like and marriage and family doesn’t seem to weigh on them in the same way. What do you think?