Joan Mitchell on how nature inspired her art

Joan Mitchell's paintings are easily recognisable, they are known for being  large gestural paintings with compositional rhythms. Inspired by landscape, nature, and poetry, her intent was not to create a recognisable image, but to convey emotions.

'My paintings repeat a feeling about Lake Michigan, or water, or fields...it's more like a poem...and that's what I want to paint.'

Joan Mitchell in artist studio On how Nature Inspired her

Mitchell's early success in the 1950s was striking at a time when few women artists were recognised. She referred to herself as the "last Abstract Expressionist," and she continued to create abstract paintings until her death in 1992. Joan Mitchell's work was greatly inspired by landscapes, nature and its effect on her.

'My paintings are titled after they are finished. I paint from remembered landscapes that I carry with me - and remembered feelings of them, which of course become transformed. I could certainly never mirror nature. I would more like to paint what it leaves with me.'

 Joan Mitchell (American, 1925–1992), Begonia, 1982, Oil on canvas, 111 1/2 x 80 inches, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Armand J. Castellani, 1991

Joan Mitchell (American, 1925–1992), Begonia, 1982, Oil on canvas, 111 1/2 x 80 inches, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Armand J. Castellani, 1991

“Sunflowers are something I feel very intensely. They look so wonderful when young and they are so very moving when they are dying. I don’t like fields of sunflowers. I like them alone or, of course, painted by Van Gogh.”

InspiredLaura Gee1 Comment