One of my favorite artists of all time is Helen Frankenthaler, a second-generation Abstract-Expressionist painter best known for her "soak-stain" technique and her influence on Color Field painting.  I was first introduced to her work my senior year of college while taking a contemporary art history course, and was excited to find a female painter breaking through the 1950s male dominated art world with beautiful paintings and her own technique and artistic voice.  I decided to write my thesis on her, along with her contemporary, Joan Mitchell.  Both artists' work continues to influence me ten years later.   

My two Islands paintings were inspired by Frankenthaler's "soak-satin" technique (although my canvases were primed) and her method of working on the floor.  I began with thin washes, and with each layer adding more paint with my medium.  The contemporary painter Mary Heilmann was also on my mind in these works with the manipulated drips.  The colors and forms reminded me of flying in a plane over islands in Caribbean.  

Here are the final paintings.  They can be hung together as a diptych, but also look good on their own: 

Islands I, 2013, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches.


Islands II, 2013, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches.

What concerns me when I work, is not whether the picture is a landscape, or whether it’s pastoral, or whether somebody will see a sunset in it. What concerns me is - did I make a beautiful picture?
— Helen Frankenthaler

Photo credit for paintings in this post: Jeanette May.