Her Art Story began as a homework assignment. I was taking a class with an art consultant, who asked her students to think of an art practice we could develop on the side. Constrained by my busy schedule and my own practical nature, I decided to weave two interests together: art history and drawing.
As an abstract artist, much of my self-study has followed the expressionist movement and its key artists. And because I have always loved the freedom and beautiful mark-making that blind contour drawings create, I decided to study a piece of abstract artwork by drawing it in my sketchbook before learning more about the piece and its artist online and at the library.
The first piece I chose was Picasso’s Guernica. Ever since I walked through Guernica on the Camino del Norte a few years ago, the work has been on my list of “must-sees.”
The second piece was Deer Skull with Pedernal by Georgia O’Keeffe. I fell in love with the painting and spent hours researching O’Keeffe’s life and art. I was so inspired that I decided to use my notes to write a brief biography about her.
Soon afterwards, I noticed that Deer Skull with Pedernal and O’Keeffe’s biography were included in my daughter’s first-year university art history textbook. The information was obviously added as part of the newer edition, and as I flipped through the pages, I noticed how many little “side boxes” had been inserted in the textbook—almost all of them were about female artists. Although they were now included after several editions of exclusion, they still seemed like afterthoughts. Their stories were not written into the book’s main content, and their works were rarely featured as central achievements in art history. It was a revelation to me. From that point on, I have studied the work of women artists, using the blind contour technique as a starting point of access.
Gradually, my blind contour drawings developed into a series of paintings. A few months into my research, I realized that I knew very little about female artists in my own country. I’m a Canadian woman, but could I name #5womenartists from Canada? I decided to do something about my lack of awareness of the very field I belong to.
I’m proud to write that I have now created a series that I’m calling Blind Contour Homage. It includes paintings and biographies of Canadian women artists that I have come to love and admire. I have a collection of over thirty artists on this site. Each of my blind contour drawings of their work is accompanied by a biography of the artist. What was originally a side project has become a lifelong pursuit.
Her Art Story is just a beginning. My hope is that many more projects—by me and by others—will use this site a resource and an inspiration.
“We are rightly conscious to address various groups’ and individuals’ under-representation in our present and future. We can only do this meaningfully by addressing the same in our history.”
If you have an idea or a project that brings more awareness to female artists and their work, please reach out.
Learn more about blind contour drawing here.