One of the art periods I most relate to is American Abstract Expressionism. European Abstract Expressionism, which occurred decades earlier – in the early 1900’s – also inspires me, but today I wanted to offer visual inspiration from one of my favorite American Abstract Expressionism painters, Alma Thomas.
She began her professional painting career after her retirement from art education in the Washington, D.C. public schools. Trained in both Color Field Theory and Abstract Expressionism, her paintings evolved over the years but throughout that evolution, color and abstraction of nature played a huge role in her work.
One of my favorite quotes of hers is:
“Through color I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.”
There’s a lot of significance to this quote because Alma’s professional career began around the 1960’s during the Civil Rights Movement.
Instead of succumbing to the pressure of creating artwork reflective of the Black Experience, she primarily chose to paint abstract representations of flowers.
There’s a lot more to her story that would be too much to cover here, but in short I admire her boldness and resolve to create art for the sake of contributing to visual aesthetics. It encourages me to know that as artists we don’t always have to make grand gestures or political statements with our work. We can create for the sake of creating and our work is just as purposeful.
Below are images of Alma’s artwork that I pulled from Pinterest. Clicking on the image will take you back to the original Pinterest post.
Visual Inspiration: Alma Thomas
This is just a peek of Alma Thomas’ work. A lot more of her paintings can be seen on the Michael Rosenfield Art Gallery website. She also has profiles on the National Museum of Women in the Arts website, as well as, the Smithsonian American Art Museum website if you would like to learn more about her.