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Mary Goldthorp, Paper Painter

On the path to becoming a successful graphic designer and business owner, I have maintained my fine art skills. Continuing with my painting (acrylic), paper painting, mixed media, and pencils; I found along the way, that chalk pastels and paper painting are my most successful and satisfying mediums.

My first paper painting experimentation began in the fall of 2019 after my father (a realist artist himself) passed away. As I was tasked with packing up his home and all that comes with that, I found I had heaps of old letters, thousands of stamps from a collection, magazines galore and hundreds of vintage paper items. As it happened I had also received as a gift from my husband, a shipment of 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s Artists Magazine which were published in New York city. After lugging all my precious archives to my small studio space to begin the sorting process, I also downloaded a book from Audible called Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel. This books lays out the events, timeline and culture in New York city’s artists community for both men and women! Abstraction had just come on the scene to which it broke every traditional artistic rule. This book focused on all the women who had to fight like hell to get the same coverage, respect, salary, encouragement and appreciation that their male counterparts received. This book chronicles Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: five painters and the movement that changed modern art forever. While listening to this book I began to simply let go of all my own previous artistic and design knowledge. I was truly inspired by those female trailblazers that came before me, to simply colour a piece of vintage paper, rip it however that might happen and lay it down on a large canvas. I did that same movement over and over until what appeared on my canvas was some kind of balance between colour, shape, size, edges, perspective and pattern. I couldn’t get enough of it. Everyday for months I would enter my studio, create unique patterns on old magazine pages, ancient tissue clothes patterns and on stamps. Often I would doodle loosely in my sketchbook to help guide the fluidity of the next piece. But that was it. The act of creating these very unique paper paintings simply dripped from my hands. It wasn’t long after that I found my own “technical groove” in creating my paper paintings.

This process has been a pleasure and a joy. It has added years to my life and has given my mind something new to explore every day. Now that I’ve discovered my new treasure, I find I can’t live without it.

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