Friday, February 12, 2010

Arty Farty Female Friday x 3

Two commenters on last Friday's Arty Farty page suggested some female artists I might feature. I've chosen a name from each comment along with one choice of my own, resulting in one Briton, one Canadaian and one American - a nice balance! I'm going to pinpoint only what astrological features I see as pertinent in each chart, bearing in mind each artist's style and what I've gleaned of her personality. I'll add just a couple of samples of the work of each, many more examples can be viewed via Google Image.

In alphabetical order then: Eileen Agar, Emily Carr and Joan Mitchell. All charts set for 12 noon as no birth times are available.


Born 1 December 1899 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a Scottish father and American mother.
The family moved to Britain during Eileen's childhood. Her style is generally categorised as surrealism, her aim in life seems to have been to enjoy it to the full!

One summer, with her husband and a group of famous artists, she travelled to Picasso’s house at Mougins in the South of France - just weeks after Picasso had painted Guernica, and it was, it is reported, a wild summer of partner-swapping and relaxed exhibitionism. There's a photograph of Eileen dancing in a transparent skirt in Mougins. She wrote in her biography that in the South of France that summer there was “Surrealism on the horizon, Stravinsky in the air, and Freud under the bed.”

She liked to see surrealism as "the interpenetrating of reason and unreason", and valued it for its wit, irreverence and joke-making. She was interested in making shapes, visual metaphors. Art, she said, ought to be playful. She saw her art as an "imaginative playfulness". "I've enjoyed life, and it shows through," Agar said ...... "Like a transparent skirt, or something like that."

If someone asked which zodiac sign best represents enjoying life to the full, I'd answer "Sagittarius!" No surprise then to see that Ms Agar had so many personal planets in that sign, all of 'em in fact - except for Moon (whatever her time of birth) and Jupiter (Sagittarius's ruler) both nextdoor in passionate Scorpio.
Sun and Uranus (planet of the unusual and unexpected) are conjoined, reflecting her draw to surrealism.




Born 13 December 1871 in Victoria, British Columbia. Her style developed from post-impressionism, via Fauve and cubism to expressionism with focus on the scenes and traditions of the Canadian Northwest. Her outstanding characteristic is love of the land and its people - but mainly the land. Almost as strong though was her independence in the face of Victorian prejudices, and her thirst foradventure.

Passionately committed to her art, a lover of wild places who saw with great intensity of feeling, Emily was independent, strong willed, and fiercely energetic. The tasks she set for herself demanded nothing less. Yet she was also cantankerous, peevish, hotly intolerant of hypocrisy, narrowness, and prejudice. She was an intentional outsider, almost a misanthrope, yet a lover of those in the margins of society. These characteristics naturally brought her into conflict with three forces antagonistic to her leanings: a culture that discouraged artistic vitality or experimentation in women, a pious family dominated by rigid proprieties, and the conventional mores of late-Victorian society.

Despite these counterweights, she challenged the prohibitions of her family by crossing the invisible line into Native culture. She engaged in a rare cross-cultural friendship with a Squamish basket maker, a relationship unacceptable in Victoria's polite white society in the early twentieth century, traveled alone by canoe, steamship, trading scow, and wagon, slept in a tent, in mission houses and grave houses in isolated Native villages at a time when tribal culture was being crushed, and even attended illegal potlatches raided by the Provincial Police.
She experienced everything with uncommon intensity, a factor which fueled her frenzied periods of enormous output, yet contributed to her self-doubt which led to a lengthy and marked slowdown--some would call it a regenerative hiatus--in her painting. Nevertheless, she pulled herself up out of depression, came to ignore public disregard, surrounded herself with pets, sang hymns to her half-finished paintings out in the forest, and, at fifty-seven, won her way to her most productive and original period of painting, producing the works for which she is most known.

Another Sun in Sagittarius here! Sun conjunct south node of the Moon too, a sensitive point in the natal chart adding emphasis to the placement, though not nearly as much Sagittarian emphasis as found in Eileen Agar's chart. Emily had four personal planets in Cardinal Earth Capricorn, the source of her love for the land, I reckon. Saturn in Capricorn (its own sign) is conjunct Mercury, planet of communication - perhaps a hint of the cantankerous part of her nature? Uranus the rebel and Jupiter the expansive traveller are conjoined, though (just)in different signs, and link by harmonious trine to Venus, planet of the arts. So here, combined, are a thirst for adventure and a rebellious determination to fly against the status quo.




Born 12 February 1925 in Chicago, Illinois, lived much of her adult life in France.

Her style: abstract expressionist, using a huge canvas, sometimes more than one, multi- panelled, covered with energetic, aggressive looking brush strokes - in her youth she was a competitive athlete, possibly a trait detectable in her paintings. She said that although her paintings seemed total abstractions, they were, in fact, "about a feeling that comes to me from the outside, the landscape." She wasn't an easy person to get along with, by all accounts - quarrellsome, heavy drinker, competitive, something of a "bad-ass", reluctant to align herself with other female artists.
Through all the misery and frustrations of her relationships with friends and lovers plus the numerous deaths of friends, relatives and dogs that she suffered and along with her severe health problems and active alcoholism, she kept painting - sometimes raging away at the canvas or expressing less violent emotions that she was unable to release any other way. Her tenacity and commitment to her work despite all this were remarkable, as was her refusal to make paintings in a more manageable size. She must have had a tremendous physical struggle that included having to get a studio assistant to squeeze paint from tubes due to the arthritis in her hands (per Kertess)." (See here.)

Aquarius Sun, Mercury and Venus, with Sun semi-sextile Aquarius's modern ruler, Uranus lays down a background of determined independence, and thanks to Uranus's input, not a a little rebellion - never inclined to accept the status quo.
Ms Mitchell's "difficult" personality springs also from a set of tight oppositions in her natal chart. Sun opposite Neptune; Saturn opposite Mars; Jupiter opposite Pluto. However one wishes to interpret each individual opposition, the presence of three of these is bound to set up some internal wrangling, I guess, which could manifest as external aggression and general crabbiness. Additionally, Mercury and Venus (planets of communication and art) are in challenging square aspects to Saturn on one side and Mars on the other, forming what astrologers call a "T-square". There's another, similar, formation involving Neptune (creativity) and the Sun in opposition and in square aspect to Saturn. Some of these difficult aspects link up to form a Grand Cross, a configuration which, in some instances, can be indicative of on-going inner conflict.



(This post went on a bit - so - next post Sunday).


Wisewebwoman said...

What a lot of work went into this post, T! I enjoyed every word. Especially in my beloved Emily Carr and the new intro (to me) Joan Mitchell.
thank you and have yourself a great weekend!

anthonynorth said...

A great post. So often female artists are underrated. It's wrong.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Glad you enjoyed it.
I'm learning too! :-)
Hope your weekend is going well.

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~~~ It certainly is.
I think the problem has to have stemmed originally from the lack of promotion of female artists.
It was a kind of "closed shop" for decades.
Males promoted the work of males...women were supposed to stay in the kitchen and bedroom, and mind their own business. ;-(