Helen Frankenthaler
Abstract Expressionist artist

It’s Helen Frankenthaler’s birthday today!

Born December 12, 1928. Died December 27, 2011, she was a major player in Abstract Expressionism. Even more so, Frankenthaler’s soak and stain technique gave rise to Color Field painting.

I didn’t realize her birthday was today when posted about her yesterday on Facebook. I did the post because Meriam Webster had declared “feminism”the word of the year and I thought I’d honor it by featuring Frankenthaler.

However, I forgot she was someone who refused to discuss gender and its role in her art.

“What has made it work, or what makes certain paintings successful or not, has to do with my being a painter and a thinking, feeling person, more than my sex, color, height, origin.”  Helen Frankenthaler

Today, I’ll make up for the feminist association I made yesterday, by simply paying tribute to the beauty she created. Essentially, she celebrated color for its own sake.

Circus Landscape

This is one of my favorite paintings of hers. It’s one big (44 in by 40), colorful, captivating mass of energy!

Even though it isn’t a landscape in a traditional sense, this abstract still suggests the mood, depth and abundance you’d associate with a sprawling, healthy terrain.

In fact, you’ll see reality in a number of her abstracts. This could be why many of her works resonate with people who don’t always “get” abstract.


Provincetown is an acrylic painting, a medium sh began using later in her career (as I’ve done).

Though she discovered and finessed her soak and stain technique with oil and turpentine, she later recreated it with acrylic.

You can see here why she was so influential in Color Field painting.

That’s it for now!

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