My Mother-in-Law Was an Abstract Expressionist



I mix the color. Ink the roller. Ink the small plastic sheet. I rub it with a rag, cardboard, my thumb, left fingers—it’s action painting in miniature!
Suddenly I’m flooded with the presence of my first mother-in-law, Abbie Winson, now deceased. She was an abstract painter, trained by Hans Hoffman. I believe she painted a few summers in Provincetown. She was a link for me with the glorious romantic lineage of the NY Abstract Expressionists. Her work was vibrant and often joyful. She herself, like so many artists, was an introvert, even shy.
Of course as my daughter Isabel’s grandmother she must have influenced Iz in many ways. Iz worked alongside Abbie in her studio from the time she was tiny. There is a lot of permission there for a girl—a grandmother who is an artist.
Apparently there is permission for me too—I just didn’t know it. If Abbie wanted to be Hoffman or Kline (and I’m not sure she did—it seems she mostly wanted to be herself) then I just want to be her. The 1950’s in Manhattan is my early childhood. I love the visuals of that time, from furniture to wallpaper. My little monoprints are a homage to that aesthetic—from here on Lama Mountain.



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