Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nancy Kominsky 1915-2011 RIP

In the modern world do women aspire
to be rock star wives and photographers?

I know they still want the rock star wife thing.

Today is a sad post, but I want to do it because it’s about someone who was important to me.

Last weekend I was looking around the web and I saw someone say that Nancy Kominsky had died earlier this year. So I looked around a bit and found out it was true. Her husband died at the start of this year and Nancy passed away a few months later. Maybe they were so in love she couldn’t stand going on without him.

I certainly loved Nancy. Nancy Kominsky used to be one of those “TV painters.” But she was my favorite TV painter. I talked about Nancy once before, when I put up a scan of a painting I made when I was seventeen, in A Thirty Year Old Mushroom.

Nancy was a TV painter, but unlike Bob Ross, although she simplified the process of painting she never dehumanized and mechanized the process. Bob Ross reduced painting to a set of trivial procedures and then taught people to draw the same handful of imaginary landscapes again and again. Nancy taught people painting—simplified, and without theory—but real painting. When a person became comfortable with the simple procedures, if a person wanted to learn, say, theory about light on form or about color space, that person didn’t have to abandon anything he or she learned with Nancy, rather they only had to elaborate or refine what they learned with Nancy.

She was a good teacher.

Here are some links about her:

Nancy Kominsky at Wikipedia

Nancy Kominsky and her approach to painting

The Telegraph’s story of Nancy passing away

A while back I wondered if, today, women wanted to be photographers like many women did back in the Sixties. The world is so different now. I wonder, even more, if today any women look in a mirror and see themselves the way young Nancy saw herself when she painted this self portrait:

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