Articles, Books and Online Resources on Motherhood
Happy Mother’s Day
In recent art research I've been reading about artist parents and mothers as inspiration for a new series of artwork currently in process. In honor of Mother's Day this weekend, I'm sharing some of the most interesting books, articles, podcasts, videos, and art projects I've found related to moms and parentings. Below is a list with links to online news stories and articles on mother artists who are still managing to create artwork during the current pandemic. I've also included anthologies and books on motherhood in art, along with recent podcasts and videos. If you need a last minute Mother's Day gift for your mother or grandmother, you can purchase an online gift card to my Art Shop that will be immediately delivered to your mom's, grandmother's or your inbox. Here is one of my favorite quotes on appreciating your mother from famous actress and mom Kate Winslet,
"It doesn't matter how old you are, or what you do in your life, you never stop needing your mom." - Kate Winslet
15+ Interesting Resources and Articles on Artist Mothers
- Cascone, Sarah. “‘My Practice Looks Very Different Today’: 15 Artist-Mothers on Balancing Work and Family After a Year Like No Other.” Artnet, 4 Jan. 2021. This article describes how 15 different contemporary artist mothers have come up with innovative ways to create art at home during the COVID-19 pandemic with family at home and increased childcare needs. The stories and artwork of artist mothers who have adjusted their studio practice during the last year at home motivates and inspires me to find creative solutions to continue my art practice.
- Clayton, Lenka. An Artist Residency in Motherhood. 2012. An open source artist residency created by Lenka Clayton, where artist mothers can download reference materials, create their own self-directed projects, and upload their location and website to this website. Over the years since becoming a mom, I have looked at this map and website for artwork inspiration when feeling stuck and constrained in my art studio.
- Gioni, Massimiliano, The Great Mother: Women, Maternity, and Power in Art and Visual Culture, 1900-2015. Skira, 2016 (links opens to amazon.ca). The catalogue of a 2015 art show in Milan, Italy about mothers portrayed artworks including sculpture, painting and collages. The catalogue essays are on topics including feminist art and motherhood portrayed in art.
- Underwood-Lee, Emily and Šimić, Lena. “Live Art and Motherhood; A Study Room Guide on Live Art and the Maternal." Live Art Development Agency, 2016, (link opens to a PDF). This online catalogue of a 2015-16 art project in the United Kingdom that commissioned new live and performance artwork from 14 different artists on the theme of the maternal and motherhood. Although I have not previously created performance or live art, I have been experimenting and expanding my painting and drawing practice into digital media. These contemporary artworks and mother artists provide inspiration.
- Sandals, Leah. “A Year in Motherhood" Canadian Art, 24 Dec. 2018, which introduced me to Toronto artist Amy Wong's colorful and incredible Breastmilk Watercolours.
- “Artist and Mother,” Artbound, Season 9, Episode 7, YouTube, uploaded by KCET, 17 April 2018. A great short documentary about artist mothers. A curator in the film states that "motherhood is the last taboo in the art world."
- Congdon, Lisa. A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2017. Short interviews of contemporary women and one page biographies of historic women who all began impressive new careers or art projects in midlife or later.
- Davey, Moyra, Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood. Seven Stories Press, 2001. A great anthology of selected women writers' memoirs, fiction and theory about parenting.
- Hayasaki, Erica, “How Motherhood Affects Creativity.” The Atlantic, 13 Sep. 2017. This article explores how motherhood changes artist mothers' work in surprising ways.
- Quinn, Bridget, Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order) (Gifts for Artists, Inspirational Books, Gifts for Creatives). San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2017. Fascinating stories about women artists but I found the writing a bit annoying and trying too hard to be trendy and cute. I usually enjoy Lisa Congdon’s fun illustrations but her portraits in this book are much less interesting and multifaceted than her typical artwork. I found the artwork especially disappointing for portraits of such fascinating creative women.
- Fisher Sterling, Susan. “Celebrating Mother’s Day Through Distinct Artistic Visions.” National Museum of Women in the Arts, 6 May 2020. A short but sweet article from a great art institution in Washington, DC.
- Cashdan, Marina. “You Can Be a Mother and Still Be a Successful Artist.” Artsy, 24 Aug 2016. An encouraging and inspiring quick read.
- Billard, Jillian. “How to Be an Artist and a Parent–At the Same Time.” Artspace, 9 June 2018. Another motivating and reassuring short article.
- Artist/Mother Podcast, 2019-2021 (currently releasing new episodes) with hosts Kaylan Buteyn, Robin Kenny, and Lyndy Bazile. Long interviews that delve into the parenting and art-making experiences of contemporary artist mothers with thriving art practices and careers.
- Ciciola-Izzo, Rosanna. “Mother/Art: A Journey into Selfhood, Motherhood and Art Education through Personal Works,” MA Thesis (Art Education), Concordia University, 2014. A thorough master's thesis with an excellent bibliography that led me to find new reading material on artist mothers and motherhood art.
Do you have any favorite quotes, books, or articles on artist moms, motherhood and parenting? Please let me know through my Art Shop website or on social media (@RachaelGradArt on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms).
To all my favourite mom friends, mother’s and grandmothers, I wish you had your families a very happy Mother’s Day. If you forgot a gift for your mom or are unable to see her in person, an online gift card is a great gift that a you can instantly send. Let your mom or grandmother pick her own Mother’s Day Gift!
Get an Instant Last Minute Gift Card for Mom Now...
Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing moms and grandmothers!
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15+ Books, Articles & Resources on Artist Mothers by Toronto Artist Rachael Grad