One of the leaders of 20th-century abstraction, Joan Mitchell established a singular visual vocabulary over the course of her more than four-decade career. Mitchell combined assertive, richly textured brushwork with vibrant, lyrical colour. Though seemingly unrestrained, her process was structured. She carefully layered each colour, attentive to the relationships between them and to the weight of each brushstroke, often standing far from the canvas between layers to assess the balance of her composition. The defining elements of Mitchell’s world — water, trees, dogs, poetry, and music — created images and memories from which she worked. She observed her landscape intensely, and her acute visual observations of form, space, and colour in life were part of the visual memories she drew upon while painting.