Friday, December 25, 2009

41. Ageless Self-Empowerment

Dear Followers,

After a two-week holiday hiatus I'm ready to continue sharing stories about amazing women. On the book front, sales continue to grow gradually and 309 people have watch The Self-Empowered Woman YouTube video. In January I'll have three speaking engagements, and hope that word of mouth will compensate for (way too expensive) advertising. And, I'd like to thank each of you for your enthusiasm!

Today, I'd like to tell you about an amazing 94 year old artist named Carmen Herrera. Herrera was born in Cuba, where she took art lessons as a child (2: An Early Sense of Direction). She attended finishing school in Paris, and attended college in Cuba. Before she received her degree in architecture, however, she married Jesse Loewenthal and moved to New York. He was an English teacher at Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School - one of his colleagues was author Frank McCourt.

Jesse and Carmen were married for 61 years, until he died at 98 in 2000. He supported her love of painting even though she didn't sell her first canvas until five years ago when she was 89. Since then her work has been acquired by MoMa and her canvases sell for close to $50,000 (13. More Than Meets the Eye).

Herrera told the New York Times that painting was "...a compulsion that also gives me pleasure...I just worked and waited. And at the end of my life, I'm getting a lot of recognition" (7. Magnificent Obsession). Herrera in outspoken (5. Life is Not a Popularity Contest), and continued to paint minimalist geometric canvases even though people expected an immigrant Cuban artist to paint tropical landscapes and florals. Instead, Herrera continued to paint what one collector described as "Visual Haiku."

Herrera's tenacity is truly inspirational!

Looking forward to your comments...

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