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The art of Joni Mitchell

The Story

She's best known for her music, but Joni Mitchell frequently refers to herself as a painter who "just lost my way." For decades, her drawings, paintings and photographs have been one of Mitchell's true passions. But with the exception of a few album covers, most Canadians have never seen them. As we see in this clip, all that changes when Saskatoon's Mendel Art Gallery opens the first Canadian display of Joni Mitchell's artwork to rave reviews by fans and artists alike. 

Medium: Television
Program: Saturday Report
Broadcast Date: July 1, 2000
Guests: Doug Bentham, Bob Hinet, Joni Mitchell
Reporter: Jo Lynn Sheane
Duration: 2:30

Did You know?

• Joni Mitchell has always described herself as "a painter first, and a musician second." "I have always thought of myself as a painter derailed by circumstance," she told the Globe and Mail in 2000.

• Though she rarely shows her work, her paintings and photography have adorned almost all her albums since her debut in 1968.

• The show Voices: The Work of Joni Mitchell, which opened on June 30, 2000, at Saskatoon's Mendel Gallery was her first Canadian retrospective exhibition. It attracted visitors from around the world.

• Mitchell describes herself as a devotee of van Gogh and Matisse, and tends to paint clean, utopian images of Canadian landscapes and loved ones. "I sing my sorrow," she told the Globe, "and I paint my joy." Mitchell guards her painting time jealously, and frequently gets so wrapped up in her work that she forgets to eat and sleep.


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