Joni Mitchell's Unseen Art: Friends, Lovers, And A Rock And Roll Life

By | November 7, 2019

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Left: Joni Mitchell in Amsterdam, 1972. Right: A detail of Mitchell's portrait of of Neil Young in Morning Glory On The Vine. Sources: (Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns;

Here's a rare treat for fans of classic folk-rock and Joni Mitchell: a book of her paintings previously seen only by friends and fellow musicians. Morning Glory On The Vine: Early Songs And Drawings (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) gives us all an eyeful of the "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Both Sides Now" singer's visual art. Though these images, including portraits of James Taylor, David Crosby, and Georgia O'Keefe, will be new to most of us, we've seen Joni Mitchell's work before -- she painted the covers for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's So Far (1974), and most of her own albums, including Clouds (1969), Ladies Of The Canyon (1970), Court And Spark (1974) and The Hissing Of Summer Lawns (1975)

'Morning Glory On The Vine' Is Nearly 50 Years Old

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In 1971, Mitchell pressed 100 copies of a book of watercolors and poetry she gave to her closest friends for Christmas. The book has been whispered bout in fan circles for years, but when it was finally published as Morning Glory on the Vine in 2019 people finally got a look at the other side of this relentlessly creative artist.

Joni Mitchell never set out to be the voice of her generation or even a singer-songwriter; all she wanted to do was paint. A young Mitchell attended the Alberta College of Art in Canada until she dropped out at the age of 20 in 1964. She left school because she felt that the professors were more concerned with teaching students to be technical rather than creative.