"Ignorance, ignorance, sheer ignorance — you know there's no confidence to equal it," he said when he was 45. "It's only when you know something about a profession, I think, that you're timid or careful."
Wells' accomplishment underscores the much-debated theory that certain types of artists do their best work in their 20s. Take musicians, for example. Some folks will tell you that Bob Dylan peaked at 25, Paul McCartney at 27, and Mick Jagger at 29. To some, rock n' roll seems best attuned to the impetuousness, madness, and brain development that takes place in one's 20s.
Visual arts, however, are a different story. Modern painters did their greatest work in their 40s — 42 to be exact — according to a paper by Economist P.H. Franses.
"Why stop there?" asks Seattle's Artist Trust. Opting to appreciate the full oeuvre of female visual artists native to Washington State, the trust is accepting nominations for the Irving and Yvonne Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
We've written about the Trust before. In fact, we've said, "Artists in Washington State may have no better friend than the Artist Trust." The trust provides financial grants, career training, and professional resources for Washington State artists of all disciplines. We still stand by that statement.
The unrestricted award of $10,000 award is given annually to a female visual artist in Washington State, age 60 or older, who has dedicated 25 years or more of her life to creating art. The award recognizes creative excellence, professional accomplishment, and dedication to the visual arts.
The award was established by a gift to the Artist Trust Endowment from Yvonne Twining Humber. A practicing Washington State artist herself, Twining envisioned providing recognition to female artists who have interrupted or postponed their art-making to answer to the demands of family life (something, we imagine, Mick Jagger wasn't particularly concerned about).
Click here for the full guidelines.
In the meantime, we eagerly hope Artist Trust rolls out an award for Washington-based musicians over the age of 90. If and when they do, we'd humbly nominate Seattle-born country music singer Bonnie Guitar, age 91, best known for her 1957 cross-over smash "Dark Moon."
Check it out. It's amazing.