Agnes Martin spends her days on the Canadian prairies surrounded by wheat fields, where her grandfather encourages her to draw what she sees and feels around her: the straight horizon, the feeling of the sun, the movement of birds’ wings and the shapes she sees in the wheat. When Agnes’s family moves to a house in a big city, she continues to draw what she sees and feels around her. No one except her grandfather understands what she is trying to capture ― not her mother, who asks, “Where are you, Agnes?” when she sees her daughter engrossed in her drawing; nor her siblings, who think her art is ugly. Still, Agnes keeps trying to capture what she sees inside her mind.
Martin grew up to become a famous abstract expressionist artist, and in this book, Tessa McWatt has written a beautiful story of Agnes’s childhood and how it might have shaped her adult work. Zuzanna Celej’s watercolors adeptly capture Agnes’s world, including hints of the grid paintings that she was later known for, against the backdrop of prairie and city landscapes. With an author's note featuring more details about Martin's life and work, this inspiring picture book is a charming introduction to how her minimalist art came to be.