Placed 4th in a swimming race
Martin became a provincial medalist in swimming and in July 1932 got notices in the Vancouver Sun and the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix for placing fourth in the women's 440-yard freestyle race, part of that year's Olympic trials. She did not make the team; had she won, she would have articipated in the notorious 1936 summer Olympics in Berlin [...]
—Nancy Princenthal on the book Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art
To better understand her use of colour (or any other artist’s work) it does help to look into her background and upbringing. Some of the most meaningful insights came from her long-time associate and personal friend, Arne Glimcher, the founder of the Pace Galleries. In a videotaped interview, he spoke of her love for the water, as she was an avid swimmer and sailor in her younger years and even navigated canoes in Alaskan waters. This could certainly have accounted for her dedication to blue, in many variations, including the greenish teal blues of a New Mexico mountain landscape from 1947, the very light blue biomorphic shapes in her early paintings, as well as her work with the India ink washes of the 1960s. In the ensuing years, the names of some of her other works employing variations of blue are evocative of both the hue and the mood portrayed, including: Falling Blue, Night Sea, The Wave, and Stars, plus a number of untitled works executed in blue.
—Leatrice Eiseman on her article on Martin's color palette