By Steve Horvath
This article is a continuation of the series for this newsletter profiling our members.
Can you remember when you knew you wanted to be an artist?
When Joyce was in the 6th grade her teacher asked if she could borrow some of the artwork Joyce was creating. Her teacher wanted to enter her work in the summer State Fair competition in the Upper Peninsula where Joyce grew up. Low-and-behold her work received a blue ribbon and Joyce was hooked on art.
Encouragement comes in many forms but it is surly a catalyst for growth.
Joyce had no formal training in her formative years. She was self-taught, working at home in pencil, pastel etc.
As time progressed into High School she continued her artwork, taking the lead in painting a mural for her Jr. Prom at Bark River-Harris High School in Harris, Michigan near Escanaba.
After high school Joyce enrolled in Northern Michigan University at Marquette majoring in Business Education. Before finishing her college program at MU she moved to Milwaukee and enrolled at Alverno receiving a BA in Art Education.
Joyce met her husband Rick in Milwaukee at this time, married, and began raising her family of 2 sons and a daughter.
During this time she was putting her degree in education to work by developing her teaching expertise at Milwaukee Public Schools. She would travel to various MPS schools in the district teaching art. At the end of her formal teaching career she taught for 5 years at Matthias Grade School before deciding to retire.
For many years while teaching, Joyce and Rick would participate in art fairs together putting up their exhibit shelter and selling Joyce’s work. Since Rick passed away a few years ago Joyce found it too difficult to assemble and set up her exhibit structure by herself so she has stopped traveling to most art fairs but keeps some
of them on her schedule.
Joyce says she really enjoyed and missed teaching so she has found an outlet for her to fill that need by teaching watercolor in the Alverno Adult Education program. She also teaches water coloring and conducts workshops at UW-Waukesha-Continuing Education, Plymouth Center for the Arts-Gallery 110, Cedar Valley (Retreat and Spa), Museum of Wisconsin Art, and she works with home school parents to bring art education to their children.
Joyce has 6 grandsons and 1 granddaughter and enjoys their visits that always include making art and sometimes going to an art museum that she says her grand kids really enjoy. The next generation of family artists is getting some solid learning.
We all have our own way of developing ideas for our paints that works for us and Joyce is no exception. She likes to work on her kitchen table surrounded by her paint box, a few brushes, and a small container for water. (See picture at the beginning of this article). Her kitchen table sets under a window with a very relaxing view overlooking her backyard.
Joyce starts her ideas by setting up a still life then taking numerous photographs of compositional ideas that she will later refer to while working on her painting. She sometimes continues these explorations by manipulating some of the props in her still life to see if there are any other compositional ideas lurking about.
She has only 6 Winsor/Newton colors that she typically uses in her paintings: Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Winsor Red, Transparent Yellow, New Gamboge, Winsor Blue (Red Shade), and Prussian Blue. She says she discovered this limited palette of colors after painting in a workshop with Jean Crane a few years ago trying a lot of different pigments. Those nice, rich blacks in her paintings are a combination of the Alizarin Crimson, Transparent Yellow, and Prussian Blue.
Her paper choice is usually Arches 140 lb. cold press and sometimes 300 lb. She most often soaks, stretches, and staples her paper to a piece of Homosote Board to minimize paper distortion while painting. (Homosote is a gray board that is made out of recycled newsprint. You’ll find it in almost any school being used as bulletin boards or in construction as a sound dampening material).
And to think . . . Joyce originally started painting in oil years ago because she thought watercolor would be too hard.
Practice makes perfect.