Sunday, September 30, 2012


Summer Garden #1, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 24” x 24”

On this blog, you'll see an eclectic mix of artists, from the established and well-known, to those who are just emerging and really starting to rev-up their activity. Joanie McGinnis is a painter based in Fairfield, Iowa who's been charting a steady course of growth and development. She stays connected with other artists in the area and just keeps on making work, undaunted by the fact that she's located in the Midwest.    

Good Vibrations, 2009, oil on canvas, 30” x 48”

Untitled, 2012, acrylic and pumice on canvas, 24” x 24"

These two pieces are from Joanie's Windows series; 2012, acrylic on canvas, 10" x 20" each. 

PB:  What forces or circumstances pulled you into art and how does art help you?

JM:  My first inspiration to create art came when my mother took me with her to weekly oil painting classes when I was 4 years old.  The smell of the paint and the turpentine still lingers in my nose.  The globs of rich color on her palette fascinated me.  Throughout grade school and junior high I continued to enjoy art but it wasn't until I was in my freshman year of high school that I really dove deeper into art.  I was selected along with a few other students to participate in a special project called "Project UP" which stood for "unlimited potential".  The students that were selected were the top 1% of their class.  We had about 1000 students in the class of 1981 when I graduated.  Each of the students that were selected for this project were to pick one subject that they could explore more deeply to see if they could really develop that area.  I chose art for my subject.  During that semester I was able to do pottery, commercial art, print making, jewelry making, and batik.  This really boosted my love of art even further.  I continued to take as many classes in high school that I was allowed besides my regular studies.  I took Watercolor I and II, Drawing, Printmaking (did acid etches, relief painting, block prints, silk screening), jewelry making I and II, Batiks, etc., etc.  I also played the violin for 9 years starting in 4th grade so by the time I got to high school I had gotten pretty good at it.  I was selected for the All State Honors Orchestra and was also selected to play with the St. Louis Symphony orchestra one time.  It was a perfect adjunct to my fine art studies.  When I approached my senior year my Orchestra Conductor wanted me to apply for a scholarship to Interlochen Fine Arts Academy.  I thought about it long and hard but my true love was not music, it was painting and I really wanted to pursue becoming a fine artist.  Needless to say my father and my violin teacher were not happy about my decision!
Art helps me because it allows me a voice to express my love of life, my love of color, and my love of nature.  It has always been a way for me to connect my spiritual feelings to something concrete.  It helps me feel alive and connected with God.

PB:  Tell us about some artists you're excited about.

JM:  I love Hans Hoffman's work.  His use of color is so inspiring!  I also love Matisse, Monet, Van Gogh, and pretty much all of the Fauves.  I feel a true connection with Mark Rothko as well.

PB:  What’s a studio session like for you? 

JM:  Usually I listen to music while I'm painting.  It gets my juices flowing and the cadence of the music directly reflects in the painting's style.  Other times I will sit in complete silence and those paintings are much more subdued and minimalist.  

PB:  Any frustrations? 

JM:  I used to have a lot of frustration with watercolor.  That is the medium I used for about 20 years.  I don't know why I chose to start with this medium because anyone will tell you that it's the hardest medium to master but I guess it was the bright clear colors and the ability to let the light shine though in your work that attracted me to watercolor.

PB:  Any light-bulb moments? 

JM:  Light bulb moments....yeah I have them every time I paint!!!!

PB:  What's on your reading/looking/listening list? 

JM:  I have an extensive library of art books.  I read them all of the time.  At first I learned to paint solely by reading books so I was self taught at first.  It was not until later in my life (in the early 90's that I started taking regular workshops and classes with other artists.  That's when things really started to click when I was able to watch these masters and pick their brains.

I listen to a wide range of music.  My favorite is jazz.  I love Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Brad Mehldau, Ahmad Jamal, Dave Brubeck and Keith Jarrett.  Also when I really want to get pumped up for an abstract expressionist piece I'll listen to Santana. I've loved his music since the 70's!  Lately I've been listening to Annie Lennox, Lily Allen, Katy Perry, & Nina Simone.  I also like Michael Jackson, Van Morrison, George Harrison, Cat Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, Leonard Cohen, The Rolling Stones, Dire Straits, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and Paul McCartney.  The list goes on and on.  I have thousands of songs in my itunes library and can easily listen on my iphone anytime, and anywhere.  I also regularly listen to Classical Music since I have that training having played in the Orchestra.  I understand classical music and enjoy it very much. 

As far as my "looking" list... I regularly go to Art Museums to see the Master's work.  I try to visit a major museum at least twice a year for inspiration and to get further insight into their work by looking up close at the brush work.  I can stand and look at a single piece of artwork for hours, literally!  My husband usually has to move me along since these museums have so many works, that standing at one painting for hours is not conducive to getting through the whole place in a day.  I feel like a kid in a candy store when I go to a museum…feels like I have died and gone to heaven!

PB:  If you could pick one place to visit this year, where would you go?

JM:  If it was only one place it would be France, particularly the Provence region.  My ancestors from my father's side were from Alsace Lorraine between France and Germany.  My maiden name is Friese`. I have a connection with the French Artists and have always had a fondness for that region.  I would love to stay on the French Riviera drinking French wines, eating artisnal cheeses and painting in the lavender fields all day long.  Oh my that has got me thinking....I have got to go to this place.  I can just imagine the inspiration I would feel in my heart and soul just doing that for even a week!!!!

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