Artist of the Month: Joanna Voisine

Joanna Voisine pauses in her studio.

Joanna Voisine pauses in her studio.

LaVerne Kyriss

Mrs. Owens taught art at Buena Vista Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colorado and first got Joanna Voisine interested in exploring her creative side. “I always liked to draw and she gave us lots of exposure, but that was the extent of my art for years,” she remembered.

The Pittsburg native worked in business for several Fortune 500 companies for many years in Stamford, Connecticut. Along the way, she picked up ceramics as a hobby. “I was self-taught and became an instructor. I even hold three patents for ceramic molds I designed,” Voisine said.

She was determined to move back out west when she retired. “I told Joe that when we first got married,” Voisine laughed. So when the time came, they settled in SaddleBrooke and haven’t regretted the decision a moment.

“I’d always wanted to try my hand at painting so I started taking classes. Oil painting was first. Over time I’ve tried a variety of media — acrylic, pastel, watercolor — and taken a lot of classes. I still love oils but each has its uses. Watercolor is so portable,” she explained, “and I use pastels for animal portraits.”

Voisine’s work is pretty realistic she says. “I’ve tried to be looser, but it’s just not in me. I like the details that you can portray in a realistic scene. I like to paint buildings and architectural scenes. I also enjoy painting animals.” Voisine admits she can get caught up in the detail, “I know that less is often more and I’ve learned I don’t have to paint every single line. People will fill in with their minds. I guess I’m still working out the balance.”

But painting isn’t her only love. She and her husband have a bountiful garden and she loves to cook. In fact, she hosts a monthly group that gathers in her kitchen to can food. “Next month we’re making lemon curd,” she noted.

“I like to paint still-life arrangements and I have a particular fondness for food. Usually I paint from photos. I might start out with the fresh items, but sometimes it can take me a month to complete a painting. I like to spend the day painting. I’m not in a rush and it takes time to get it right,” she said.

“Painting is relaxing. It takes you to another place. I’m not thinking of other things, just focusing on my subject and the brush strokes,” Voisine said. Another thing I’ve learned is to start with good equipment and supplies. “I like to use oil-primed canvases. They’re more expensive, but I think they work better. And I like sable brushes. Of course, there’s a lot of clean-up to keep your good brushes in shape. That’s why I want lots of time to paint before I do the clean-up,” she smiled.

When asked about her advice for others who might like to explore art, she summed up: “Take a drawing class. Learn a little about color theory. Join the art guild. Try a class or even a course on CD. Experiment with something.”