It is fortunate for Joyce Anderson that her latest series of paintings did not involve monsoons or hurricanes.
Because the watercolor artist tends to get really involved with her subject matter, it was wet enough focusing on clouds, many of which were heavy with rain and portending inclement weather.
“Holy cow! We were in our tent trailer during many a torrential, drumbeat, wind-shaking, storm,” the Walla Walla painter says of a recent trip she took to Idaho and Wyoming with husband and fellow artist, Roy. Other times they were outside, clad in waterproof ponchos as Anderson studied the sky, took notes, and captured reference material in preparation for a series of paintings based upon “spectacular skyscapes.”
“The series incorporates a cornucopia of colors and forms of clouds,” Anderson says, adding that she has spent so much time painting since the couple returned from their trip, that Roy has posted a picture of her on the refrigerator so that he can remember what she looks like.
Creating Clouds on Paper
“My self-set goal has been to use the white of the paper to give me the brilliant gilded edges (of clouds) rather than incorporate white paint,” Joyce explains. “At times it’s been like trying to manipulate a real cloud into a shape I wanted.”
Observing clouds, studying them, learning their names and attributes, wondering how their shapes will change, this is all part of capturing their essence on paper, creating a landscape into which the viewer enters and feels the very breeze on his or her face. After such an intense time of focus, Anderson says that she looks at weather, not to mention clouds, differently:
“I find myself easily distracted now when I see clouds . . . that’s not always good when I am driving.”
The Curious Artist
Doing any kind of art, Anderson feels, requires curiosity — the heart of the eternal student, even when one becomes a teacher. And as a teacher of watercolor for more than 36 years, Anderson has kept that eternal student vibrant and alive, imparting a love of the medium to adults through classes at Walla Walla Community College Continuing Education, Walla Walla Parks and Recreation, the Carnegie Art Center, Allied Arts of Tri-Cities, the Pendleton Center for the Arts, and more.
She has also volunteered at local schools, working with elementary students to integrate art with curriculum requirements. One of the best benefits of teaching children is the same as that of teaching adults: seeing the light go on, the face animate, as the student watches the magic of color on paper, and realizes that combining one line at a time will create any manner of subject.
“None of us need to know it all in order to try something new.”
Anderson has shown her work in regional juried shows, garnering Best of Show at the Allied Arts Juried Show in Richland in 2007, with the added bonus of the painting being sold to a private collector in New York. She also has work in the city hall of Sasayama, Japan, Walla Walla’s “sister city,” as well a Spokane City Hall. The majority of her collectors live in the Pacific Northwest.
Painting Clouds at ArtPort
Both Joyce and Roy share a studio at the Walla Walla airport region, housed in one of the former military complex buildings. Announcing itself as ArtPort, which most people driving by interpret as Airport, misspelled, the building is large enough to accommodate both artists, and separately and together, the couple puts in hours of painting time each day. It changes the way she sees things, Anderson says.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t observe a subject that could become a painting — the interplay of colors in clouds, the effect of light or lack of, or the patterns of nature.
“Painting allows me to appreciate the ‘eye candy’ around each of us.”
Clouds of Beauty, All Around
But it isn’t just eye candy, she reflects, because the images of nature are more than just pretty scenes, superficial color that sparks a momentary interest, and no more. The images of nature provoke a sense of wonder, of contemplation, of appreciation for the world in which we live and breathe. And that is what she wants to viewer to take away with them when they see her latest series on clouds.
“The message I would like to extend with this display is to take a moment to truly observe the clouds in the sky, colors, shapes, designs, and patterns repeated in everything we see.
“Stop to appreciate what is all around us.”
Joyce Anderson is the featured Art Event artists at Wenaha Gallery from Wednesday, July 18, 2018, through Saturday, August 25, 2018. She will join two other artists, Batik watercolor artist Denise Elizabeth Stone and Garrett and Beth Lowe of Timber Bronze 53 home decor at the Summer Celebration Art Show Saturday, July 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free Artisan Treats will be provided, as well as a free Steve Henderson fine art note card to each visitor.
Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.