"Hockey in the Street" <view full image>


Joanne Gervais

Artist's Statement -

"My career as a full time professional artist has grown out of a diverse background which includes an Honors graduatiation in Fine Crafts (major in textiles and silkscreen printing, minor in jewelry and pottery), fashion design & sewing, teachers college, graphic arts (several hundred designs), business administration, laboratory science, physical education, teaching positions in both elementary and post secondary grades, and sole proprietor of two successful businesses.

My heritage has a great influence on my artwork, instilling a "joie de vivre" in my more nostalgic works. Raised in a family of dedicated volunteers, I learned about caring and compassion; this is evident in works such as "My Society Includes Us All". Years as a player, coach, referee and organizer of numerous sports has given me an appreciation of the physical and mental requirements demanded by both amateur and elite athletics. This background gives credibility to the sports paintings and as a bonus, a better understanding of anatomy and kinetics, which is proving invaluable in my portrait and figurative work.

Every week for the past 10 years, at least one full day is devoted to life drawing. These sessions are devoted to skill development, study of form, experimentation and peer support. Bus tours, potlucks, group exhibitions, book and video sharing, work critiques, are all benefits of this working group.

Part of my painting schedule is devoted to non-representational work. This forces me to reconsider the basic elements of painting-line, mass, colour, composition, movement, etc. without relying on the strength of "detail" in a painting. My strong illustrative background with a great reliance on realistic representation, benefits from the "abstract" approach of my more expressionist work, encouraging me to be more "painterly" with the works that do require more realism.

My innate desire to discover and invent continually leads me to new media. My current fascination is with winterstone sculpture, encaustic oil painting and oil sticks and bars. I get rejuvenated with new media and techniques, and find that my other works benefit from these "discoveries".

Financial necessity has meant that I accept numerous commissions, attend countless shows, and fulfill various gallery requests. The benefit of this rather demanding aspect of my career, has meant quick development both artistically and exposure wise. I have had to, on more than one occasion, put my courage behind me, and create a work under time, client, subject and media restraints. These situations often forced me to develop my skills further, more quickly, and with greater perfection, than I otherwise would have in a more relaxed situation. Common to all full time well known artists, I do have to protect my painting time, which is easily taken with the "business" commitments of a prominent art career. These include show preparations (packing, set-up, take-down), client visits, gallery openings, numerous phone calls/emails/mail, guest speaking, framing, printing, shipping, charity work, etc. etc.
Originally, my goal was to "learn my craft". Once I became reasonably proficient, I realized that learning was a lifetime commitment. The next goal was to add credibility to the artwork: give reason for its creation. Initially the subject and tone of the paintings were dark, moody, rather depressing! A gallery owner came by my display at a show and stated: "you obviously have talent, but why not paint other emotions? And why not paint with bright colours?" It was then that I realized that joy, pleasure and my native "joie de vivre" were as valid as the darker emotions that many current pieces of art seemed to focus on. It took even longer before sports became a subject for my paintings. For some arrogant reason, I thought that baseball, hockey and other pleasant pastimes were lesser subjects. Once my skill as an artist became more developed, subjects for a painting, loss their identities as memorable objects, and became just shapes with form, colour and mass.

I am fortunate to have developed skill in various media and techniques, with a willingness to undertake numerous subject matter and styles. My "language" is richer and more fluent because of this diversity. My prejudices are minimized, and my desire to expand as an artist is encouraged.

Although many works are created because of demand, the desire to create works for the simple pleasure of creation is forever present. This desire, rather, necessity of spirit, leads to the creation of works that may not be as easily marketable, but they are no less valuable, and on most occasions, they "need" to be done. A street kid never paid me for a painting, but they gave me a reason to paint."

Life without art… is without life.

View a record of Joanne's exhibitions.
(in PDF format)


"Take Me to New Orleans" <view full image>

"The Rideau Canal" <view full image>

"Kingston - First Capitol" <view full image>

"Someone's Child" <view full image>