Artist in Residence Joyanna Margo will be teaching and showing her work during the month of May at the Art Loft. She begins her residency with a show entitled “Blossom by Blossom” during Rockland’s Art Walk on May 3rd, 2019.
We had a chance to interview Joyanna about her artistic style and teaching method. We welcome you to her home and studio.
Joyanna, you have a very different method of approaching a painting, can you describe that for us?
When I begin a painting, I feel that there is one meant to be there on that canvas that needs to be brought to life, one that I’ve never seen before and I won’t know how it looks until I’m finished. I’m both creatrix and conduit that brings it into being. Together the painting and I put together its design. The less control I use, the more inspired my paintings are.
Your paintings are very colorful, can you tell us how you decide what colors you will use in a particular piece?
I spend hours observing the colors of the sea – its variety is endless. Even in a foggy grey landscape, the layers of colors are beautiful and brilliant when you spend enough time with them. That said, most of my paintings are jubilantly bright. I begin with a few colors I’m drawn to, perhaps inspired by a flower, photo, or piece of fabric that caught my eye. I then use colors that are the opposite of those, to heighten the first colors with strong contrast. Then usually I create a negative space using white which makes all the colors really pop.
How did you decide on the subject for your main body of work?
Before I started painting again, I enjoyed filling my house with fresh cut flowers every week but felt bad every time I had to throw away the dying bouquets. I do love the occasional cut flowers, but I’m finally improving my track record with potted plants, and for flowers, I have paintings everywhere now – brilliant bouquets that don’t fade and die. In my mind, as far as décor goes, there’s room for flowers everywhere. They are also a flexible subject, which encourages vast freedom of creativity. In the words of one of my favorite artists in England, Imogen Skelley, in her correspondence with me, “A vase of flowers is always the right thing, don’t you agree?”
How would you describe your teaching style?
In my lessons, I give the basic principals of my method step-by-step and encourage each participant to use those guidelines to create something completely unique to them. If they’re stuck, I try to give helpful suggestions to keep going. I want the painting they end up with to be something nobody else could have come up with. They should have a sense of ownership and accomplishment with the piece.
Do you have an artistic practice?
One of my favorite ways to nurture my creativity is by walking The Breakwater. I drink in colors, sounds and textures, take pictures, get my heart rate up, pray and listen. When I’m back in the studio I turn off the part of my brain that loves being in control and reach for the colors and patterns that just feel right. Sometimes there’s a specific song I’ve been listening to that will influence a painting, and I’ll write words from that song right on the canvas with colored sharpies to begin my mark-making. It feels pretty lucky if a few of the words show through after the painting is complete.
How do you see yourself growing artistically in the next year?
I’d like to expand my repertoire. There are so many things I want to learn, so many ideas for paintings and a wide variety of subject matter and art mediums that I would love to master. I would like to branch out to a wider variety of subjects, but keep the loose and instinctual style that I love. Architecture requires precision, which I can do, but it isn’t as enjoyable for me because I’m concentrating on making it perfect instead of letting the painting speak for itself. There are certain things that can look however they’d like – like flowers – and other things that really do need scale measurement. However, I’ve been pondering a graceful method of creating streetscapes, and plan to paint my favorite places here in the midcoast.
How do you feel your Art Loft Residency will benefit you?
My Art Loft Residency has already been wonderful. Karen Olson helped me create my website, joyannamargo.com, something I’d never done before, and I’m very happy with this step in my artistic journey. I love sharing my art and receiving feedback that confirms my motivation for sharing it – to bring light and joy. Teaching will be a great opportunity for me to share some of my favorite processes. It’s always inspiring to see what others come up with. I know I will have a sense of accomplishment as well because the idea of teaching has been a bit intimidating for me. A couple of years ago, I said to myself “I could never do that.” But, here I am, and I’m going to do it.