If you read my blog post about learning to paint at Michael’s, you’ll recognize Joanne Massey as the instructor who helped me learn how to paint a seascape! Joanne is a talented fine artist who is best known for her luminous paintings of flowers. I thought it would be fun to share some of her beautiful artwork and what inspires her as an artist. Joanne graciously allowed me share some images of her paintings and and answered some questions about her experiences as an instructor. It’s always intriguing to peek behind the scenes, so please read on to find out more about Joanne.
What is your background in art and how long have you been teaching classes at Michael’s?
I have always loved art as long as I can remember. I studied Art at the University of Southern Indiana, and graduated in 1984 with a Bachelors degree in Fine Art. I have been painting professionally for about 18 years. I do commission work, sell paintings through galleries and my website. I have been teaching acrylic painting classes at Michaels for 2 ½ years.
Where do you find inspiration for your art?
Inspiration is everywhere! I often find it in nature. Most of my paintings come from photos that I have taken, many times while taking a walk with my camera. I photograph subjects outdoors on sunny days to get the best shadows. I love to enhance details that I find interesting. I might make a favorite color more vibrant, or illuminate a part that I want to play up the importance of.
Do you have a favorite subject or color palette for your paintings?
My favorite subjects are flowers and landscapes. Flowers are what I am known for. I paint large scale paintings most often. I like to study the delicate details of flowers and accentuate these details by letting light put the focus on a specific part of the painting that I’ve chosen.
How do you structure your classes at Michael’s?
My classes are structured for anyone that wants to paint; someone that has never painted, an occasional painter to an advanced student. I customize the classes to fit the students. My classes are small, (usually 4-6 students) which gives me the ability to spend time individually with each student. Everyone has a different goal and interests. I respect that and try to understand what each person hopes to accomplish and help them to get there. I teach a method of using the same basic step by step techniques that can be used most of the time to create a painting. Each session is tailored to the student’s interest and skill level. Usually, everyone is working on something different, that they have each chosen. We are all inspired by different things so it’s important to paint what inspires you. There is always something to be learned from someone else’s painting too, which makes class more interesting.
What is your favorite aspect of teaching painting to others?
My favorite part about teaching is simple. It is so rewarding to see someone grow in their painting skills and feel that I’m partly responsible. Also, it is wonderful when a student discovers that they love painting, and most do!
What are the basic tools and materials needed to start painting?
You really don’t need that much to start painting. Quality paint in basic primary colors and the color white. You could start with just 4 tubes of paint. 2 good brushes (1 flat brush about 1” wide and a round brush with a fine point for detail work). A stretched canvas or a canvas board. 9×12 or 11×11 are good sizes to begin with. Michaels sells a kit for beginners made by “Grumbacher”, which is very high quality and economical. It contains everything you need to get started.