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Artist Profile: JoAnn Goosney

JoAnn Goosney at work in her studio.

ISLE AUX MORTS – There are some people who have a passion for one particular thing, or one small field of a certain pastime or job. JoAnn Goosney does not fall into that category.

“I’m an evolving artist,” she explains. “I really started painting in the early 1980s, and I took multiple courses from different artists.”

She also worked with private art tutors, in their homes, from whoever was available in her area.

JoAnn has had no formal training in an art school, but instead relied on other Newfoundland artists and her own natural abilities to evolve into an artist and teacher in her own right.

JoAnn moved to Isle aux Morts in 2010. Originally from Deer Lake, she had just retired from working as an administrator at Marble Mountain in Corner Brook. She and her (future) husband decided to take in a bit of small town life and made the move to the coastal community.

About a year later, a position with Marine Atlantic came up, and she decided to take a stab at it. She’s been there ever since.

“But being an accounting analyst is what I do, it’s not what I am.”

JoAnn began her foray into painting with acrylics, which she loved at the time. She also seemed to have a penchant for realism, focusing on finely detailed wildlife and nature imagery.

“And then I started to explore what was out there, and I fell in love with decorative painting – the whimsical and lighter side.”

Looking at samples of her work, there is a markedly different tone from one piece to another. From a beautifully detailed bull moose standing over a pond in front of a sunset to a wildly colored handful of daffodils that have gone to seed that directly reflects her whimsical phase, JoAnn seems to be able to put a little bit of personality into each piece.

Despite having sold works in acrylic, JoAnn still enjoys the decorative side more.

“I paint on glassware or on ceramic. Its not framed art. It’s totally different. You look at it completely different than you do a framed piece.”

She took her works to craft fair, markets, noting, “ I did the big show, which was St. John’s Christmas at the Glacier.”

She did quite well with hand painted glassware, getting retail sales in shops around the entire island. After she began branching out into different forms of art, JoAnn started to branch out into something different again. She was inspired to begin creating motivational cards with bespoke artwork and quotations.

“I created this line of Artcards, and I’ve started to explore watercolors and pen and ink. They are inspirational, and I do it in memory of my mother. I call them Laura’s Wishes.”

The cards are sold locally in Pitcher Plants Flowers and Gifts in the Grand Bay Mall, and in other stores across the island. She also has a Facebook store for online purchases.

JoAnn has chosen to help others, much in the same way she was helped when she was starting out.

“First when I came out here in 2010, there was a small group of ladies who wanted to learn how to paint. And actually, a couple of them were teachers. And I said, ‘Well, I don’t know how to teach.’”

In true Newfoundland style they helped each other out, recalls JoAnn.

“I said ‘If you teach me how to teach, I’ll teach you what I know about painting.’”

It seems to have worked out, because JoAnn is still teaching people how to paint.

“I learned to love teaching from there, and I’d say about five years ago I started to do Paint Nights here.”

Paint Night with JoAnn is an open call to residents to come and learn how to paint. JoAnn provides everything that’s needed, from canvas to brush to paint and paper. She says all her students need to do is show up.

She teaches every student the same painting in one session, usually averaging around 25 people per session. She takes you step by step through the painting, and students take their completed paintings home that same night. Most students are women, with the occasional youth as well.

Recently JoAnn also held her first Virtual Paint Night and says it went well.

“Of course, COVID has really restricted what I can do, and how many people I can have.”

She has her own studio in her home, but it is not suited to hold classes.

“I have held classes there, but its for my own use. I have invited other artists in though, but it’s really just for me.”

JoAnn has a strong desire to teach children these days, perhaps via private lessons.

“I love it. They are so open, and creative and fearless. And I totally encourage that – to be their own artist.”

When asked what her favorite piece is, JoAnn says her most beloved is “The Calling of the Sea”, which she painted in 2010. The title, according to JoAnn, is because the woman is letting go of grief.

“She understands that that’s our way of life, to suffer loss to the Sea.

Years after taking up the brush, JoAnn is still evolving her style and still evolving which direction she takes her talents.

“I know I can do the really detailed fine art, but it’s not really where I want to go anymore. I will still do it, but mainly for myself, in my own small little collection. I don’t think as an artist you need to pigeonhole yourself.”

To learn more, visit Art by JoAnn Goosney on Facebook.

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