WKP Artist Spotlight - Joanne Abbott
Joanne Abbott is Canadian artist living in Temiscaming, Quebec, where she exhibits her art and pursues her artistic practice through juried exhibitions, special community art projects, teaching art in local high schools as well as in the community. Joanne is currently pursuing her diploma in Art Therapy. As a Canadian nature nut, she spends most of her free time in the great outdoors. Her time spent living in remote communities throughout Ontario, Alberta and Quebec and travelling across the country has fostered an immense appreciation for the beauty and diversity of our natural landscapes and wildlife that she wishes to express within her artistic practice.
As the recipient of the BluesfestPeople’s Choice Award in 2022 for our Clash of the Canvas event, talented local artist Joanne Abbott now holds her very on solo exhibition at the WKP Kennedy Gallery. Her show will be on view in Gallery I from August 30th - September 2nd during the Capitol Centre's annual BluesFest weekend. We interviewed Joanne to learn more about herself and her artistic practice.
What inspires your art?
My art has primarily been inspired by nature and wildlife. I grew up in the city but sincegraduating from University, I have lived in small towns in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. Ilove to be outdoors either hiking, snowshoeing, biking, kayaking, running or cross country skiing. This has fostered an appreciation for nature and the wildlife that inhabit our forests.
How do you start a piece, and what steps do you take in your process?
Depending on the subject and style , my steps will vary. When I am doing a more realistic depiction of wildlife I will start by adding a ground to the canvas which at times is red or an earth tone. I use chalk to sketch the image on the canvas. I use my own photographs or photos I have been given permission to use or I purchase highly detailed photos from Wildlife Refernce Photos for Artists. From there it is a back and forth , push and pull with values. I use acrylics so there is very little blending time, which means I have to work fast to block in values and do whatever blending I can while the paint is wet. I gradually add details and further create depth with glazing. I finish with final details and the highlights.
Is there a specific medium you enjoy working with the most?
I work in acrylics but I am also very fond of colour pencils. Some of my colour pencil work has been published and two have won awards. I am hoping to refocus on colour pencil and possibly pastel in the near future.
Tell us about your studio set-up.
I have a home studio , a converted kitchen in my basement with lots of cabinets to store my art supplies. I usually have an easel set up for canvas work and I have a drafting table for watercolour or drawing projects. I also surround myself with family photos and art work to enhance my creative space. And always, always music playing.
How do you define success as an artist?
There is financial success of course, being able to support oneself with one’s art carreer. Personal success when specific goals have been achieved for instance being commissioned to do a mural, being recognized for some of your art work and maybe just
being known as "The painter lady" in town. :)
Are there any artists that you look up to or who influence your practice?
Of course Robert Bateman has been a major influence in my interest in wildlife painting. Christine Karron is a very successful illustrator who lives in Alberta. Her palette knife work really influenced me with her strong use of bold colours. She is multi-talented in many mediums, but I particularly love her wildlife paintings.
Is there a specific work you’ve completed that you are the most proud of?
I am probably most proud of my window painting project for Canada 150. I painted scenery and wildlife from each province in the windows of different businesses in Temiscaming. I am also very proud of the mural I completed last year for the Zec Kipawa. It was the depiction of wildlife, representative of the area. I am always excited with each project I put forth and complete.
Do you have any advice for new and emerging artists?
I think the best advice is to build on your skills and not to be afraid to mess things up. I have messed up many paintings but have learned from those mistakes. Get out of your comfort zone.