“If you really want to be heard, whisper” (John Boswell)
My work is intimate.
I don’t make paintings that are supposed to be viewed from 50 ft. away. I like little details and interactions that you’d miss if you were too far away. I don’t like to think of myself as sentimental, but I know that those feelings have inspired much of my art.
I took my first encaustic workshop on a whim. It was not love at first stroke. I had painted in oil, and encaustic did not move like oil- it was difficult to control. I had planned on giving it up, but I needed to finish one more piece. Then another. It took me 2 years to realize that I was going to continue working in encaustic. By then I had learned how to better control it and realized that sometimes to make my best work, I had to adapt my intended plan.
I frequently use tacks, paper, and fibers in my non-representational art. To me, they are symbolic of connections from the past to the future. Of communication. And the duality between strength and frailty. The repetitive use of materials and marks are a conscious reminder to be persistent in the things that matter the most in life—to be both strong yet tender.
My art is about “Tradition” but in a nontraditional way and medium. My work, “Repetition, Repetition, Repetition” and the body of work I’m currently working on, “Persistence” are chapters of my Traditional story.
About Joyce Watts Coolidge
I was raised in the suburbs of Detroit, with parents who were born and raised in the mountains of East TN. As an adult, I’ve lived in Oklahoma where I met and married my husband Bob. From there we moved to Houston, then New Orleans, then Anchorage, back to Houston, and finally back to Anchorage. But when I went back home to visit my Mom, I slept in the same bedroom that I grew up in, surrounded by the scents and scenes of my childhood.
I am a treasure hunter, from a long line of treasure hunters. I have wonderful memories of my parents pointing out small treasures in nature: the way the moss grew, or flower petals settled into their pattern, and the smell of being in the forest. As a parent, I tried to give my own children this gift and to keep that tradition of appreciation alive.
Alaska is the home of my heart. I live on a mountain that is walking distance to the Chugach State Park. I love my view (I can see Denali from my deck!), and that I can walk out my door and take my dogs on walks into the wilderness. There are some days when I get to live “my perfect day.” I get up, go to Pilates and have coffee with friends. When I get home, I take my dogs out to walk, snowshoe or to pick wild berries. (My dogs are patient if I stop to take photos of ice crystals or lichens.) When I get home, I put an audiobook on, tie my apron on and paint. Life is good and I am grateful.
Selected Pieces by Joyce Watts Coolidge