Introducing Artist No. 97 – Joanne Mehl

Joanne Mehl, PDXOS artist No. 97, has been a professional Portraitist and figure painter since the mid 1980’s. She says “I never get tired of creating a sublime depiction of personality and physical form. Nothing is more challenging, entrancing or satisfying to me. If I wasn’t naturally curious about people, I probably wouldn’t be so hell bent on painting them. But I am.”

With the quicker, more gestural figure painting, I focus on that magic alchemy when a brushstroke seems to become human form. I use as few marks as possible in creating a semblance of space and form, with the drawing as a harmonious whole. I am concerned with the effects of light rendering form both in value and in color. I experiment with the many colors that exist in our flesh tone, the warm and cool, the intense and neutral. This allows me to perceptually “push and pull”, creating the illusion of form using the many permutations of value, hue and saturation.

Beyond portraiture and figure painting, I’ve had a pretty successful career painting equestrian themes in the field of “sporting art”. As a lifelong horsewoman it was natural I’d pursue that tangent. I’m represented by Cross Gate Gallery in Kentucky, and among other honors, my large “Keeneland Classics” painting was bought by the State of Kentucky for their governor’s mansion.

So I suppose you could say that people and their pets (including horses) are my greatest inspiration.

I’ve also done more plein aire painting in recent years and enjoy it immensely. For one thing it gets me out of the studio, and presents new and interesting creative and practical challenges. (Like Oregon weather, enough said.)

Art is my main business. I was fortunate enough to have a creative Mother who encouraged my art pursuits. Attending Art Center College of Design in Pasadena at the age of 18 was a pivotal experience for me. I learned about the dedication required to be successful in an art career. I learned a way of seeing things and an approach that still influences me today.

I have just finished a portrait commission of a 96 year old grandmother which was commissioned by her children. I am working on a commission of a rider and her beloved horse who she just recently lost. I am also working on a thoroughbred painting for The Sporting Art Auction, which is an international auction that takes place every winter at Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, KY. On a longer timeline, I am working on a group of paintings for an exhibition and sale called “ The Hunts of Virginia” that will take place at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in Morven Park, VA in May of 2018. In addition to these projects I continue to teach portraiture, figure painting and glazing techniques at Oregon Society of Artists.

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