Joanna Powell

Joanna Powell is an artist specializing in paintings of folk musicians. She studied Fine Art at The Storey Institute, Lancaster before moving to Scotland where she brought up her family, exhibited regularly, and became immersed in the rich musical culture there, both as a musician and an artist. Initially she worked as a portrait artist, practising on her own children who she sketched from the moment they were born until adulthood, but soon started to sketch her fellow musicians as well, which then developed into the current painting style.

Why do you do what you do?: I'm passionate about music and art, and have managed to combine my two favourite subjects.

How do you work?: I make initial sketches and take photos of musicians in every day life, at music sessions, parties and at gigs and concerts. Once I have some sketches, I transfer these to canvases and usually do an under-painting often in blue or turquoise so the colours will show through. To get into the right mood for painting, I usually go for a walk/saw up some logs and then practice my accordion. I usually listen to music while I paint, anything from French accordion music, to something more ambient to hip hop, I like to make up varied playlists while I paint. My paintings are all in oils which is my preferred medium.

What art do you most identify with?: I have to be moved by a piece of art (the same with music) and it can be anything - a play with colour, shapes texture, a sketch, an angular print, as long as I feel moved in someway, I'm not too keen on super realistic art, though I appreciate the skill involved.

What’s your favourite art work?: It changes all the time, but right now its 'Park Bei Lu' by Paul Klee.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you: I have begun to be very much influenced by the children's drawings in my classes, just as much as they are influenced by me.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?:
I have worked as a nanny, children's worker for social work department, carer and art tutor.

What research to you do?: constantly watching positions that musicians get into, and also going to exhibitions and looking at artist I admire.

What is your dream project?: to spend a few days sketching and painting my favourite musicians while being inspired by the music they are playing.

Name 2 artists you’d like to be compared to: Borski, Modigliani.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?: draw what you see and not what you think is there.

Professionally, what’s your goal?: to exhibit more and further afield, up to now I have only exhibited in Scotland and the North West.

What wouldn’t you do without?: definitely my sketch pad +pencils, my accordion and guitar.
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