Featured Artist: Joan Blackwell

Joan C. Blackwell
Joan Blackwell

We are pleased to present Joan Blackwell, the co-Featured Artist with Nancy Johnson for the June – August 2022! Joan has a deep, rich history that can be seen reflected in her work. Stop by the Guild House soon to see a collection of her art pieces on loan in the Featured Artist Gallery June – August 2022.

Below Joan shared her thoughts on how her life and background influence her artwork. Just a few of Joan’s works are included.

At times, my art reflects movement, reflection, representation, historical trauma, life events, honoring of sacred Native American traditions, invoking spirits of the past, present & future, or spiritualism, but always created in a positive genre. A constant juxtaposition of creative ideals is stored in my brain and continually wants to be seen on canvas. I believe my Lumbee Native American ancestors are speaking to me as I show their messages on canvas. Hopefully, these art pieces will continue to carry good messages to the next generation, as that is my intent. These ideals are reflected by the diversity of color, many details, and at times, are shown in cosmic iconographies, such as whimsical animals, and realistic, modern and spiritual imageries in form. I am influenced by what I see and feel from day to day. Whether I am researching or listening to an Art Survey lecture, I find myself thinking and contemplating, and I am inspired to create a new art piece. For instance, one day I may study African art and the next day I may be inspired to do form line art based on the indigenous art of the Northwest Coast of North America. I never know what I will do, but the creative thinking process is exciting, and the completion is the grandeur journey of being an artist.

My visions on canvas tend to document ongoing subconscious, conscious and spiritual journeys. I try to leave others feeling better after viewing my art and after meeting with them to encourage unity. My maternal grandparents, Rev. Martin Luther Lowry, Sr., and wife, Cammie (Locklear) Lowry were educators, farmers, civic-minded, and Lumbee Tribe members. They greatly influenced my scholarly studies, appreciation of all cultures, and the need to keep my mind and hands busy to maintain balance in life. Their lifestyle taught me fruits of labor by teaching me how to grow flowers, vegetables, preserve foods, appreciation of Mother Nature, respect towards all two and four-legged animals, and a strong foundation in faith, hope, and charity.

As a perennial learner and researcher of various cultures, many of my paintings reveal fantastical environments that are rich in detail, color, and spontaneous in form. At times I am deeply affected by catastrophic events, such as the murders of innocent victims, and will stop what I am doing to show my feelings on canvass to honor the victims. Those tragedies projected on canvass include Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Men and children, the Charleston church massacre, the murder of George Floyd, military female Native American warriors, and the wars America was involved with during my lifetime and before. I am the mother of an Army pilot and daughter. Through them, I have many grandchildren. Unfortunately, they all live out of state, due to their professional lifestyles. To avoid the voids of missing them, I adopt neighbors’ children to teach them art or share meals, times. My accomplishments include a master’s in art teaching (UNCP) 2019, career background includes Department of Defense contractor, classified management analyst. Assignments included positions at the State Department, Washington, D.C., and various military installations.

Today my passions include private art lessons at my home, focus on creating new art, marketing my art, sharing art techniques and expertise, volunteer work for the Lumbee Tribe community, learning new art techniques, growing flowers, participating in art show events, sharing with others, walking my dog Chica, travel, and placing God and family at the top of my lists.

— Joan Blackwell, Featured Artist, Robeson Art Guild


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