New Jersey artist Joan Gallagher pulls from local scenes as well as other themes to create her colorful portfolio. Visit her website to see more of her art.
Color. That is how I describe my work in a single word. I like to make art that is bright and cheerful. Even when I paint old windows and buildings, they are colorful.
Photography has always been a large part of who I am, and now that the photography world had gone digital I have finally found my true voice. When I was in art school, I still remember that feeling when I developed my first image in the darkroom. Now I get excited when I edit a photo on my computer. It is so much fun and gets me ready to go to the next step and paint my new image. The decision then is to go with acrylic or watercolor. I let the image tell me what to do and then, the magic happens. I feel so fortunate to combine both worlds into one. Painting makes me happy and I hope to convey that in my work.
I have painted my whole life. In my studio hangs a picture I did in kindergarten. It’s a painting of a dog. I received the art award in kindergarten and then again in high school. It seemed a natural progression to go to art school. My parents were very supportive and allowed me to pursue what I loved. It was unusual for a girl to go to art school in the late 70’s. Many girls I knew were teachers or secretaries. I went to a very competitive high school and never really felt like I fit in (except in art class where my teacher was so supportive).
After art school, I worked in a company that had an art department and a shop where I learned how to use saws and tools. Boy, was I in my element. Creating is just what I am here to do.
Several years later, I was a partner in a mural/faux finish business and this was a dream. My partner moved out of town and it was just not easy to do alone, so we folded up shop. I have continued to paint all through the years and now feel it is my time to shine. I always am looking for more subjects to paint and have joined a photography group that gets me to places I may not have thought of.
I used to paint just flowers, but living at the Jersey Shore gave me the ocean and boardwalk, and that has been a constant source of inspiration for me. I have a personal connection because I went there as a child and my children have worked there. Many of the pieces I have painted no longer exist because Superstorm Sandy and a fire have destroyed them. Luckily, I had old photos that I took of the boardwalk.
Being an artist is really who I am and what defines me as a person. How fortunate I am to have this ability to share my story this way!