Manx Artist Joanna McKeefry
Me with Max and Floyd, the brown Dobermans.
New phone number 07624 222898
New phone number 07624 222898
The Beginning To Present
I come from an artistic family, born in Blackpool, but raised from the age of ten on the Isle of Man. My mother's (Blackpool) side of the family are creative, my Uncle Kevin was an artist, and my Irish father comes from generations of farmers. Holidays in Ireland on the farm and living on the beautiful Isle of Man have contributed to my deep appreciation of the countryside. My daughter has inherited the creative gene and has just started her illustration degree at Middlesex University.
Although I have always drawn and painted I have also have studied mental health and have worked in caring fields over the years with the mentally ill, handicapped, elderly and infirm, and as a volunteer for Cruse Bereavement. This work has left me with an acute awareness of mortality and the fragility of people generally, and the belief that a little kindness can makes a big difference especially when people are going through difficult times. I see art as a means of getting in touch with the peace and beauty around us, and to tap into an uplifting almost medative state and hopefully some of that is passed on to the viewer giving those who choose to look a chance to temporarily put aside their worries and find a new more positive perspective.
The sentiments of the famous poem by WH Davies come to mind“ What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to look and stare”
I am self taught in that I have not taken an Art Degree, and I learnt my craft over many years of practice and from all other avenues available. I gained valuable instruction from my (sadly now deceased) uncle and artist Kevin Scholes, Mrs Davies who taught me Art A level at St Ninian's High School,( I know that is going back a bit but these early influences do stay with you) At the Isle of Man College I was taught by the late Norman Sale, in the 80's, who was wonderful, and more recently Ian Coulson, Billee Sade and other gifted artists and teachers, not forgetting to mention the great tips I have gathered from other members of the Isle of Man Art Society. I also have an unquenchable thirst for Art books, magazines, documentaries, Art programs and often visit galleries in the UK, and of course make use of the vast Art resources on the internet.
All this has helped me on what I imagine will be a life long journey of artistic exploration. I have always had an artistic project in development or the idea of the next one taking seed. I have come to the point where I have decided to follow my dreams and work full time at my art, and so I have been able, for the last few years to work towards producing a significant body of work. Another great help has been the passing of my driving test (better late than never). I can now go anywhere on the island and get the references needed whenever the mood takes me. This has led to a surge of inspiration and productivity.
To challenge and stretch myself further I am entering National UK competitions, the first of which is the BP National Portrait competition.
Some of my most recent works have been in oils or acrylics (used with mixing mediums to make them as like oils as possible,) and I have just discovered water soluble oils. I love the versatility of oils and the vibrancy of the colours, the way you can play with the rich creamy consistency to form anything from thin glazes to thick impasto.
Each painting starts with sketches, and photographs for reference. The challenge for me is translating the 3d awesome world into a compositional image that captures all the elements of a scene that I find captivating. I take some time to manipulate the composition. After that I draw onto the canvas and create an under painting. I find a colourful rather than the usual tonal under painting works best for me. I build on this with layers upon layers of paint. Building up some areas and leaving others transparent. As I go on my brushes get tinier and tinier as I weave a rich tapestry of paint over my canvas adding detail and texture and doing much of my blending of paints on the canvas. I finish by strengthening some of the brighter highlights and stronger shadows, but on the whole I like to keep contrasts subtle to convey a dreamy softness. I have to take a break from the painting before I finish so I can see it with fresh eyes.
I love the feeling of accomplishment of having finished a painting and watching the colours come to life when varnished. Seeing the added glamour given to my paintings once they varnished and beautifully framed gives me a real high that can only be beaten by seeing them in a gallery.
Recently I purchased a SLR camera primarily to help to create better quality photo references for paintings, but I have also been drawn to manipulate the images to create from them art works in themselves. I find I am more productive as an artist if I regularly switch mediums, as I enjoy the variety and the challenge of learning new skills.
If you would like to contact me in regard to any of the works on this site or to discuss a commission please contact me at email@example.com or call me on 07624 222898.
Many of the original works pictured on this site are available for purchase in galleries on the island and all are available in various sizes as limited addition prints.