Joanne Hall wanted to be an artist for as long as she could remember. But, “after (college) graduation life got busy and art took a backseat,” she said. “Life has a way of forcing other things to the front for months and sometimes years at a time.”

Hall started her freshman year of college taking fine arts classes at Weber State University, followed by two years in the illustration program at Utah State University, but ended up graduating with a degree outside of art in family and consumer science with a teaching certificate in secondary education.

Twenty years without art went by until she enrolled in a watercolor class that became the catalyst for returning her to the art world.

“Now, it’s been more than 20 years since I have rediscovered art and the joy it brings in life,” Hall said. In that time, she read piles of instruction books, enrolled in every class and workshop she could possibly attend and connected with other artists.

Another catalyst came in 2019, this time steering her toward art as a career — it was a hard hat tour of The Monarch, where she now paints and teaches art classes and workshops in her studio. “I knew that’s where I wanted to be the minute I entered the construction site,” she said. And she set up her studio as soon as possible. “Even though COVID hit just a few months later and disrupted everything, I’ve never looked back.”

While watercolor is her medium of choice, Hall enjoys it all. “Flowing watercolor washes, value exploration with graphite or charcoal, layering and blending pastel, digital design or many other creative possibilities ... they all bring depth, excitement, sanity and joy to my life.”

Hall’s style and subject matter range from still life to landscape to portraiture, but for her it’s not about the subject. Instead, she says, she finds inspiration in the conditions that affect subjects.

“I’m attracted to shapes of light and shadow, atmosphere, texture, etc.,” Hall said. “The conditions are primary; the subject is secondary. With great light and shadows, any subject can be interesting and inspiring to paint.”

According to Hall, the relationship between the medium and the artist is unique in watercolor. “It’s a balance between controlling the pigment and giving up control to the paint,” she said. “When watercolor is free to flow on the paper, it naturally produces amazing blends, textures and edges.”

Hanging in Hall’s home studio is a relic of her earliest art memory, a finger painting she did in kindergarten that her mom had preserved. She says she can still remember the way the paint felt on her fingers as she pulled the paint across the paper. “I was totally immersed in the experience.”

Just as her art journey was slow to evolve — from childhood, to college and the demands of adulthood, to shows, awards, commissions, years of teaching, “battles with procrastination and a renewed commitment to focus and finish” — she describes her style right now as evolving.

“Last year brought a log of changes and time for contemplation; I feel inspired to explore new techniques and methods,” Hall said. “Who knows where that will lead?”

Hall has several classes in May geared for teens to adults and workshops throughout summer. For more information on classes, contact her at The Monarch studio 30 or joannehallartist@gmail.com.

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