Growing up in a rural community in northeastern Ohio, Joan's interest in drawing and painting started at a very early age. She loved everything about drawing - the smell of a new box of Crayola crayons, the smooth white cardboard inserts that came from her dad's shirt laundry. As an introverted child, she spent much time by herself, drawing pictures that illustrated her imaginary life.
Joan became quite good at drawing and was recognized in high school with a scholarship to Cooper School of Art in Cleveland, a Saturday morning portrait drawing class taught by well known portrait artist Jose Cintron. The experience greatly enhanced her talent, as she learned how to capture the exact likeness of a person's face in modulated tones of light and dark. From then on she pushed herself to keep on improving, so that by sixteen, she won first award in painting in a city wide art contest.
She was accepted at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1969, and a year later won a scholarship competition held every year at the school. While pursuing a major in painting and minor in sculpture, she studied with Richard Treaster, a well known water color artist, who taught the watercolor and egg tempera technique she uses today. The technique begins with a freely painted watercolor underpainting, which gives the composition lightness and movement. She makes a paint binder by mixing the yolk of an egg with distilled water, then mixes in ground pigments such as Titanium white and cobalt blue for the color. The paint is applied in thin layers over the watercolor to provide areas of fine detail. She is evolving the egg tempera technique in non-traditional ways, with broad, flat areas of color.
Joan left school in her third year, taking a job at American Greetings as a book and greeting card designer. She left after two years to raise her daughters, but continued with graphic design and illustration on a freelance basis. In the mid eighties, her focus moved away from commercial art, when she switched to a career in computer programming, which she has held since.
In 2001 she moved to Long Barn, California, where she now lives.
She paints more than ever now, having joined the Aloft Gallery in 2015.
Joan is currently working to improve and expand her work, to keep honing and refining her watercolor and egg tempera technique. Her works are in private collections in several states.