Joy Willow has been exploring the visual arts for over 25 years. She is also a trained musician and has taught voice and piano for over 30 years, maintaining an active studio in her home in Sonora. The quiet language of painting provides a wonderful balance and counterpoint to the verbal expression of song and poetry. Painting and poetry are really not very different for her, each voice whispering its invitation like woven lines of music.
Born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania, Willow was happily making abstract markings with fingerpaints until the coloring book with its strict lines stopped her joyfully messy experimentation. It took several decades to recover her desire to make art. But the long solitary walks that are still her practice, allowed her to unconsciously absorb nature’s patterns, forms, and textures. A lengthy period of study with mentors Judith Hale of Mendocino, CA and Judy Sohigian of Taos, NM instilled a love and respect for the process of painting; it is a constant source of fascination how one’s inner life and growth manifests in one’s work.
The paintings can be described as mixed-media abstract renderings of interior landscapes that emerge from meditations on the natural world. A childhood spent wandering the fields and creeks of rural Pennsylvania, alone with nature’s patterns of light, line, movement and mass, allowed an absorption of organic gestures.
In the messy creative process I use underpainting, pouring, glazing, layering, scrubbing off, monoprinting, collage, and patinas in an abstract medium creating a textured surface as a field of discovery. An intuitive sense of color combines with various movement possibilities on printmaking paper, canvas, or panel. My tools include sponges, brushes, rags, brayers, and fingers!
My work has been exhibited in galleries throughout northern California, including San Francisco and the Sacramento area. Public, corporate, and private collections in Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, and Italy also display my paintings.