Maureen Joyce
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To Maureen Joyce, the sky isn't merely blue. It's cerulean, or one of the other shades of blue in her art kit.
“It's like learning a second language, “Joyce says when you start dreaming in a second language you know you've captured it and that's sort of how I feel. Once I start looking at things differently…I think I've got it.”
Joyce is a co-founding member of the Bradford West Gwillimbury Studio Tour, and a member of the Society of York Regional Artists, South Simcoe Arts Council and Artists at the Gibson
She has always loved art, but as a little girl wasn't encouraged to pursue it. Instead, she focused her creativity into decorating tables at the holidays or making clothes for her children.
“I even taught a macramé class one time to keep the creative juices flowing,” she laughs.
Before discovering her own artistic ability, she also spent 21 years working at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg.
“I guess what I was doing is quietly filling in a little void in my life without me being aware of it,” she said. “I was just gathering information.”
It wasn't until she was being treated for throat cancer and wasn't able to talk for months that she decided to pursue painting.
“When you do that you really have to draw yourself inward cause you can't communicate in other ways,” she said. “It gave me time to reflect and think about what I wanted to do, and I thought, well, if I get through this I want to do some art. That's really the beginning of my art.”
Walking into her first art class in Bradford was terrifying, but it didn't take long for her to get comfortable.
A 15-year veteran artist, she's passionate about what the experience draws out of her, and other artists. She says getting really tuned into the creative process is a beautiful experience.
“The energy just flows through you, it goes down through you through your hand and onto the paper. It's a wonderful place to be. You just have to learn to block out the rest of the world and shut down your mind,” she says.
Most paintings are inspired by nature. Her canvases portray everything from the changing pink of a peony, to carefully mixed blues and greens capturing a stream in the forest. One of her favourites is called Christmas Memories and depicts her husband, son and grandchild carrying trees through the snow.
Her work takes shape through photographs she takes; sometimes it's two or three photos pieced together that make a canvas complete. Other times it's an image she sees and translates into a canvas.
Perhaps the greatest labour of love is a scene from rural Newfoundland she painted in acrylic. It captures a house being moved over water from one side of the town to another. Without a picture to work from, she pulled it together from her husband's memory. She'd sketch something and he would suggest things to move around or change until it looked just right.
“I picked his brain and asked him 100 questions,” she quips about the piece that took two years to complete.

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