A journey into silk art brings more than imagined
When someone believes in you anything can happen. It was back in 2008 when JoAnne and her husband, Chris Noyles, saw a silk banner for sale that JoAnne felt she just had to have.
“It was a beautifully painted green and gold tree of life where the roots had the words ‘Rooted in Love,’” JoAnne said.
Over the years JoAnne dabbled with different mediums of art with little success. After seeing the ‘tree of life’ banner, it was Chris’s faith in his wife’s artistic abilities, and JoAnne’s desire to branch out into a new art medium that started her journey into silk art. Immediately, she signed up for silk painting classes, got hooked, and ordered materials to make her own works of art.
At first it wasn’t easy to sell her paintings that hung on curtain rods with beads on the bottom. According to JoAnne, “People didn’t see my work as ‘art’.”
Today, JoAnne staples her silk, sometimes measuring 30 inches by 24 inches, to canvas. “Now people better receive my finished product as Fine Art”, JoAnne said.
Her palette consists of different sized paintbrushes, Q-tips, colored dyes and Magic Sizing starch spray. Magic Sizing spray is an age long brand of starch my mother used to spray on my father’s shirts before ironing them. JoAnne uses the Magic Sizing spray in a unique way. She covers her silk with it to give her better control of her paints. It takes about 20 hours to produce a painting in her studio located just a short jaunt through her bedroom. She starts with a photo, and draws out the image. Watching her work you can see the biggest challenge for JoAnne is controlling the dye as she paints. What isn’t a challenge is her natural ability to meticulously bring out the detail of what she paints on her easel.
What JoAnne likes to paint is similar to the banner that she and her husband saw in 2008 — nature.
“When I’m kayaking at Beach Lake I love looking at the birch trees and the water reflections in the lake and feel like I want to capture that in my art,” JoAnne said.
Other popular themes she likes to paint are Alaskan birds and flowers. While I looked at one of her finished pieces with birch trees and chickadees on the branches, the depth of the colors magically brought me into this divine world of nature that captivated me to the point where I didn’t want to leave.
“I love using warm colors such as reds, yellows for highlights and since Alaska is dominated in the summer by blues and greens I use them often,” she said.
Working on silk is a medium JoAnne can understand because silk is light, it moves, its durable and can be displayed in many ways. “I love the things I paint it makes me feel alive on the inside,” JoAnne said, “I hope when someone looks at my pieces it will evoke the beautiful feelings of peace and relaxation.”
Her love for what she does created unexpected success. She now has paintings in five galleries across Alaska, including Picture This in Eagle River, the Downtown and the Dancing Leaf Galleries in Talkeetna and Sevigny Galleries in Anchorage and Skagway. She will be a featured First Friday Artist in June at Sevigny Gallery in Anchorage. JoAnne says her husband is her biggest fan. “He sent me flowers and a card that I keep near my work. The card says ‘To the best silk painter in Alaska’.”
For more information about JoAnne’s silk paintings go to naturesveilstudio.com.
Here are some apps to download if you like to draw or want to learn how to draw: ‘How To Draw’ and ‘My Sketch.’
ArtScene is a montly column looking at the arts in Chugiak-Eagle River. To contact Elisa, email email@example.com.