Artists in our town: Joyce Schlapkohl
It’s no secret to those of us who are artists in Haywood County that the area is brimming with interesting and creative people.
It may not be so apparent if you aren’t a part of the local art scene. I’d like to introduce you to some of the artists I’ve met, and admired for different reasons.
This month meet Joyce Schlapkohl, who is not only a wonderful artist, but a teacher and mentor to many who are learning to paint. I had the opportunity to meet with her and discuss her philosophy, technique and art in general.
Joyce was 28 when she suffered a severe back injury and suddenly had time to paint seriously during her recuperation. She, as most artists, had an interest in art from early childhood. A seventh-grade teacher noticed that she had talent and encouraged her.
“We never know what influence others may have on us. I still remember a painting of an elk in the sunset that I created in her class. She loved art and passed that desire to “see” on to me,” Joyce said.
Her art education background started formally with a private teacher and over the years she took many workshops. When Joyce spent her summers at Rivermont resort close to Waynesville, she realized that there were many talented painters here who could benefit from professional, nationally recognized teachers.
She began to recruit these teachers and had students from the area and all over the nation to come to her summer workshops. In addition to workshops she attended Florida Atlantic University and Broward College for in depth drawing and painting classes.
The French Impressionists as a group have always been her favorite, not only for their painting style, but also their courage in changing the art world. Their ability to see light in nature and capture its essence was a major change.
“I am now also intrigued by the Russian Impressionists as well as the American painters, Sargent and Ingres,” she said.
For many years I studied, taught and painted in watercolor. In fact, I was president of the Blue Ridge Watermedia Society when we moved to North Carolina. After a while I felt a strong desire to switch to oils and have been painting in oils for the last nine years. I love it!
Joyce says that she often wondered if no one took her classes or if she didn’t sell anything, would she continue to paint.
“The answer has to be yes, but it would not be as fulfilling. A lot of painting enjoyment is having others appreciate what I do. I can’t imagine not looking forward to the next painting and watching it come to life," she said. "My happiest days are when I’m in my studio, music playing and losing myself for hours in my painting. I am continually thankful for this gift of time.”
Joyce is presently exhibiting in three galleries, The Asheville Gallery of Art, Seven Sisters Gallery in Black Mountain, and Cedar Hill Studio in Waynesville. She also has a website, www.joycepaints.com and an annual exhibit at Laurel Ridge Country Club.
Margaret Roberts is a local artist who has her work displayed at several downtown Waynesville galleries. She has a bachelor’s degree in art and a master’s degree in adult education and specializes in watercolor collage. contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.