A native of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Joan spent earlier years in corporate and small business enterprises. While she always found time to nurture her love of art, it wasn’t until she retired to Placitas in 1999 that she became a full time artist and promoter of the arts. Wandering the caminos and callejones of New Mexico and Colorado in search of “visual stories” has been an integral part of her creative process for over 40 years. An ancient tree, a lonely road, a village chapel, an old truck, abandoned buildings and ruins or a dramatic cloud formation catches her eye and becomes a part of the image collection that includes negatives, slides and now digital images. In the studio, an image is cataloged and may be simplified to produce a study for a painting or become a fine art photograph. Even as the last couple of years have found her cast into the role of caregiver, she continues to draw from the wealth of inspiration and material she has collected. She also continues to find time for the art community as part of the committee responsible for the annual Placitas Studio Tour and a founder of the new community radio station in Placitas.

Artist Statement

I have been travelling the caminos and callejones of New Mexico and Colorado for over 40 years, capturing villages and vistas in paintings and photographs. I grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where my mother and grandmother were born in the high mountain mining camps. They were content to stay planted there. My father's people were in this country before the Revolutionary War but came west, some in search of gold, some in search of adventure. My father was born on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming where grandfather had come to live among the Shoshone and build schools. My urge to wander must come from my father's side of the family (or from a passing Raven; who knows)!

Most of my adventures have been found closer to home - coming to New Mexico in the 1970s and discovering a place where ancient and modern, familiar and exotic coexist. While not much matches the scenic beauty of Colorado, New Mexico holds more surprises. You never know what lies at the end of that dirt road until you venture down it! Rudolfo Anaya wrote that there are places on this earth where the energy that flows between earth and sky are stronger than most and, for me, New Mexico is one of those places.

As I travel the back roads, I am looking for stories. An ancient tree, a lonely road, a village chapel, an old truck, abandoned buildings and ruins or a dramatic cloud formation catch my eye and become a part of the image collection that includes negatives, slides and now digital images. Back in the studio, an image may be simplified to produce a study for a painting or may become a fine art photograph. While my oil paintings are becoming more abstracted with time, my photographs continue to tell their stories in detail.

Some landscape and architectural images have been published in book form in collaboration with cousin and poet Karen Biddle: Placitas del Sol (now in its second printing) and Pilgrims and Promises with photographs, poetry and documentation on 28 historic New Mexico churches and moradas.