For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features multi-talented visual artist Joyce Shaw. When describing her artistic skills, it’s hard to find the words; intrepid, playful, spiritual, and versatile spring to mind. She has mastered oils, pastels, and watercolours. Although she admits she doesn’t do much pottery and sculpture these days, she has previously created numerous works in these forms. As well, she’s written and illustrated beautiful children’s books for family members. Of special note are her detailed and realistic portraits of animals and people.
Her employment history also reflects her lifelong willingness to try new things. She has worked as a model, clothing designer, aesthetician school manager, hairdresser, boutique clothing store operator, and massage therapist. Also, for years, she was actively involved with Interlake Art Board.
Originally from Shoal Lake, near Brandon, she has lived in various other places, including Teulon, Winnipeg, Ste. Anne, and Sioux Narrows. Her husband’s job with the railway meant they moved around a few times. Despite all the relocations, they built a cabin at Lee River and, in 1995, she retired there. In 2000, her husband also retired and came to live full-time at the cottage. She now resides in the town of Lac du Bonnet.
When asked she learned how to make art, she said, “One day, I told my husband I thought I’d be able to paint, so he bought me a cheap paint set and I started.”
Over the years, Shaw has explored various medium, and numerous taken random classes. The Forum, located in Winnipeg’s Canadian Pacific Railway building, was a special place where she learned a great deal and found mentors. Although she hasn’t done any paid formal instruction, she taught her friend, Charmaine Watt, how to make extraordinary art, and led informal art classes with women friends, getting together in homes.
Along with Charmaine Watt, Shaw exhibited her art at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. Her work has also been exhibited at The Forum and in a Teulon massage parlour. She’s sold many pieces of commissioned art, for clients in wide-ranging places. She said, “My paintings have been purchased by people all over, as far away as Ireland, and even by a princess in Bali.”
Her inspiring words for making art: “Follow your passion. Believe in yourself, and do what you can do.”