The Nature of Things
On view May 5-31
Opening reception on Friday, May 5, 6-8 p.m.
I am compelled to paint, be it the gentle expression of a grateful horse or the good humor in a goofy dog. Sometimes it is the look in the eyes of a fawn as he is trying to decide whether to bolt or stay or a rabbit pretending that I don’t see him. I paint those moments.
JoAnna Chapin is an artist who has combined two of her greatest loves “animals and making art into a career.” Working primarily in watercolors, Chapin’s work has focused on portraits of the animals around us, and her work has been widely celebrated in the Northeast where she lives. She has won numerous awards.
Beginning her career as a theatrical costume and prop designer, then a stage manager on Broadway, Chapin knew that art had to play a larger role in her life. Graduating with Highest Honors from the New York School of Interior Design, she began a successful career as an interior designer in New York City. An unlikely opportunity came along to be a wrangler on a ranch in New Mexico for abused horses. It was an opportunity she could not pass up. There she tended 19 horses, 29 goats and sheep, and 9 dogs. Her growing love of animals and art of watercolor lead her to focus entirely on her visual art career. She has studied with Bivenne Staiger as well as workshops with Charles Reid, Tony Couch, and Mary Whyte. Now she lives and works in Chester, Connecticut, as a painter and animal portraitist. She set up a yearly event for the benefit of The CT Draft Horse Rescue, which has grown to include artists from many states who show and sell their paintings. These efforts have paid for needed surgeries and treatments to better the lives of these gentle giants. In that way, art becomes a means to an end. So often it is the last chance to grab the spirit of a soul.