On a quiet, east-end, Belleville street, lives one of the area's finest artists, Joyce Empey Smith.
Joyce, a retired teacher, grew up on a dairy farm east of Napanee and took art lessons from her Grandmother, Martha MacLean, beginning at the age of 9 for 4 years. Joyce's paternal Grandmother was an art instructor in the Kingston area and gave oil painting lessons in a studio in her home.
Joyce remembers her Grandmother working on 5 paintings at a time due to the long drying times. Her Grandmother supplemented her living by selling her paintings, which were mostly sceneries.
Joyce's Grandmother saw great promise in her young Granddaughter and had endless patience with her as she taught her how to paint.
After finishing high school in Napanee, Joyce attended Peterborough Teacher's College and then taught grades 1-8 in a rural school for 3 years. During that time period she continued to paint with oils.
In 1964 she moved to Belleville and painted mostly scenery from calendars and photographs for 4 or 5 years. While she was in her 20's she sold quite a few of her oil paintings.
Once Joyce's two sons, Rick and Brian were born, Joyce was very busy with teaching and raising her sons and did not have time to paint.
At 50, Joyce decided to try her hand at watercolours and began to take lessons from Donnah Cameron, Sr.
Donnah held lessons in her garden on Rednersville Road during spring and summer and the students could be found painting beautiful Irises, Poppies and Geraniums.
Through Donnah Cameron Sr., Joyce met her daughter, Donnah Cameron Jr., who taught her how to paint on silk when she was 52 years old.
Joyce has sold many of her colourful, beautiful silk paintings and scarves over the years.
During this time period, as well as a full teaching schedule, Joyce pursued her other creative pursuits. She has been creating lovely stained glass windows, lamps and ornaments for 27 years and has also been a skilled woodworker for 10 years. The beautiful cabinets in Joyce's cottage kitchen, on Moira Lake, attest to her fine workmanship and skill.
For the past 8-10 years Joyce has been painting entirely in watercolours and taking lessons from Sharon Bower and more recently from Donna Bonin. In April of 2007 Joyce traveled to Sicily with Donna Bonin and a group of artists to paint the enchanting scenery of the mediterranean villages and landscapes.
In September of 2007 she traveled to Algonquin Park with a group of artists to capture the peaceful, natural beauty of the lakes and forests.
As well as taking lessons from many local instructors, Joyce has taken many art courses at the Ontario College of Art, Loyalist College and also from Queen's University.
Joyce has sold many of her watercolours to fortunate buyers who spot one of her works and fall in love with the halcyon beauty and subtle colours and lines.
Through the Quinte Arts Council, Joyce has sold 5 of her paintings that hung in the halls of the Quinte Healthcare Corporation hospital in Belleville. Her work can also be seen at Fabulous Finds and she has sold 8 paintings there in the last couple of years.
Her paintings can presently be found at the Quinte Healthcare Corporation hospital in Belleville, the Ramada Inn's Windows On The Bay Restaurant, the Belleville Art Association Gallery on Front Street and at Fabulous Finds.
Joyce had 15 of her paintings chosen to be on display at the Bayview Medical Centre in 2007 for one month. In the month of November '07, she was the featured artist with three paintings on display at Barrett's Stationery.
Joyce's paintings were chosen on 3 separate occasions to be displayed in local law offices. One of them remained on display for 9 consecutive months.
Paintings from artists who are members of the Belleville Art Association can be leased on a monthly basis by either private homes or businesses.
In October-November '07, Medieval Wash House-Cefalu , Sicily (seen to the left), Steps of Sicily and Log Barn on Crookston Road, 3 of Joyce's lovely paintings, were chosen for a juried show, Up, Up and Away, at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery in the Belleville Public Library.
Steps of Sicily was chosen from amongst many to be on display at the Windows On The Bay Restaurant at the Ramada Inn in Belleville and is currently there for a 9 month period.
One of Joyce's paintings, Nature's Garden, a mixed media painting, was chosen for the juried show 'Expressions' which is currently being held at the Belleville Public Library.
Joyce explained how 'Nature's Garden' came to be painted~
"Every year, my family spends two heavenly months at our cottage on Moira Lake, Madoc, Ontario.
While sitting in my Adirondack chair I came to realize all the many types of flowers, weeds and nature's twigs and trees that made this view so beautiful. Using paint, pickling salt, seeds, glue and many types of paper, I created a mixed media picture. I am calling my picture 'Nature's Garden'."
During the 2nd Annual Lilac Tea and Art Show (a juried art show) which is being held at the Tyendinaga Township Public Library on Sunday, May 25th from 1-4pm, four of Joyce's paintings will be on display.
The following were accepted into this juried 'Art For Literacy' show:
Pansies, Moira Lake-Stoney Island, Stride and Glide(seen to the right) and
Market In Sicily
Joyce is now branching out into the painting of people and animals and I've been totally enchanted by two of her more recent works:
With regards to 'Majestic Beauty', Joyce says , "In December of 2007, I was reading a newspaper article on the 300 pound Siberian Tiger that escaped it's pen at the San Francisco Zoo. This tiger killed a man while free. There is an air of mystery about the tiger. He appears suddenly, dramatically, then melts away into the cover as secretly as he came.
I have tried to capture the breathtaking power and the beauty of the elegant striped tiger by using bright colours and using a 'wet on wet' painting technique. In my watercolour picture he rests contemplating in
the wind-whisper of movement in the pale green grass."
Age of Innocence
In addition to choosing her own subjects and scenery to paint, Joyce also does custom paintings for clients who wish to have a painting done from a photograph. Her paintings are a unique and wonderful gift for a special occasion or loved one.
Visit this link for a complete list of Joyce's paintings that are currently available for purchase.
Joyce can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jo-Anne Smith, the author of this article, is a REALTOR® with Royal Lepage Proalliance Realty, Brokerage, in Belleville, Ontario and welcomes your real estate inquiries. To contact her, visit www.QuinteRegionRealEstate.com