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Joyce Ellen Weinstein


Joyce is a painter who works in oils and watercolor, a printmaker, collage artist, and she loves to draw. Recently she has been drawing in scratchboard. She joined RWS this July. Joyce grew up in Brooklyn, which at the time she says was a place to escape. She left for Manhattan and earned her MFA so that she could teach art and make a living, getting up at three in the morning to work before heading into the classroom. She was tired for decades. When asked why she makes art, Joyce said, “Oh, I have no idea. It’s a compulsion. It’s just what I do. I stopped thinking about that a long time ago.” What she does know is that if she stops making art she becomes unhappy and feels useless. “Everything about me is in my work.” From the time she could pick up a pencil she never stopped making art, except for a few months after she retired. She remembers when she decided to retire how she looked forward to lunches with friends, going to the theater and museums, and relaxing every day. For a very short while it was a lot of fun, but she suddenly started to feel depressed, like, “What am I going to do today?” She couldn’t stand it, and she couldn’t figure out why she kept getting so morose. Then one day, out of desperation, she picked up a pencil and started to draw. In seconds she felt normal and happy again. When she moved to Maine she started to do landscapes like everyone else, but after feverishly producing a bazillion landscapes and seascapes she’s over it. She was overwhelmed with nature, and insists she is not a “landscape person”. It’s just not what she’s interested in. She is interested in issues related to the human condition, “I’m interested in people and how they look, and their behavior, and their relationship to each other, and how I interpret these relationships.” She’s fascinated by people’s body language, what they wear, how they stand, how they talk to each other, and how they present themselves is endlessly interesting to her. She’s not trying to understand anything, she is simply an observer. Joyce was fortunate to have access to great art, living in New York City. “Looking at really great art inspires me. Rembrandt. Picasso. The greatest of the greats. Degas. Rothko.” Reading about the lives of the great artists, their commitment to what they do, and their compulsion and commitment to the art also inspires her. The most memorable and profound art experience she has had was years ago in D.C. at the National Gallery or Art when they had a show of Dutch artists. The galleries were set up so that when you walked through one gallery there was a big doorway that looked into the next gallery. The first gallery had a self-portrait by Rembrandt at age 19 and in the exact spot in the next gallery was one of his last self-portraits when he was an old man. When she viewed these two portraits she knew everything about the man depicted because of the difference between this incredible, youthful kid with curly hair and big eyes and the disillusioned, weather-beaten old man. “Both of those portraits were unbelievably magnificent and to see one and then the other immediately like that was magical. Not real. It was so profound.”

Currently, Joyce is experimenting with a new way to do aquatint etching. She does a lot of etching, which she loves because it’s mostly drawing. In New York she had access to an aquatint box, and now she’s trying to figure out how to duplicate the experience of aquatint without the box. “I am using spray paint and I'm experimenting with figuring out whether that will work and how I can make it work.” View Joyce’s work at Casco Bay Artisans on Commercial Street for the time being. Contact Joyce through her website, www.joyceellenweinstein.com, or by emailing joyceellen@joyceellenweinstein.com.