For Yarra valley-based artist Joan Blond life is bold, bright and brilliant. At first glance her abstract paintings resemble sprawling lines or random splashes of colour. But look a little closer and the detail within the work begins to breathe a life of its own.
Joan’s work is layered with every element of her natural environment, from the foliage of a tree, to the shape of its trunk, to the hill it grows atop. The hills of the Yarra, from which her story about living in rural Victoria unfolds, are her constant companion. But it’s her connection to the land and the positive energy that radiates from it which seems to really dominate her work.
“The message I am sending the viewer is one of happiness, a love of life and a love of the beautiful colours we are surrounded by,” the artist says.
“I get a lot of feedback from people saying that my paintings evoke happiness and are uplifting.”
Joan infuses her paintings with an intuitive and natural reality. While her works speak of her own journey and experience through the landscape, the abstract florals and botanicals she presents are familiar, perhaps even nostalgic. Memory is an important tool for the artist, so too is experimentation. She frequently experiments with different techniques in her paintings – adding ink or gold leaf to punctuate the canvas. For Joan, experimenting with materials allows her to constantly reflect on her own personal growth and journey.
“I mostly use heavy body paints. I like paints with substance,” tells Joan. “I like experimenting with glazes and, once a colour dries, I add medium or a glaze and go over that area with another colour for a different effect.”
The resulting works are a symphony of colour, evoking an emotion carefully balanced between tranquillity and excitement. As we delve into the visual complexity of Joan’s canvas, so too do we delve into the mind of the artist and the landscape she holds dear.
“I am blessed to share my stories and to evoke emotion through each and every piece,” she says. “My hope is that my work will trigger a memory or a personal experience for the viewer.”