Artist has special connection to Hyde County

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, March 13, 2014

IDYLLIC SCENE: The work of Joan Sears touches on memories of childhood and the idyllic scenes of area waterways.  CONTRIBUTED

IDYLLIC SCENE: The work of Joan Sears touches on memories of childhood and the idyllic scenes of area waterways.

For the Washington Daily News

HYDE COUNTY — “I was first an observer of layers of color and form in the outdoors before I even thought of painting. I remember images that still intrigue me to this day. While my dad and I went fishing on Slades Creek, the air was calm and the sky red,” Sears said.
“They were tall with puffy tops all in black against the red sky. They had almost perfect mirror images in the water,” she said of the surrounding pines and went on to describe the stillness of the water, broken only by the occasional recasting of a fishing pole.
“I remember those bright blue summer skies with horses tails and horses’ manes streaking the blue with equal amounts of windblown white. Often I’ll see blue soccer sized balls for sale with just the same color and pattern. It is the color and form that I desire to immerse myself in and I discovered at an early age that it was mine through art,” Sears explained.
Today Sears uses those early childhood experiences to both make and teach art.

She seldom mixes media, preferring instead to work as a purist and chooses a medium for its unique attributes that best serve the job at hand.
Oils are her favorite media form to deliver the color and texture she prefers.
“But watercolors are also a favorite for delivering their unique type of workability. I reserve acrylics for craft painting, murals and sometimes for an underpainting prior to oils,” said Sears.

Sears is self-taught in art, art history and art appreciation.
“I keep up with the contemporaries and new techniques and products. I love the study of the out of doors so living in Hyde is my greatest teacher,” she said.

One of the best skills Sears advises in becoming a good artist is learning how to draw what you see even if you are drawing in paint.
“I first learned to draw using homemade pokeberry ink on brown paper bags. I was about 5 years old and I was learning to draw and learning to paint tone on tone without knowing it. It just came to mind one day and I guess all those years of observing paid off because I was able to get instant results.
Sears is an avid decoy and shorebird carver. She has awards from Rappahannock, Va., Mattamuskeet Waterfowl and Core Sound Decoy Shows in gunning and decorative decoys.

Sears is a long-time instructor with the Mattie Arts Center in Swan Quarter.