Tasmanian Watercolours

Joanne Mitchelson

The Art and Music of Joanne Mitchelson  Home About Gallery Purchase The Harpist Contact   


Artist Profile

A Child Inspired

I grew up on the family farm at Westbury, which influenced my preference of subject matter; Tasmanian rural scenes. I love weathered textures.  I also enjoy capturing interesting effects of light, such as backlighting, and the sun streaming through the clouds.  I like close-ups in nature; precious little corners, which could be easily overlooked.    I owe my interest in the natural world to my life on the farm, where I noticed things from a young age, exploring my world in the company of pets and farm animals.

As far back as I can remember, I was interested in making pictures, to draw and paint things how they really looked.  I was only 6 when I made this decision, inspired from seeing the lifelike animal portraits by the Canadian artist Robert Bateman.  This was what I wanted to do!  I strove to make each drawing better than the one before and I practised drawing regularly.  Another important influence was a painting by Elioth Gruner, titled “Spring Frost, Shown to me during primary school.  I was most impressed by the beautiful backlighting, and was inspired to capture similar dramatic effects.

My Grandmother was artistic.  I often watched her doing crafts or china painting.  I recall painting a blue horse with brown legs when she let me do some china painting with her.  Every step of the way, I received a lot of encouragement from family, school, art teachers, and my peers. 

Discovering My Medium

My first introduction to watercolour painting was aged 15, at Deloraine High, when presented with dyes for watercolour.  I found a magazine photo of a simple but appealing yellow and orange sunset, with a sliver of a lake shining in the dark landscape.  On this, I based my first successful painting. From this, I did an improvisation of it, and so did the rest of the class, the teacher included!  All of my teachers were sympathetic to my love of art, and basically let me have free run to do my own style, rather than try and channel me in other directions. 

The year after I finished college, my first formal lessons in the medium were with Rosemary Mastnak.  She did much in broadening my  knowledge  of colour mixing and gave me my first bottle of masking fluid, offering me new scope to work with a variety of new techniques.

My studies at Launceston TAFE School of Art, for the Associate Diploma of Graphic Design Course lasted for 3 years.  At its completion I had achieved the highest number of ‘credits’ for my year and won the Westpac Award.  However, realising that Graphic Design as an occupation was not  my calling, I returned to painting, as I much prefer to have a pencil or paintbrush in my hand. 

Turning Professional

After finishing Art School in 1992, I devoted myself to the medium of watercolours full time for the next few years.  I produce a relatively small number of paintings and have exhibited very exclusively, due to the long hours involved in producing my highly detailed paintings.

At eighteen I submitted my art into the Max Fry Memorial Hall Exhibition, and had already sold some works by commission.  John and Margaret Broomby were the first to purchase a painting from me, for $75.00! 

About - Influences

© 2013 Joanne Mitchelson