Figure Painting by Joyce Prigot

Joyce Prigot, David's Models (detail, center image, Trevor), oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches


ARTIST'S RESUME, including exhibition list and creative history

Artist's Statement

Joyce Prigot landscape painting
Photo: Geoff Peterson

At this point in my life I have evolved into a professional, fine-art 'contemporary realist' painter who has a several deep roots. One root was started in my youngest years when my mother encouraged my drawing, having studied at the Art Students' League herself. Another root developed during my teen years as I repeatedly visited the world-class New York City museums and galleries and studied art in high school. My tap root developed from my academic study of painting, drawing and sculpture at both the Art Student’s League in NYC and Gage Academy in Seattle. This root has gotten stronger over the years, as I am committed to life-long learning and the mastery of more advanced drawing and painting skills.

Of all the vast array of visual wonders in this world, I paint what moves me deeply. An essential concept I care about is the feeling of home, having moved across country in 2002 to a new home. Michiko Kakutani’s (New York Times, 8/10/10, p. C1) description of home moved me deeply. She wrote, "How attachments to people and places, [and things] and feelings of safety and belonging create the idea of home." Even after twelve years in northwest Washington, I still painted to learn about my "new" home, which was so different from my home in NYC. These paintings include visual explorations of landscapes — the beautiful mountainous and rural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest; portraits — of the people who lived there; and still lifes — objects that I treasure and brought with me to my studio in Bellingham. After twelve years, I moved back to the east coast, settling in central New Jersey in a new home!!! Painting works to fill the walls of my new house brings me joy.
I feel comfortable with this wide variety of subject matter. I think the pressure painters are under to pick one genre and stick to it for decades is ridiculous and limiting. I have painted and will continue to paint a variety of subjects.

Even as a student, I was attracted to painting still-lifes. Rather than being boring or low level art, I feel that studying the effect of light trickling over the surfaces of objects is mesmerizing. The subject matter chosen for still-lifes communicates a great deal about the daily life and inclinations of painters, the times they live in and the people around them. Painting portraits, a venerable genre, has pushed my painting skills to a higher level, allowing me to capture more of nature's subtleties. I painted portraits of live models weekly for years. Even fresh water aquarium fish, which I had in my home for thirty years, has served as subject matter for me. The effects of full-spectrum light on lively creatures with iridescent skins, swimming around swaying plants, was fascinating to me.

I consider my painting style to be "contemporary realism". My style falls between the indirect methods of classical realists on one hand, and the looser representational works of artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. I work directly, usually on toned canvases with little or no under-painting. First a visual theme for the subject matter is identified. Then, after taking however long is required to create a strong composition, I work on exact placement of subjects on the surface. Generally I place the darks in first, then work on the background and light areas together. Of course, there is a great deal of problem-solving and refinement involved after that. Studio paintings can take a long time to paint, often over a span of weeks or even months.

As an art student, I painted whenever I could, taking classes nights after work and on both weekend days. That was exhausting! Now that I have my own studio, I generally stick to a late morning schedule about five days weekly. However, if the painting muse hits me, then I paint regardless of the time.

Who the heck really knows all the reasons and events that have led one in a certain direction! And who can deal fully with 'why' questions? Everyone has to do something with her life. Lucky am I that what I have always done as my avocation has now become my full-time vocation.

Anywhere!! I studied art for many years, including part-time study for four years at the Art Students' League in New York City. I also took classes at the Gage Academy in Seattle. Presently, my studio is located in central New Jersey. I make regular trips to New York City where I see great works of art in museums and galleries. I love the rushed pace and the variety of people and cultures there. These trips re-energize me and my commitment to and belief in the importance of drawing and painting.