September 1, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Posted in From The Studio | Leave a comment
   Shine by Joan Desmond

Shine by Joan Desmond



Within a universe

of a trillion stars

I breathe, therefore I am

I think, I’m a thinker

I love, I’m a lover

I walk, I’m a walker

I stumble

I fall

I rise


Within a universe

of a trillion stars

I sing, I’m a singer

I dance, I’m a dancer

I drum, I’m a drummer

I paint, I’m a painter

I stumble

I fall

again I rise



the soul knows

when I started

where I traveled

how I came

to this

brief twinkle

Within a universe

of a trillion stars


-Joan Desmond 2015

Where Have All The Songs Gone?

March 24, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Considering Ideas, From The Studio | Leave a comment
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Into The Wind by Joan Desmond, 30" x 24" acrylic on canvas

Into The Wind by Joan Desmond, 30″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas

March announces itself boldly in the canyon. This year, wildflowers splash with vivid abandon on the hills, and the customary wind cuts deep, frantically knocking winter’s junk from pine trees. Yet underneath the seasonal flurry there’s an atypical silence on the trail. The usually rich warble, chirp, and cheep of the feathered ones have almost disappeared. It’s nesting time.

Gone are the pompous displays of song and plumage from February when the dating game was in full swing. Now, birds are paired up, busy, and strangely quiet. The male raven rarely takes his seat on the telephone pole. Nor is he at the window asking for peanuts. He waddles up the driveway noiselessly, one of his feathers amiss. I like to imagine him tired from feeding his incubating mate. A single blue jay comes foraging, rather than six or ten. No juncos, mourning dove, quail, sparrow or finch forage under bushes. No owls hoot in the dark. Occasionally, a colorful, unidentified stray flies by looking lost.

Soon this interlude will spin into April with new bird, sky antics. We’ll watch lumbering young raven take-offs, and near aerial collisions as parents caw directions; shrill alarmist blue jays in training are sure to chant endlessly, unable to distinguish a ground stick from a snake; and the sweet, versatile trill of the mockingbirds will charm again from tree and shrub. The rhythm sustained.

Charcoal on Paper

February 28, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Posted in From The Studio | Leave a comment
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Monoliths by Joan Desmond

Monoliths by Joan Desmond

and then…

February 10, 2015 at 10:06 am | Posted in From The Studio | Leave a comment
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Heartaphoria by Joan Desmond 2015

Heartaphoria by Joan Desmond 2015

The landscape calls to me

January 25, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Posted in Considering Ideas, From The Studio | Leave a comment
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This I Sing For The Setting Sun, by Joan Desmond, 36" x 48", acrylic on canvas

This I Sing For The Setting Sun, by Joan Desmond, 36″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas

Recently I was reminded of a Miles Davis quote. “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” It pretty much sums up how I’ve learned to approach landscape painting (and drumming). To paint what’s not there opens up vast potential in the imagination and on the canvas.

My relationship to my outdoor environment, my landscape, is ongoing, direct. Early, most mornings, be-robed, I find myself outside, with fingers curled around a hot cup of something as Blinky Cat and I peruse the house perimeter. First, with groggy, slitted eyes, I scan across creek and up mountain for predator movement: coyote, bobcat, or a peaceful deer. Blinky immediately sniffs out some night intruder on plant and house corners. Next, there’s a horizon check. Do clouds over the northern mountains herald strong afternoon wind? At this hour pine needles soft shuffle in a light breeze. We saunter on. Green wildflower sprouts are evident, although the cheek-felt January chill keeps most scents locked in the soil. I notice how angled light sweeps over rock face, tree bark, and pine branch. Each becomes important for a second, divulging new information, something not considered before, a color revealed, perhaps, or softness, sharpness, a rhythm. These images shift with the rapidly rising sun. Finally, considering it all, and with a deep inhale of the day to come, we return to the house, curiosity sated.

Similarly, I may step outside in the early evening, again with the intent of appreciating the scene. Often I’ll bring my 22” frame drum, and close my day by singing into it, sending the resonance into the sky, the wind, and the colors.


January 8, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Considering Ideas, From The Studio | Leave a comment
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Solidarity by Joan Desmond 1/8/2015

Solidarity by Joan Desmond 1/8/2015

January 11, 2015

“Solidarity” is my direct response to the shootings in Paris on January 7th at Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper. It was deeply disturbing to hear that journalists were executed for their written words and cartoonists for art they made. On January 8th I thought to have my image stand-alone and not write anything to go with it; the words wouldn’t come that day. Since then I’ve read many accounts, editorials, and opinions about the shootings and the newspaper itself, they run the gamut from supportive to highly critical. Granted, Charlie Hebdo published extremely controversial articles, cartoons and jokes. The tone overall is left-wing, antireligious, non-conformist…in a word incendiary. So what?

This was an act of terrorism. One more act of terrorism in an ever-growing global number. Another violent lashing out meant to eliminate, intimidate, censor, enacted by killers who are indoctrinated in a totalitarian ideology. And they want the rest of the world to believe it also, to conform to it, at any cost.

“Solidarity” is about those thoughtfully unified against terrorists. It represents the numerous worldwide voices responding to those who are violently intolerant, to those who would eliminate free thought and speech, and creative expression.

Retrieving My Muse

March 27, 2014 at 9:18 am | Posted in From The Studio | Leave a comment
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Sacred Space by Joan Desmond 2014

Sacred Space by Joan Desmond 2014

May there be

December 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Posted in From The Studio | Leave a comment
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by Joan Desmond 2013

                                                                                                                                                by Joan Desmond 2013

Frosty December Nights

December 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Extra | Leave a comment
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bring found sculpture from birdbath ice

Joan Desmond 2013

Joan Desmond 2013

The Collage Process Explained

October 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Posted in Considering Ideas, From The Studio, Mail Art | Leave a comment
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  1. First there’s a rough idea for paper collage design, or two or three ideas.
  2. Scanning your immaculately organized studio, you consider the backing/support. Heavy watercolor paper, Bristol board, museum board? Rummaging through a drawer, a file, a cart, you pull considerations out onto the desk.
  3. You bring out the stored decorative and handmade-papers. Seeing the colorful bags sorted by type and size, you feel so TOGETHER.
  4. You plug in a Mozart tape.collage-table
  5. Tear. Cut. Snip. Hey! Let’s make four different collages at once, or more!
  6. At the counter, arrange, and rearrange the paper shapes on the backings. You vaguely notice that there’s an equal amount of bits and pieces on the floor.
  7. They need something else, pop the lid off that other bin of collected oddments!
  8. By now, every studio drawer should be hanging precariously open.
  9. You didn’t notice that the music ended long ago.
  10. For the fifth time you’ve misplaced the small and large scissors, and can’t find the Xacto-knife.
  11. You bring out more scissors. Plus you consider a yellow silk ribbon; 5 inches of orange cotton cord; 1960’s stickers of a chicken, a t.v., a hula girl, and a rubber duckie; a vintage matchbox; a soap wrapper from India with elephants; and textured metal buttons. None of which you’ll use.
  12. Right about here, every surface in the studio should be covered with collage materials. The purple papers are in the orange bag, and the tans have disappeared. You feel, MMM…words fail.file-drawers-top
  13. It’s time to glue: with paste or acrylic medium depending on the paper’s weight.
  14. You glue  in layers, covering each in pieces of plastic drop cloth, so they won’t stick to the big art history text you weight them down with to dry. There’s likely a place left on the floor to put them.pastes
  15. Another layer, more stuff.
  16. If you did it right so far, the palette knife for the paste is glued to a CD cover; the acrylic medium brush is best friends with a paper towel; one shoe is stuck to the floor, and the other is trailing a bit of Thai pink mulberry paper; there is unexplained ink on your hands.
  17. Then, suddenly, you are finished- can’t remember when you started, but it’s dark now. Looking around at the chaos, you feel GOOD.
  18. That’s right, collage had its way with you.
  19. The next morning it takes an hour, or two, to reorganize, put back, wipe down …you find the scissors, and the bag with the tans under the canvas cart.
  20. You arrange some of the collages for a photo shoot.

    Collage Postcards by Joan  Desmond 2013

    Collage Postcards by Joan Desmond 2013  

  21. Hah! such a clean and tidy pic.
  22. Collaged, mail art postcards, ready for messages, addresses, and stamps. For the Grandkids. Sending some art through the mail.
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