I’M AN PROFESSIONAL FINE ARTIST SPECIALIZING IN COMMISSIONED PORTRAITURE, EQUESTRIAN SCENES, AND FIGURE PAINTING. I ALSO TEACH FIGURATIVE PAINTING AND OIL TECHNIQUES.
Some of my accomplishments include:
- Over 140 pieces of commissioned portraiture.
- The purchase of my 4′ x 7′ “Keeneland Classics” by the State of Kentucky for their governor’s mansion.
- Official portraitist of 2019’s Rose Festival Queen, Portland, Oregon.
- Winner of the Jean Bowman M.A. Award for Excellence in Classical Equine Art, Painting category, American Academy of Equine Art’s 40th Anniversary show, 2021; for the painting “Lifting Fog”.
- 30 exhibitions, including 3 solo shows.
- Over 40 published works in either coffee table art books, national or regional publications, or artist interviews.
- Exhibited at Morven Park’s Museum of Hound and Hunting art show, Year of the Hound, in 2018.
- Winning Best of Show at the Oregon Society of Artists Spring, 2016 Show for “Tardy Prince”.
- Participating artist in the internationally recognized Sporting Art Auction, Keeneland, Kentucky, 2013 – present; with annual artwork sales.
- Artist-in-residence, Kentucky’s Keeneland racetrack, October, 2015.
- Purchase of “Keeneland Backstretch, 6 am” by the Keeneland Library, a global information repository dedicated to Thoroughbred horses.
- A commissioned portrait for the English Springer Field Trial Hall of Fame, 2014.
- Painting the 2007 Breeders’ Cup commemorative art for promotional uses and charity auction.
- Painting the 48-foot “Dressage at Devonwood” mural on-site in Sherwood, Oregon.
- Founder of the Portland Figure Painting and Drawing Group.
- Instructor of oil painting techniques and portraiture at Portland’s Oregon Society of Artists.
- Adjunct college and university instructor in illustration and drawing, California and Oregon.
- A Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors in Illustration, from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, in 1983.
- An early career in commercial illustration serving a variety of multinational ad agency clientele.
I’ve specialized in commissioned portraiture since 1985 when I became enamored of commemorating people, horses, or pets through fine art. It’s exceptionally challenging yet satisfying work, utilizing all my skills as a classically trained artist, and demanding the sensitivity and insight needed to capture a personality or relationship. My medium of choice are oil paints and glazes, but I also work in gouache. I custom frame many of the paintings by buying, resizing, and refinishing vintage hardwood frames. Since most clients don’t have time to sit for a portrait, I typically do a photo shoot of the subject, or work from existing photos if that isn’t possible. For more info on process visit my Commissions page.
Joanne Mehl – Figure Painting
Figure Painting and Drawing:
Figure painting is related to portraiture, but is typically done much more quickly with a live model. And unlike commissioned portraits, I simply sell these artworks via this website or Figure painting is similar to portraiture but is typically done much more quickly using a live model. Painting live models is not only a great way to learn how to paint, but it intimately demonstrates how perception shapes what we see, which is fascinating. Unlike commissioned portraits, I sell some of my oil figure paintings on this website or on Etsy. I currently teach both portraiture and figure painting at Oregon Society of Artists in Portland, Oregon. I’m also the founder of the Portland Figure Painter and Drawing Group.
I’m also well known for my equine artwork, which grew out of my lifelong passion for horses. Being a horsewoman has given me the access, affinity, and knowledge of the equestrian world; whether it be the dressage and hunter/jumper, racing, Western, foxhunting, or pastoral scenes. It has also enabled me to paint equine anatomy in a realistic fashion that non-rider artists sometimes struggle with.
Much of my equine work are commissioned portraits, but I also sell scenes through Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky; Berkley Gallery in Warrenton, Virginia; through the annual International Sporting Art Auction; or online. Some of my notable sales have been the 7′ x 4′ “Keeneland Classics” bought by the State of Kentucky for their Governor’s Mansion, the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Commemorative Artwork commission, and my 48-foot Dressage at Devonwood mural.
In 1983, I graduated from Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors in Illustration. I excelled in its rigorous classical education of drawing and painting from life, and working in traditional media. While I initially worked as a commercial illustrator after graduation, I soon decided to pursue a fine art career rather than commercial illustration. Thankfully, I found success in my niche; and find great joy in finishing a painting after the often-maddening pursuit of perfection!
I have a particular interest in the Old Masters and try to study their painting techniques in person whenever I can. I am especially drawn to the works of Rembrandt, Holbein, and Botticelli, as well as more modern painters such as John Singer Sargent and Andrew Wyeth.
I was born and raised in Southern California, the fourth child of an immigrant family. My mother was a hugely important influence on my life, supporting my artistic path from an early age. I live in Portland, Oregon with my husband, two cats and a dog. I also have two horses, my thoroughbred Max, and a retired warmblood named Dutch.