About Joanne Mehl

Joanne Mehl Paintings


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.
Joanne Mehl – Portraiture


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.

Joanne Mehl – Equestrian Subjects

Equestrian Subjects:

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.

My History:

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.