Recently I moved to the great state of Maine and now live on a peninsula. The ever-changing light in the sky, on the water, and the land delights my eyes. The birds and plants abound and continuously change. And the wind, it can transform from a gentle breeze to a gale in minutes. Like the Romantic painters of the past, the sublime environment greatly influences my work.


I paint allegorical, abstract, and Romantic landscapes. Stimulated by my natural surroundings and interested in the human condition, these physical and conceptual elements collide on my canvases. My late father wrote about theological views relative to good and evil; I too often think of these polar conditions and consider how to present their dynamics.  

When preparing to paint, I write. Journaling about current events and articles or books I’ve recently read sets a mood. Sometimes I’ll sketch small diagrams of ideas. When I begin to approach a canvas, I may reference documentary materials, be they physical objects, or photographs and sketches from places I’ve been. These can aid in building a color palette or influence shapes and lines.

Once I begin working with the paint, my eyes and hands lead an improvisational dance. The idea of what I want to embody is like a rhythm. As in jazz in which one sound, strum, or beat may influence another, my marks, strokes, and colors play off one another.

© 2021 by Joanne Tarlin / Created with