Joyce Zeigler

by Dana Kester-McCabe

Joyce Zeigler is a very prolific painter who was born and raised on a farm that is now part of Tuckahoe State Park near Denton, Maryland

Joyce works primarily in oils and her subject matter is the landscapes, flowers and wildlife that she sees at home and on her travels. While she did not attend an art school she has had many teachers beginning with a local artist who held classes in her Denton garage.

Joyce Zeigler:
"She was the type of teacher who made you feel like you could do anything. So I tried it. Before that I used to sew and do domestic things like that. But painting really has been my passion."

Most of Joyce's training came from workshops. She and her husband Frank owned a bed and breakfast, and enjoyed meeting new people. It got to be a habit that she would invite artist instructors to stay with her who were visiting the Academy of Art in Easton, where she took classes. They became friends and would exchange works of art. But that is not all.

Joyce Zeigler:
"Over breakfast we talked art; sitting in the living room later, we talked art; driving to the site to paint plein aire, it was the same thing. And these folks have become good friends through the years. Some have returned and just painted; and I 'm talking about from all over the country."

Joyce is in her early eighties. She has Parkinson's disease but finds that though it has slowed her down a little, that the only significant other effect it has had is that she avoids compositions with a lot of straight lines.

Joyce says painting and teaching help her to remain optimistic. That is a word that Joyce also uses to describe her painting style. Others might call her style Impressionist. Art and community are intertwined for Joyce.

Joyce Zeigler:
"I belong to a group of six women called the Traveling Brushes that have been together for thirty-four years. We've traveled all over the country and painted. We're "paint-sisters". But with this group you got an honest critique. And it meant so much to me because I was the only one who had no formal education in art. The rest talked about the Maryland Institute, University o f Pennsylvania, Drexel or something like that. I just stayed quiet."

Joyce began to get requests for lessons. Since she had plenty of room in her studio she started teaching classes there.

Joyce Zeigler:
"I have found that most people who really are interested in art can paint. They may not paint exactly the way they want to. None of us do. But every now and then there's that magic moment when you do no wrong. I was asked at the Oxford Maryland Fine Arts Show to do a one hour demo and usually one hour isn't very long. I think it was a 16 by 20 canvas. And I brought a friend's sheep photograph with me. And every time I touched the painting it was right. After about a half hour one of my friends walked by and said: "You'd better stop. That's wonderful." So I stood back and I was pleased. Then two ladies walked by and says -"Oh look at that sheep. It looks just like my mother's pet named Lucille." And I thought "A ha. That's Lucille." I put her in a show in Wilmington and got a first place and won a nice cash prize; sold it and everything else in the show because of that. But that is very, very, very unusual."

Having grown up on a farm, Joyce is often inspired to paint farms and farm animals. She also loves to paint flowers. She says her color palette is very limited. Lemon yellow, Yellow deep, Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine, and

Joyce Zeigler:
"You can get any color you want from two yellows, two blues, two reds, and white. And your painting has a lot more harmony. When I say two yellows, one is cool and one is warm. Prussian Blue, alizarin, and a little yellow, makes a nice warm black."

Joyce says that it is also helpful to put your paint colors on your palette in the same order every time.

Joyce Zeigler:
"One of the trips with the Traveling Brushes was to Prout's Neck and we went out on the beach after dark, but it was moonlight. And it was amazing because you new what color was where; how well they turned out without the regular light. That was a good thing to do."

Joyce Zeigler:
"I love to travel. I think my brochure says I travel to paint, and I paint to travel; which is true. I have a portable outfit that only weighs eight pounds. I would get panels that were made of foam and were very light weight. I would get my suitcase full of what was needed and if there was room I'd take clothes."