Joyce Frances Devlin, Painter

Date Published: Mon, 01 Jun 2015

So Much Beauty

Devlin revels in Colour. It is indeed her inspiration and her passion. She dresses in wonderful fabrics glowing with vivid hues, and she dresses her home the same way. Every nook and cranny in her home is decorated with objects whose colours soothe or excite, and the whole is so much more than the individual pieces. Last summer I heard she was having a Studio Art Show, and decided to do myself a favour and drop in. On my way out I contacted my editor and announced that Joyce Frances Devlin was my nominee for our June 2015 featured artist.

After twenty years of cultivating the large gardens surrounding her small stone house in the middle of Merrickville, Devlin pulled up stakes in 2001 and bought a lovely piece of land with four gorgeous elm trees on Dwyer Hill Road. Then she collaborated on the design of a studio home that perfectly complements the scale and atmosphere of her art.

Artwork by painter Joy Frances Devlin

Because of her advancing age, people insinuated that she wouldn’t be doing as much gardening in her new digs. In a quintessentially Joyce Frances Devlin response, she planted five times as many gardens, re-contoured the property to create oases for her beloved birds, and created a flow of aesthetic harmony that extends throughout the interior and exterior spaces. I think that if my optometrist told me I only had a month longer to see, I would call Joyce and ask her if I could move in with her at her spectacularly lovely and infinitely comforting studio home in Burritts Rapids.

Another defining facet of Joyce’s life and art is her spirituality. In response to my standard “Why are you an artist?” query, she replies immediately, “Art is my way to worship.” As she puts it, “My spiritual being has no boundaries.” Since the age of twelve, Devlin has sought answers to our greatest religious, social and philosophical questions. As a devout Bahá’í, her life and her accomplishments are in complete accord with the Bahá’í Writings on Nature: “The beauty, richness and diversity of the natural world are all expressions of the attributes of God. This inspires in us deep respect for nature…”

Devlin’s gift for art revealed itself at age six when she drew a remarkable likeness of a magazine picture of King George VI. When she was nine, her mother arranged for her to start weekly art lessons in Vernon, B.C., with renowned instructor Miss Jesse Topham Brown. By the age of ten, Devlin was exhibiting her works with adults in juried shows. She graduated with honours in 1954 from the Vancouver School of Art, where she studied under Jack Shadbolt, Peter Aspell and Gordon Smith, in an era of heavily modernist art.

An Emily Carr Scholarship enabled her to do graduate study in London, Florence and Rome, and she studied Classical Mural Design at the Royal West of England College of Architecture in Bristol. After she returned to Canada she married and became the mother of two boys. Devlin is justifiably proud of the fact that she has always earned her living solely through the sale of her art. When she moved to Ottawa in 1965 she was introduced to the regional art community through Robertson Galleries, and for many years supported herself and her sons primarily through commissioned portraits.

Throughout her career Devlin has eschewed the commercial art world’s propensity for pigeon-holing artists to create “product recognition.” Her art spans portraiture, landscape and symbolic imagery. She creates what she calls "interior landscapes" — juxtaposing abstract collage with landscape imagery, and painting spiritually metaphorical images of birds and flowers.

Joyce Frances Devlin is presenting a new collection of works during her Studio Art Show on Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, 2015. Typical of Joyce, the recent canvases represent a departure from her previous work. From 11am to 5pm you can soak in the atmosphere, bask in the beauty, and be mesmerized by the talent of this local artist. There is a rumour worth noting that refreshments will be served.

Painter Joy Frances Devlin

Surfing the web I came across several resources that pay tribute to Joyce’s overarching aesthetic, her generosity and her hospitality, including: "The Artist in Joyce F. Devlin", Meet the Moose
Joyce Frances Devlin: Painter and a Painted House, Habicurious

Get in touch

For full contact details, a photo gallery of Devlin's work and more, follow the links at the top of this page.

Humm profile by Sally Hansen

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Profile | Gallery | Info for Joy Frances Devlin