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Watercolorist latest exhibit at Proctorville

PROCTORVILLE — As a self-taught artist, Joyce Steele understands success comes from hard work, a good eye and the ability to nurture one’s own talent.

But there’s another element in the equation for the Catlettsburg, Ky., watercolorist.

“It takes practice and perseverance and prayer,” she said. “I am a Christian and I give the Lord the glory for what I do. I think he is my teacher.”

Steele is the featured artist for May at the Ohio University Proctorville Center, where 26 of her works on paper are on exhibit throughout the center.

As a child she found she enjoyed drawing and as an adult she developed a greater interest in painting. The only formal schooling she took was a correspondence course.

“I started out in oils, but in the 1970s I heard about the Kentucky Creative Art Club. That is where I found out about watercolor and I put away the oils,” she said.

Steele focuses her talents mainly on landscapes, but does work on still lifes and portraits.

“Watercolor is more difficult,” she said. “If you don’t like it in oils, you can paint over the top of it. With watercolor, it is transparent. Once it is on your paper, it stains. But watercolors, I have just stuck with it over the years. I pretty much know how it handles. It is easier for me because I have been painting. But I am still learning you never quit learning.”

Her landscapes are done both from photographs and on site.

“At times I go out and sketch,” Steele said. “You can learn so much going outdoors. More than you can from a photograph. Most of the things I paint are scenes where I’ve been. I will take photographs of something that will catch my eye.”

The fact that painting is a process over time is one of the qualities of art that appeals to Steele.

“I like seeing things come to life with my paint brush,” she said. “Knowing I can do this on a piece of paper. It has to really stir me inside. If it touches me, it will touch others. I like to capture a moment in time with my brush, to watch things unfold.”

Steele’s exhibit will be up through the month and is part of a continuing series of art shows that instructor Gary Tillis is organizing for students and community of Proctorville.

“I chose her primarily because she is one of the most consistent and better known artists in the Tri-State,” Tillis said. “She is a good catch for us. Whenever we get the chance to do an exhibit on an artist of her level, we take advantage of it.”