Joanne Shamp Paints FMB

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“An Inspiring Place to Live”

“While advancing my professional career, art was the furthest thing from my mind,” said accomplished artist Joanne Shamp, who doubles as Vice Mayor for the Town of Fort Myers Beach! “I was in science and rehabilitation medicine, but always thought of myself as a creative person. When we sold our business and moved to Fort Myers Beach, my husband Dan actually bought me for my birthday, art lessons at the Fort Myers Beach Art Association, and I took about 10 classes from the great Lee Ackert, a woman who was a legendary beach artist who sadly passed away a few years ago. I was so inspired by her and our island landscape! Everything here is so colorful and vibrant, and translates well through the paintbrush onto the watercolor canvas.”

joanne shamp, artist, fort myers beachTo start, Joanne more dabbled than anything else, but eventually worked up the confidence to register for the “Paint the Beach” Plein Air Art Festival that the Fort Myers Beach Art Association hosts each November. “I did a painting of the beach from the top of the Lani Kai Island Resort and, lo-and-behold, received an award in my first competition! The judge said how much he loved it and it was very marketable. My next painting was from the top of Snug Harbor and that won an award as well, so I guess I need to paint from up high, with a great beach view! I do not sell my work, preferring instead to donate my paintings to island fundraisers to help my fellow citizens.”

Joanne never painted as a child: “I come from a family of mechanical and electrical engineers, so I constantly took apart and put together record players and radios, to understand how they worked! My sister is a successful fashion designer in New York City and a great artist, so I assumed she received all the artistic ability from our gene pool and left me with science! I still see that in my artwork, particularly in my early paintings, as they are very architectural, so I constantly work to make them less structured and more liberating. That is all part of the journey, for as an artist, you adapt and grow, as there is no right or wrong. You can be in a roomful of artists, all working on the same image, and no two will produce the same portrait, as we paint what we feel.”

No Experience Necessary

Joanne encourages anyone with an interest to sign up for beginner classes at the Fort Myers Beach Art Association, “even if you have no previous experience. You will find them tremendously interesting, learn how to express yourself and make new friends to boot! There are so many talented people on this island, and we are so blessed to have such an outstanding Art Association. Going there adds enrichment to my life in ways I never imagined nor guessed; they are such a welcoming and talented group.”

At this point in Joanne’s life, she does not paint as much as she would like, between being Vice Mayor and preparing for her youngest son’s wedding later this year. “I am just too busy to step back to let the creative process happen. Once I am done with Council, art is the direction I plan to take.” Despite her time constraints, Joanne’s family completely supports her. “I did a portrait of my granddaughter about 8 years ago, and am working on one for one of my grandsons, and now the other one is anxious to know when I will do his, and my daughter-in-law wants a portrait! I did one of my oldest son when we visited Cuba, but have yet to do a painting of my second son, and then of course there is my future daughter-in-law, and hopefully one day more grandchildren! Dan, who started it all by buying me those lessons, is the most supportive, maybe just to keep me out of the way!”

fort myers beach, artistShe has already hosted several exhibits. “I was ‘Artist of The Month’ at the Fort Myers Beach Public Library, and a few months back had a show at the Art Association with a friend that featured Plein Air works I did outdoors, especially from trips to Italy and Nova Scotia.”

Joanne reflects on what art means to her: “At my age of 66, it is an accumulation of all of the experiences I have, intellectually and emotionally, to express the world around me. When I finally have time, I would love to paint the historical cottages we still have on the beach, to preserve them for future generations. There is not another place I would rather paint than Fort Myers Beach, as this is such an inspiring place to live!”

 

Gary Mooney