From therapy to passion – Morinville painter reconnects with arts

by Stephen Dafoe

Artist Joanne Wurtz beams as she shows her latest painting to the staff of Higher Grounds, one of the locations where the Morinville painter’s work can be seen and purchased.

But Wurtz’ journey is farther than the distance from her apartment to the local coffee shop. Wurtz reconnection with art has been a five-year journey that came out of a period of tougher times.

“I had been going through a lot of trouble with some strife, and some despair,” Wurtz said. “My mom had passed away, and my husband and I had split up. Everything went wrong.”

Connecting with counsellors in 2012 put Wurtz in art therapy, which helped her reconnect with a passion from her youth.

“They [the counsellors] just started me with drawing. I was actually interested in drawing in my teens and my early 20s, but then I dropped it. When he started to get me interested in drawing again, it allowed me to express myself in a positive way, and I became attached to it.”

Wurtz’ passion allowed her to take to art quickly and increase her proficiency. Learning mostly from library books in Medicine Hat, Wurtz continued to develop her skills.

“It’s a great way to learn,” she said of the power of books. “You can learn from five or six different artists. I learned some different techniques and art styles.”

From there, the artist focused on some individual artists – namely Leonardo Davinci and Robert Bateman.
“He was a master of many things,” Wurtz said of DaVinci, adding his art would often include paintings within paintings. “He inspires me a lot. So does Bateman. I love his art.”

Starting in art therapy, Wurtz continued steadily for about two years, but put down the brushes for a while, having picked up the palette again in recent months.

From more realistic expressions to abstract art, Wurtz dabbles in a lot of genres, even children’s art. “It’ll be a really big man in the moon on top of hills and valleys, but it’s really textural,” she says of her more playful children’s compositions. As to a genre, she calls her speciality, Wurtz has yet to figure that one out. It takes around four hours to complete most paintings, but some can take less or more.

“It depends on how inspired I am and how well it’s going,” she said, adding she typically paints in silence, focusing on the work at hand. “I don’t actually watch TV at all. That’s never on. I don’t have music on. I thought I’d just quiet it out for a while.”

In addition to creating art, Wurtz also collects, finding many great pieces in thrift stores.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The Morinville News will be closed for company summer shut down from July 31 to Aug. 7, inclusive. As such, we will have a limited number of stories online this week.

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