Joanna McFarland

Non-objective Painter

About Joanna McFarland

Artist’s Statement

Non-objective art is free from conventional, representational art such as landscape and figures. They are expressions of personal liberation, into which I invite you to explore and discover.

I follow in the footsteps of 20th century abstract expressionists such as Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. But I have an affinity with other female contemporary non-objective painters such as Fujiko Shiraga and Lila Lewis Irving.

Music inspires and informs my work, especially jazz, blues and classical guitar. I interpret, sometimes translate, phrases of sound using the language of colour and the grammar of shape and form.

My work is liberating, evocative and stimulating. It is all about freedom – the freedom to think and feel and to see what you want to see.

Learn more about how I paint on my process page or watch some of my videos. For the latest, check out my social media channels.

Joanna McFarland

About Me

I have studied art for a long time – colour theory, composition and technique – by visiting artists, art galleries and museums around the world. I have spent many years observing and practising how each artist crafted their work.

At first I didn’t find it easy to paint non-objectively. It took years of discovering and learning a method, of finding my own language, before I felt ready to let go of the ‘real’ world and be free enough to allow my whole self to enter the canvas and paint what was inside of me. I learned to take liberties with my paint and materials, to be free with my choice of colour, shape and form. I learned to trust in my skill, knowledge and experience. I learned to step out of my own way and let the paintings emerge. When you look at one of my paintings you are looking at my heart beat. You will know the angle of my body when I worked, the tension I felt and the confidence I found in my movements.

I love non-objective painting because it is so intriguing. I like the need to keep coming back to see and to listen and to discover more. I love non-objective art because it infinite – like our imaginations – because no two artists (and no two viewers) see or feel in the same way.

My aim is to start a conversation; between me and the work and eventually, I hope, between the work and you. When I paint, I paint what I feel in the moment, however, after I’ve finished painting, I like to live with a it for a while before hanging it in the gallery, ready for sale, because that’s when the conversation really gets going. The more I look, the more I see that the painting has something more to say to me, and then, the more I feel.

My studio pups, Stella (left) and Rodney. They are Brussels Griffons.

I paint for a response. I want to stimulate something in you. I want you to keep coming back to look, as I do, to take sneak peeks and realise something and say suddenly, “Oh!” Couple my expressiveness with yours and alchemy takes place. The emotion in the art interacts with the evoked emotion in you et voila!

My art isn’t about me. When my work is done, it’s done. When I am finished, it’s your turn to respond to the feeling. My art takes on a life of its own – a life given by you, the viewer. Love it or hate it. I don’t mind. All I ask is that you let yourself feel it.