Ginny Joyner: Finding a multitude of outlets for creativity

Like many kids, Ginny Joyner was introduced to watercolors at a very young age, but unlike most, she loved making art enough to make a career of it.

“I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1986,” she said, “and started a freelance illustration business.”

Ginny Joyner painting at April Cornell's 2021.
Ginny Joyner painting at April Cornell’s 2021.

Although Joyner did some odd jobs on the side, particularly when her daughter was young, she has always worked as an artist.

Joyner paints mostly in watercolors, but over the years, she has experimented with a variety of art forms. “I have a very tight style which I use for my greeting cards,” she said, “and that’s what I really love to do.”

Joyner’s cards, which can be purchased from her website and at a number of area locations, are often humorous play on words. “I do the artwork first,” she said, “and then I look for a phrase to go with it.”

Years ago, Joyner did an illustration of goats across the world, and she turned one of them into an “old goat” birthday card. A card saying “nailed it” is paired with some nails and one saying “you rule” includes a ruler. After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, Joyner created what she refers to as her breast cancer cards with frilly bras and sayings like “thank you for your uplifting support.”

During the recession, Joyner’s freelance work dried up and she began to spend more time teaching at her studio and in the ACCESS program at Champlain Valley Union High.

“I often teach beginners,” she said, “and that’s my favorite thing to do because my goal is to have people keep painting.”

Teaching beginners meant that Joyner had to loosen up her style, creating a very different kind of artwork. She teaches up to six classes a week, doing a demo in every class on a different topic.

Joyner continues to do freelance artwork, but she has also begun delving more and more into decorative arts.

“I do big projects which are faux finishes or trompe d’oeil,” she said.

Joyner worked on two dining rooms on the Spirit of Ethan Allen. “The first floor was designed to look like marble,” she said, “and the top floor is faux wood—maple and mahogany. That was a fabulous summer on the lake, painting while they did tours.”

After finishing her CVU classes this spring, Joyner is looking forward to inviting her students to her studio to paint outdoors, something she has been doing during COVID together with teaching Zoom classes.

Joyner’s studio is on the corner of Ferry and Greenbush. She hasn’t been exhibiting outside her home for some time but she’s hoping to start posting hours so she can sell her work from her first-floor gallery.

“I’d like to go back to the time when you’d drive around Vermont and see artists you didn’t know about,” she said.