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JoAnne Anderson to Discuss Guild's History

JoAnne Anderson is a lifelong student, teacher, and champion of art. A founding member of the Anderson Artists Guild around 1970, she will speak about the guild’s history at the next meeting on Monday, Aug. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Anderson Arts Center.

Born in Anderson, she has traveled widely. She and her husband, who was in the Air Force, moved 22 times in 20 years and traveled all over Europe, including a six-year stint in Germany.

Anderson majored in art (with a focus on drawing and painting) at the University of South Carolina and has taken additional classes over the years, including at New York’s Parsons School of Art and Design, School of Visual Arts and The Art Students League; at the Silvermine School of Art in Connecticut; and at Stanford University in Palo Alto.

She has been a member, officer, fundraiser, and advocate for arts organizations throughout the Southeast and was recognized by the South Carolina Watercolor Society for outstanding contributions to the arts in the state. “I think it’s really important to have local artist groups to bring artists together,” she said. “It gets you very involved.”

Anderson has managed to fulfill her goal of making a living as an artist, primarily through teaching. She started by offering workshops for local art groups and has over the years taught all over the southeastern United States and in Europe. “I love seeing people who want to do figure work and maybe are hesitant until they see how well they can do and how easy it is,” she said. “We start with blind contour drawings. These are so freeing because they are hilarious. Then we move into modified contours, and before people realize it they’re drawing some really great, wonderful things.”

For promotion, she relies on word of mouth. “Someone will study with me, and when they’re looking for an instructor, I will get a call,” she said. A few years ago she taught a workshop in France after the organizer saw her resume on the American Watercolor Society website. “It was a week workshop,” she said. “The people who ran it were chefs. It was a wonderful time.”

Anderson paints in watercolor, which she appreciates for its transparency and the way one color blends into another. She also works with gouache blended with watercolor. Her style is a kind of loose realism, a mix of soft and hard edges. Her favorite subject is people. “I like to catch them doing something natural, when they don’t know I’m sketching them,” she said.

She advises not to fear mistakes. “You’ll make a lot,” she said. “Sometimes those mistakes are really good.” She also suggests not thinking too much. “When you focus on how the painting is going to turn out, it stifles you,” she said. “The thing to do is get lost in the work. Let the painting lead you.”

For more information about Anderson, visit

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