Behind the Art: Interview with Johanne Durocher Yordan, Fletcher Allen Featured Artist
My journey as an artist has been truly amazing and full of experiences.
When I began my career in 1998, I was a watercolorist. I primarily painted still life and landscapes; but, in 2006, my art went in a different direction. My father had passed away. I became an abstract painter and painted more about what I felt rather than what I saw, feeling no boundaries or restrictions in what I was painting.
I have had many shows and many open studio events, which have allowed me to focus on the viewers and to study how they look at my work and to listen to them and the conversations they have with others. Many people who understand the concept of abstract art still have a hard time relating to it. I consistently heard and it lead me down yet another path.
I have a portfolio in my studio of past works and many people have looked through it asking me if I would ever consider doing sunflowers again. Because of all the interest , I decided that I would do another series of sunflowers – but they couldn’t be like the work I had done before. My work needed to reflect who I am as an artist today. Looking back and remembering how much I loved to do collage work and that I am now using acrylic paints I came up with the perfect marriage of the two. I started to use Vermont maps in my works, as well as sheet music, ledger paper and just about any text from old books that I could find.
My favorite media for collage work is maps; they make things interesting and fun for people looking at my work. Perhaps they can see where they have lived, where they are currently living, or perhaps where they would like to be. I use all parts of maps — the legends, street names and places of interest – all of hese parts look so different and add much dimension to each piece. As in “Facing South,” maps are often torn and placed on the canvas to mimic a mountain range. Sometimes, the petals of the flowers are done using map pieces or sheet music, I change things around so that not every piece is the same. I paint using thin washes so that a flower or other parts of interest are still transparent enough to see through, so as to not lose any of the beauty underneath it.
Having had my work on display at Fletcher Allen as well as having been selected to have one of my pieces in the 2014 Fletcher Allen Health Care Calendar is a great privilege. I have received emails and messages from people about my work, thanking me for bringing some beauty into their lives. They told me that my Sunflowers and Poppies have brought them joy during a difficult time that they or a family member experienced.
I met many people during the Art Hop in Burlington who were familiar with my work because they had seen it at Fletcher Allen. One family in particular brought new meaning to my work. They came to my studio after seeing my work at Fletcher Allen after finally receiving some good news regarding their child’s health. When leaving the hospital, my paintings were the first things they saw. Having viewed my paintings after receiving good news amplified their positive emotions. They were on a mission at that point to come down and meet with me in my studio to purchase two pieces for their home, not only because of their beauty but also because of their symbolism.
To know that I have managed to touch others through the power of art has brought me to a new level; it has been both humbling and rewarding and has made me smile.
Johanne Durocher Yordan is an abstract artist who experiments with different styles and mediums. Many of her paintings are an exploration of technique, color and texture. She is currently working with mixed-media, incorporating sheet music and Vermont maps to add interest and dimension to the her current Sunflowers and Poppies Series. Learn more about her at www.jdyart.com or facebook.com/jydart.
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