Joan Langley Shaw (American, 20th C.-) was born in Buffalo, New York. She holds degrees from the University at Buffalo, School of Architecture and Planning, Erie Community College, State University of New York at Potsdam.
Joan’s passion for architecture and historic preservation led her to a career in real estate property management. Over the years she carried out numerous renovation projects, the most recent of which is rescuing an 1860’s barn for use as a painting studio.
In 2006, Joan formed the Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters, comprised of a group of spirited outdoor painters who take to back roads and city streets in search of both the beautiful and forgotten. She also is a founding member of the Ontario Plain Group of Twelve whose goal is to trumpet the astonishingly spectacular region of the Niagara Escarpment and Ontario Plain where they live and work.
Joan’s painting studio is housed in a 19th Century dairy barn tucked under the wing of the Niagara Escarpment in Cambria, New York.
“Although I’ve always been interested in anything that spells creative, ultimately fine art painting has trumped all other forays into the creative arts. Retiring from my day job and moving to the country twelve years ago transformed my life in ways I could not have imagined possible at the time. Awed by beautiful farm lands and skies overhead that stretched to eternity, I packed up my paints and brushes and headed to the nearest field to better study nature. Instantly I fell in love with painting outdoors.
For me, plein air painting is about connecting to place on a fundamental level. It’s about experiencing the moment, grabbing it, and expressing it in broad strokes of color and paint. Feeling the dry crunch of earth underfoot, observing raindrops fall on the palette, absorbing background music of waves lapping on a shore; there is no other painting experience quite like it.
I see trompe l’oeil as another way of exploring the connection between art and nature. It’s about bringing small things that easily go unnoticed into focus. It’s about discovering hidden purposes of cattails, insects, and sweet wild flowers hidden in the grass. Currently John Yerger is teaching me to express those things in a classical way through strong design and beautiful applications of paint.”