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December 2021

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

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Courtesy Photo Joan uses soft pastels to create “Old Adobe and Tree” in Taos, 2020

My passion is the land, finding inspiration literally everywhere.


I live in the beautiful rural village of San Cristobal, at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, with my husband Barry. As a child, our family moved frequently because my father was in the Army; we enjoyed the travel and lived all over the world.


In 1977, when Barry and I were in our mid-20s, we moved to Chiapas, Mexico to work in a small private museum in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Na Bolom. We eventually adopted two sons and loved our work so much that we stayed for 15 years. It will always be a place we return to, as our grandchildren are there, and many friends.


In 1992 we moved to San Cristobal, New Mexico. I trained and worked as a licensed midwife at the Northern New Mexico Birth Center, a career I had long wanted to pursue, and delivered hundreds of babies in Taos and surrounding counties before retirement in 2014. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to serve northern New Mexican families in this way.


About My Art


It was during my travels to home births through the diverse landscapes of northern New Mexico at any hour of the day or night that my heart was opened to the splendor that we live in. Although I had never painted before, I started to experiment with watercolor and eventually took a plein-air class through the university. Creating art was a way to bring a sense of calmness into my everyday life. When I retired, I turned to painting with great joy!


I paint in soft pastel and water-mixable oils. Because working with pastels is so direct (your hand holding the pastel is touching the paper), it has always felt more intuitive to me. I experiment with different surfaces and underpaintings for the pastels. Although oil painting is more challenging, I love it for just that reason. I work plein air as well as in my home studio.


Joan is part of the QCC website of artists, NorthernNewMexicoArtists.com or visit her website at: joandarbynorris.com; joannorris3@gmail.com. She is affiliated with Taos Plein Air Painters and Plein Air Painters of New Mexico. Find her art at Magpie Gallery in Taos, https://www.magpietaos.com/ (781) 248-0166.

Courtesy Photo: “Summer Yarrow” oil, 9×12
“Last Summer Light,” oil, 9 x 12”
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