How An Artist Captures An Artist – CHARACTER STUDY – Joan MacLeod- Maker of Art

We had the privilege of creating a character study of Joan MacLeod, Calgary artist and instructor extraordinaire. We discovered during our time with Joan that she is an extraordinary woman, period.  The story leading up the photoshoot goes like this:  Joans good friend Marilyn had seen the torn off cover of a recent Newsweek Magazine at Joan’s home, depicting Christine Lagarde, the Director of the International Monetary Fund.  Joan explained to Marilyn that she would someday like to have a portrait taken where SHE would look “intelligent, thoughtful and capable”.  Hearing this, and being a good friend, Marilyn organized the photo session as a gift for Joan.  The session took place in Joan’s home and I wish we could have stayed all afternoon.  Joan is just one of those people you want to listen to and converse with because you know you’ll learn an important life lesson.

I am always amazed by people who overcome adversity and embrace it.  Joan’s sister, Denise, has Alzeimer’s Disease and Joan has been her “roommate”  for a number of years, sharing Joans home.  I learned from Denise that she had been a picture framer and thus the two sisters’ careers complemented each other. The love for each other that these sisters share is obvious.  We wanted to capture that emotion.   And make Joan look smart, at her request.  I think we did.

A few weeks after the portraits were completed and delivered, Joan phoned us and other than huge accolades given for our work, her sense of humor was evident again in these words said with a giggle:  “Statistically, we are already dead!” (referring to Denise and herself).  “Step left, step right, breathe and repeat”.  I laughed out loud!  Joan, you are an inspiration to us and I know to others (your dear friends and family who attended the portrait viewing, specifically) who know and love you. 



Joan presented me with her book “A Celebration of Works”, which “pays tribute to her career as a maker of art”. I wish I had known Joan much earlier. Thanks for the lovely day, Joan!

This entry was posted in Art, artist, character study, Editorial project, Portraits. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How An Artist Captures An Artist – CHARACTER STUDY – Joan MacLeod- Maker of Art

  1. Wow. What a lovely tribute.

  2. lynette porteous says:

    Grand tribute to the “Calgary Sisters”!! I’m sure that everyone who has come within their orbit is better for it, AND touched by the fey quality they both exhibit as well as the great generosity of spirit. I know that they are surrounded by loving friends and family all of whom help Joan through the trying times as Denise is overwhelmed by Alzheimers. You are all lucky to have these women in your midst.

  3. I have known the MacLeod sisters for several years since I worked specifically with Joan in the academic field of Visual Art. We convened on a regular basis through VAC, the Visual Arts Committee, while I was teaching Art Education at the University of Calgary.
    We collaborated on curricula for the schools of Alberta and especially for those in Calgary. Joan was a dynamic leader and an inspiration to her colleagues. Moreover, her paintings were highly prized and widely sold through local exhibitions. Her sister, Denise, was a competent framer of art works and an outstanding teacher of English in the high school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *