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Joan Tarbell Plato

Painting, Handmade Books


Maryland award winning artist Joan Plato studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and with several internationally known workshop artists. After spending years in a computer science career, she freed herself to delve into the fascinating world of painting full-time. She is a juried member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society and the National League of American Pen Women. Her work has been shown in many regional and group shows, including the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, University of Maryland -Frostburg, Hagerstown Museum, Dennis & Philip Ratner Museum, Howard Community College, Sandy Spring Museum, and the Alexandria Art League.


I create mainly with the use of watercolor, inks and acrylic, using brushes, imprints, rollers, and cloths. The aliveness of painting and entering a sphere where anything goes is alluring to me. While working abstractly, I begin with loose washes on flat or textured bases, and as exciting images evolve, which are meaningful to me. I continue to develop them in layers until the artwork is complete.  I have an affinity for ancient Egyptian and Native American art, and these themes can often be seen in my works.  Stone reliefs are mesmerizing entities and link to my love of earth materials and fibrous textures.


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I love to take risks, and my process incorporates experimentation with new materials.  Currently, I am working on a series that reflects nature and its continual motion. My experimentation involves more drawing, the use of  Yupo paper, and many treks into the the wonderland of the outdoors. I create at least one handmade book sculpture for any major series, which adds a sculptural dimension to my work.

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