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Islander’s deep feelings expressed in unique artwork

By Staff | Dec 10, 2014

Joliejoelene Black. CRAIG GARRETT

Joliejoelene Black is journaling to express pain, relief and joy in relationships, an outlet for the emotional rollercoaster of her life in the last year.

Only the island artist inscribes her feelings on the frames and embedded in her artwork, drawing in dark paint proverbs that reflect her deep emotions in the portraits and caricatures she made public for the first time in November. Buyers at the Sanibel Island Art Fair scooped up her artwork, many of them sharing that the work mostly of women and girls conveyed a deep connection to the lifeforce that makes us all tick.

Black was encouraged to sell her acrylic works by Katie Gardenia, a fiberartist and legendary restauranteur in Captiva and Sanibel. Gardenia, Black said, “told me to breathput (my work) out into the universe. I’ll be fine. And she was right, I hope.”

Black on the canvases of her artwork inscribes such adages as “Speak Truly from your Heart,” or “Your path will lead you to build a warm home life,” dozens of other proverbs that sum, for instance, her feelings on the illness of her youngest daughter, or the pain of a friend not sharing the truth, other strong feelings that prompted her to crank out 150 paintings in the last few months. The work is as small as a CD cover, but also of much larger portraits, all whimsical and detailed in rich yellows, reds and blues.

Black’s art journaling started in 2013 with her daughter, Sophia, being diagnosed, enduring treatment and ultimately recovering from leukemia. The pain and fear of watching her daughter suffer prompted a flurry of painting, artwork mostly reflecting family relationships. The art is whimsical but mostly of women. A work of Black’s two younger daughters embracing was warmly received by art-fair shoppers. Each work is inscribed with a proverb matching the mood of the inspiration, Black said.

Proverbs reflect Black’s strong feelings of life. CRAIG GARRETT

“Painting my truth,” Black said of her work.

Black is a longtime muralist and faux painter, co-owner of a couple of restaurants. Sophia’s illness and the joy in her recovery brought undiscovered gifts to the surface, she said.

And that her work is relatable to so many, “is fine,” Black said. “It’s still up to the (viewer) what the painting says, though.”

Inscriptions were the beginning of healing. CRAIG GARRETT