April 30, 2008

Joan Harris' artistry on display at Dunn-Richmond

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The watercolor artistry of Carbondale native and Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumna Joan Harris are on display at the SIUC Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center May 1 through June 30.

The longtime schoolteacher's exhibit features barns, flowers, beaches, woods, streams and still life as perceived by Harris and depicted in watercolors with God-given skills, she said.

"Working with water and paint is challenging and often unpredictable," Harris said. "Each picture is a new adventure and somewhat of a mystery in that water and paint don't always mix as one had envisioned. Working with this medium, each picture is a learning opportunity. I get the same satisfaction and joy when I have completed a picture worthy of framing as I did when the 'light of understanding' appeared on a child's face after I had taught a lesson in my first grade class."

Harris earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in early childhood education at SIUC. She taught elementary school in California and Carbondale, wrapping up a 30-year career with her 1987 retirement. She remains active, along with husband Roy. Fulfilling a lifelong ambition to paint, Harris has studied the craft in recent years and had her first exhibit at John Forbes' Carbondale office.

A reception for the "Joan Harris-Sundry Watercolor Expressions" exhibit is set for 6-8 p.m. May 8 at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, located at 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale. Throughout May and June, visitors may view the exhibit from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at that location.