Check out my podcast for Hunter's Bay Radio"    ARTS R US - Joanne Collins Visual Artist SEP 12 2021"

I was born on March 11, 1958 in North York, Ontario.  At the age of 16, I left the safety of my parents' Toronto home to explore my country.  On the coattails of the hippie movement, I lived a Gypsy lifestyle for many years.  In an old '68 Pontiac with my infant son, 2 Huskies, and a husband, I travelled the Alaskan Highway as far as Whitehorse, Yukon Territories.  How I got from there to building a cabin and living in the remote interior of Nova Scotia may be the subject of a future novel, but for now, that lifestyle and the adventures I had travelling across this great land has given me a profound appreciation of its wildlife which is the primary subject of my art.

Three children later, living as a single mother in a cabin in northern Ontario, I returned to school to become a teacher.  With an Honours degree in English and a minor in Art, I proceeded to Nipissing U's teacher ed program.  During these 'back to school' years, I supplemented my summer income by selling my framed pen and ink print collection at shows and markets along with a few original acrylics. I graduated from Nipissing U and found a Secondary School full time teaching position in a school situated on the edge of Algonquin Park. I continued to paint and show my work locally.

In 2013, I began to get serious about marketing my art as I saw my retirement years approaching. Watching my talented new husband trim the antique granary boards he uses to build his one-of-a-kind furniture, I got an idea that has grown into a popular new art form.  Using the cut-offs, I recycle the reclaimed lumber and transform it into my one-of-a-kind canvas.  In 2014, I raided Dave's stockpile of antique cabinet doors for a new type of  canvas. 



In 2015, I had my hip replaced and a long recovery period gave me time to revisit my acrylic on masonite period.  I have wanted to paint larger for some time, but the dimensions of my granary boards and cupboards are size restrictive.  Painting on masonite seems much easier without the challenge of working around an ancient and stubborn medium.  Many times my granary boards dictate to me what I shall paint on them!.  However, my return to this style is demanding in another way; for although my work only promises a 'romanticized' realism, I find it demands a different skill level.


In 2018, I retired from teaching and looked forward to becoming an artist full-time.  I have been busy freshening up my studio and filling it with new work.  My hope is to open my doors to the public in 2021.  I bought a camera and have been working more from my own referencephotos.  "The Look" is one example (the squirrel was giving the 'look' to my dog who had chased him up an old dead tree from which he had no escape.  I was waiting with my camera for the squirrel to reappear so that I could snap his pic, when he came out of hiding and saw my dog, this is the look he gave if to say, "Hmmph, go home dog and leave me alone!"