What About Women In The Arts?

"Bright Red Apples" by Joyce Pike OPAM 18"x24"

“Bright Red Apples” by Joyce Pike OPAM 18″x24″

I have been asked many times, did I find it hard being a woman in the field of visual art.  My answer was always no.  I worked hard to get where I am.  Your work speaks for itself.  If you are a good painter with talent, you can do it.

I should start by telling you how I did it.  First of all, I picked one of the most respected artists and teachers in the Los Angeles area, Sergei Bongart.  I was in my early twenties when I started studying with Sergei.  He had a thick Russian accent. His education was also in Russia.  He was considered one of the best artists and colorist.  His bold brushwork was highly thought of.

In order to pay for my lessons, I had to find a way to make money.  I had been trained in high school to do scenery for stage plays so I did murals for the great sum of $35 a wall.  I could do them fast using a dry brush technique.  At this time, you could buy groceries for a week with $35.  I worked quickly using acrylic and water-based paint.  I had two small boys not yet in school.  My mom helped to watch them on days I had murals.  I also worked at night, whenever possible, so my husband could babysit.

One of the greatest things that happened to me was meeting Hal Reed.  Not only was he a great painter, but he was a knowledgeable teacher.  Hal saw my talent.  He worked with me giving me a good education.  I taught for the Art League of Los Angeles, a highly respected school founded by Hal Reed.  I taught there for many years with full classes.  Hal was always searching for new horizons.  He saw the need for video teaching.  He started Art Video Productions.  I was one of the six teachers used.  Hal made over 100 tapes himself, and I made 52 tapes covering landscape, seascape, portrait, figure and floral.

"Montaña De Oro Surf" by Joyce Pike OPAM 24"x30"

“Montaña De Oro Surf” by Joyce Pike OPAM 24″x30″

The tapes were done the same year I decided to write a book.  I contacted North Light Publications.  They gave a contract to do my first book Painting Floral Still Life.  It was a great success and went into several printings.  Book 2 was Oil Painting, a Direct Approach.  The third book was Painting Flowers with Joyce Pike.  All three were good sellers.  My royalties were good but the publicity was even better.

I also had several articles done by art magazines, Art of the West, International Artist, Southwest Art and The Artist’s Magazine.  I worked with print companies such as Portal, Leaning Tree, Bentley House and Haddad and also a company in Great Britain.

My teaching took up most of my time.  I worked for several schools.  The two most important schools were Scottsdale Artists’ School and the Art League of Los Angeles.  My teaching gave me little time to paint for galleries so I started doing traveling workshops.  These took me all over the world.  The good part about traveling workshops is they are done by the travel agencies.  All I had to do was the teaching and enjoy the trip. When I started to produce paintings for galleries, I did well with thirteen galleries at one time.

This is only a part of what I did to achieve my art career.  Most men get their education and go to commercial art to get started.  Many then go to fulltime painting, leaving the commercial art world behind.  Some women do the same.  I couldn’t get my education first.  I just didn’t have the money.  I did it anyway; the hard way.

There are many great women artists out there who are alive today and many who did well that have passed on.  The answer is talent.  If you are good, that may be all it takes.  We all know there have been many who were just lucky, not as talented but did it anyway.

Upcoming OPA Events

Eastern Regional Exhibition 2021 Eastern Regional Exhibition
The Eastern Regional Exhibition will be hosted by the ArtCenter Manatee, located in Bradenton, Florida, September 28 through October 22, 2021. Learn More!
OPA Fall 2021 Online Showcase OPA Fall 2021 Online Showcase
The Fall 2021 Online Showcase is from November 1 - December 15, 2021 and will be open to Signature and Associate members only. Learn More!
Western Regional Exhibition 2021 Western Regional Exhibition
The Western Regional Exhibition will be held October 15 through November 27, 2021 at the Mary R. Koch Arts Center (Mark Arts), located in Wichita, Kansas. More details to be announced as they become available. Learn More!
31st Annual National Juried Exhibition 31st Annual National Juried Exhibition and Convention
The Thirty-first National Exhibition and Convention will be located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Convention will be from May 31 through June 5, 2022. The Exhibition will be from June 3 to August 27, 2022.