Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Hello, I'm Dr. Lisa Belisle and today I have with me in the studio artist Joanne Parent. Thank you for coming in.

 

Joanne Parent:

Thank you, Lisa.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So I learned right before we started talking that you are a performer and a singer. 

Tell me about that.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Oh, wow. Okay.  I've been performing since middle school and then in the eighties, during the new wave movement, I decided to start a new wave band in the eighties, graduated singing in a band and then moved out of this area that I was growing up in, in Belfast, and then went down to Portland here and was in another band or two, and then moved Mass and just kept going with it. And throughout my life, I've been lead singer/songwriter for about 15 or 20 different bands ranging from a three piece all the way up to a 12 piece recently, a 12 piece right before COVID. Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

So still with eighties tunes or have you progressed?

 

Joanne Parent: 

I mean, the stuff I write is just my own, but we ended up being a band that would be like out playing for big venues. You know, we had a horn section and I had two backup singers and we'd go to weddings and it's like a wedding band, like the movie. It's really fun, but it was a lot of work you put in like a six or eight hour day, and you're exhausted afterwards. So it kind of went by the wayside when things started ramping up. After my kids got a little older, my artwork started really taking precedence over anything else. And then I haven't done it since, but I still miss singing. Now I just do a little jazz. 

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

So do you feel like you'll go back into it

 

Joanne Parent:

If I do anything, it'll be jazz. I really enjoy singing jazz just myself and a couple of other guys like guitarists and pianists. Yeah. So it's fun. To me it's a good release.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Tell me a favorite song.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Oh my gosh. Jazz wise I like to sing “Like All of Me.” It's a really good, fun, happy song and a really popular one. I like singing Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole. Probably my two faves.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yep. How do you feel about Belinda Carlisle and the Gogos? Anybody like that?

 

Joanne Parent: 

Love them all. I love 'em all. I love Madonna, all that stuff. It's really a big part of, you know, I grew up in that time and I really enjoy it's all coming back now. Cindy Lauper, gotta love her. Lover Boy, George, all that stuff. I was on my way down here today and the Thompson Twins came on the radio. I was like, oh my gosh, that's right. 

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Right. A little hold me now.

 

Joanne Parent: 

I love it. Yeah. I love it. It just makes me laugh. Makes me smile. Yeah. Eighties music was a lot more happy. Yeah. Fun. It's kind of dark sometimes now I think the new stuff

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

A little bit. Mm-hmm

 

Joanne Parent: 

<affirmative> totally.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Yeah. My first concert when I was in eighth grade was Carlisle and the Gogos at the Civic Center in Portland. I had a lovely off the shoulder mint green top, which was accompanied by a lovely mint green mini skirt. And I just thought I was all that. I honestly felt like, okay, my life is started now. I’m cool.

 

Joanne Parent: 

My first concert was Billy Joel when I was 14.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Oh my gosh. I love Billy Joel.

 

Joanne Parent: 

He played in Portland and he was literally, I mean I was 14, so it was one of his, you know, very early albums. Like –

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

The Stranger?

 

Joanne Parent: 

Maybe one of those is when he was wearing a, I'll never forget it. I was 14 years old and with my best friend and we just thought he was the coolest thing. And he was wearing, you know, a tux and high top black converse. And I thought this is the coolest guy in the world. That was my first concert. And then it was the B-52’s who I'm still in love with. So I've been to a lot: Billy Joel, Annie Lennox, all that stuff. But I haven't gone to a concert in a long time.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I know that's unfortunate.

 

Joanne Parent:

Yeah. I haven't been for a long time, you know, I don't think I'd be going anytime. So, oh wait. I did go take my eldest son to a Ghost concert right before COVID, which is a metal band and they all dress up. The lead singer dresses up like a Bishop, like a satanic Bishop. It's really odd. I was like, well, sure I'll go. But it was fun. I had a good time. I really don't get it, but okay. So that's the last one I've been to. Wow. Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, it sounds like there's music in your future.

 

Joanne Parent:

Yes. All the people in my family are musical.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Okay. So you'll be singing again at some point. And also you have this long line of people kind of pushing you in that direction.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Oh yeah. I still get people calling and asking for me to sing jazz at their restaurants or, you know, brunch and stuff like that. So I'm sure at some point I'll do it for fun. Just for fun though. Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Well, so that's interesting. So we just spent all this time talking about you as an artist, singer/songwriter. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, but there's this other very different side of you that I would assume would need a much more quiet and introspective setting in which to engage in art.

 

Joanne Parent:

Absolutely. You know, I like to be completely alone when I paint, but I also listen to music when I paint. And so the music selections, when I paint, you just never know what I'm in the mood for. Sometimes it's, you know, 80 sometimes it's the Cure when I'm in a dark mood. And then sometimes it's like, you know, the impression is classical for a week. I don't really know. It's just like I have to, I listen to music a lot when I paint. I find that really a part of who I am to be musical all the time. So I use it, use it to work and it really does influence paintings. It's weird. Yeah. That's what I found. I mean if I'm painting, if I'm doing an impressionist classical mood, things are much more dreamy and you know, light colors come out.

 

Joanne Parent:

Because I am very intuitive as an artist. My painting style is – I never even really know where I'm going with it. And I did say that in my remarks from my last show. I just start where I think I'm gonna go and it never ends up exactly where I think I'm gonna go or even close to it. But that's part of the process for me. So it's all fun. I enjoy it. You know, some days are complete and utter failures and I just go, oh, and I'm just gonna turn off the music and leave the studio. The same kind of thing as writing a song. You know, sometimes you get the hook right away, and then other times nothing's happening. So it's kind of the same. It's weird. Good parallel I think in art and music it's all art. 

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

So looking at the piece with us in the studio, first of all, what's this one called

 

Joanne Parent:

Homage.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

And, and what, what type of music were you listening to? If you can remember when you were doing this piece or what might you have been listening to?

 

Joanne Parent:

 I most like, I mean, this piece took three or four weeks because my work takes a lot of different sessions to make it come to life. You know, I might do one really good session for like a good four or five hour period and feel good about it. And then it gets too wet and I have to put it away. I usually work on four or five pieces. So this one could have been, it definitely had classical in there, had some jazz, would've had some jazz in there. You can see that it actually, this painting was much brighter at one point, much, much brighter. So it was a homage to an artist that I love. That's why I call it homage. And I kind of have always looked at his work and like – striving to be able to get the ethereal kind of lighting and also the mood that he creates in his work. And I just, that's what I was kind of going for when I saw it. I was like, oh, this is a homage to this artist I love so much. So that's why I called it that,  but this went through a lot of different iterations before it came to the right one

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Who is the artist?

 

Joanne Parent:

His name is, I just forgot it. Hold on. You asked me and now I forgot it is a, how do I say it? Adriano Farinella. He's amazing. He teaches online courses. He just has this kind of ethereal muted tones, which is what this ended up being. But I usually paint much brighter, but I’m going to really see what I can do with these muted tones, which is hard for me to do anything muted. I don't do anything really muted <laugh> so that was hard for me to do.  He teaches a less of a palette, you know, I'll have literally the colors of the rainbow on my, in my palette. And he teaches doing four or five colors for the whole painting. So that's been a challenge for me, probably always will be, but that's him Adriano. He's amazing. Everybody should go look at his work. Yeah, he's big.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

So how do you get to the place of using fewer colors? If you're typically a bright many colored palette artist, how do you pair down?

 

Joanne Parent: 

It's really hard for me. It, quite frankly, is a big struggle. I try so hard to keep all of the colors and the tones congruent in the painting. And it's really hard because I'll just want to throw in something like a bright turquoise or something pink or something peach. I like peaches, but if you paint with 12 colors, typically it's really hard to only paint four. So it's a challenge. I haven't really felt like I've really gotten it yet. <laugh> I'm still working on that. I think that I'm getting there and the pieces will, as I progress, I think, speak for themselves, because I think you can kind of tell when an artist is painting with less of a palette because the painting is more harmonious in color. Yeah. I don't use color wheels or I don't use any of that stuff. If you ask me what the, all the color wheel, all the colors in the primary, I know what the primary color are, but I don't do the balance, you know, purple and yellow. I don't think about those things. It just happens. So it's just a weird, intuitive process, I guess.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So you, you have to actually trust yourself in order to engage in an intuitive process the way you describe you have to trust that whatever it is that you're intuiting is the right thing at that moment.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Yeah. And sometimes it isn't. Sometimes I like this last round of paintings I did for the Portland Art Gallery. All of the paintings underneath were bright orange. I'm talking almost like a neon orange, which is not like me, but I wanted to try something different. And so I didn't know where it was going and sometimes it would work and sometimes it just wouldn't work and I have to repaint over the canvas and then, and then move on from there. But trying to intuit the work as it comes is a part of it for me. So I have hung up all the paintings, all around me in my studio. I have a small space. And so I hang them up on the walls. I have high walls and I just look at 'em, you know, and I might work on one for three weeks or two days and then be like, Ugh, I don't wanna see that anymore for a bit. And I just have to revolve the work, if that makes any sense. Just move it differently and then different paintings will give me an idea to go back to the other one and will get me excited to go back to another one. So it's definitely a process where I never know what's gonna happen. I just don't know. I know what I want to have happened at the end, you know, for feeling, for myself, and for the viewer, but I never know how I'm gonna get there. I wish I did.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

It's actually somewhat comforting to hear you say this because even though I do not paint, I find that I need to have multiple things open all at the same time. And so I'll be in a situation. People are like, oh, multitasking is bad. You can't get stuff done that way. But I have to. I have to have lots of going on because it  enables me. I focus on one thing and a different part of my brain is focusing on something else without me even really realizing it. I can't – I don't like the idea that one can only be linear sequential in order to kind of achieve success.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Absolutely. I mean, I've actually been called by a friend of mine–  who said last week: you're like an ameba. And I said: an ameba thanks, you know I was like what? What she said, you're not linear. Your form is constantly moving and shaking. And you know, you're a thinker that thinks outside of the box constantly. And she said, her words were, she's a therapist. She said: I invite you to think about thinking more in the box sometimes. And have a little bit more direction because you have that, you know, kind of an ADD personality where it's squirrel like. I also think it's a mother. I mean, I'm a mom, I've got two boys that I raised largely on my own. Their dad was a traveling sailor.

 

Joanne Parent: 

And so I was with them 24/7, and he was gone for large periods of time.  so I had to really learn how to multitask with a four and a seven year old boy, that energy. And I think that is kind of how I still live, even though they're both out of the house now. Still that way, you know, multitasking is a part of my personality anyway. So I wouldn't wanna be, like you said, I can't just do one painting from start to finish right now. I'm trying my very first online art course, people have been asking me to do them for years. And since COVID, especially, I don't really wanna teach classes in person a lot. Like I used to teach like 10 people at a time, but I just don't really wanna do that now.

 

Joanne Parent:

So I've been really having a hard time with this course because my son is a filmmaker and a photographer and he's doing the filming of me. So he's trying to get me to explain my process linearly from start to finish. He's like, mom, can you just explain it while you're like Bob Ross? You know? And I'm like, I'm really not very good at doing that, to be honest. I mean, I try, but it's like, okay, why did I do those two colors together?  Trying to explain that when it's intuitive is really difficult to do. breaking it down into segments and thinking of it as a class where you're trying to pretend you're trying to teach someone that's never painted before. Maybe how did I get from blank canvas to end? And I usually have about six paintings going, so this has taken a while this class. So

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Also related to how much time you've spent training in how to do this. So it's intuitive, but it's also, it's an intuition that you've trained. That you've spent years and years kind of going and developing. So I would think that would also be one of the challenges of trying to teach this, because you’re saying here: person who is learning is something I have spent years doing, and that's how I know how to do it, but I'm giving you suggestions as to how to start doing this now.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Right. And when I've taught before, I asked the students, ``What did you think of the class?” This was a six day course, you know. They would say: oh, you're such a great teacher and you spent so much time with me. And I said, yeah, well, thank you for that. That makes me feel really great that you got a lot out of it, but did you find what I was instructing made sense? Because if you're just trying to explain the intuitive process it's hard to put into words really. I mean, I still can't. I still have a hard time doing it. So this online course is gonna be, I haven't looked at it yet. So once he gets it done, I'm gonna have an interesting time watching myself go from beginning, middle to end and seeing, you know, kind of watching myself teach this is gonna be interesting to watch.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Also you seem like a pretty interactive teacher

 

Joanne Parent: 

Very much so.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

So I would think that teaching to a camera or teaching to yourself and being filmed would not come as naturally to you.

 

Joanne Parent:

It's not natural for me. It's not. And I, you know he is telling me to give more dialogue in the background or turn toward the camera because I'm like, oh yeah, if I have someone in my room, I'm constantly with them at their easel looking at what they're doing, giving them instruction. When you're trying to do it with no one there, it's just so alien. It's just weird. And it definitely stifles my creative process, having a camera on me the whole time. 

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Which is fascinating again, because you're a performer.

 

Joanne Parent: 

I know I don't know what to say. It's just weird. Like, it's almost like when I get up on stage, a switch goes off. I become a singer extraordinaire, MC extraordinaire; have a good time tonight. Ooh, we're gonna have fun. And here's our dance hits coming up. Right. It's like a different personality comes out. And I've told a lot of people this, including Kevin and Emma, a million times when I'm getting ready for a show and I'm painting work for the show and that's okay, I can do that. And trying to have a cohesive unit, a body of work is great. As soon as I think about going up there in front of all those people, I just start to profusely sweat. I feel like one of those nightmares, when you go to waitress or bartend and you have forgotten to get dressed – it’s like one of those nightmares or something I don’t know. It's just like a nightmare of being naked out in front of all those people. It's a strange thing for me. Like this is from my soul, I guess, is the word. My universal connection. My soul connection is singing. It's a soul connection, but it's like a different me. Does that make sense? It's not really the “me” here.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Yeah. So, when you're engaging in painting, and that aspect of your art, there's an intimacy that's involved and it causes you to need to be vulnerable because you really need to be open to your intuition. Yeah. And then getting up in front of people to describe that vulnerability, I can understand why that would be really challenging.

 

Joanne Parent:

It is very challenging for me. I get up there and I think I know what I'm going to say. And then I just kind of do the freeze thing, but I make it through, get through it as best I can. And then I'm just so glad when I'm not talking anymore. But it's – I can't explain how it comes out. And I think that that comes across to the listener as: this is Joanne, this is how she paints. I try to explain how I do it and why I do it. What, and how important it is to me in my life is creating these pieces and having that in my life for myself, my personal life, and my personal coming back to my center. Really being better to myself right out of the rest of the stuff that we all do in our lives is taking that time when you're in the studio and you listen to music, that's your time. So there is a connection there with the universal power that I like to tap into; I try to tap into and that's, and I think that's it for me just trying to connect to that part of myself. It's like when you're meditating, you know, same thing.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Well, it makes a lot of sense because I think when you try to put words to something that's not easily verbalized, then that would be really frustrating. I remember when I used to, I used to sing and I would sing in mass and, I'm a lapsed Catholic to be clear. But the reason I did it was because it was something so profound about the connection to something that was much bigger than me. And I don't know if somebody said to me, Hey, could you talk about your singing when you're in front of a group at mass? I don't know that I could have said anything other than I feel this larger connection. It feels deeply spiritual. I think that would've been the end of my conversation.

 

Joanne Parent:

Yeah. It's the same kind of thing. That's exactly the same. It's like, how do you explain the feeling that you're having when you're emoting through any kind of art form? I don't know how to put that into words. Really. It's just kind of a part of what you do. A singer is coming. Gutural coming from your, coming from your vocal chords and you're pushing out that energy. This is almost kind of drawing the energy out from a different place. Does that make any sense, say, but we're still vibing with the same universal energy. It's just a different way of expressing it. I guess. I don't know. I don't know what it is. It's always gonna be a mystery. I don't know if I'll ever figure it out, but that's the journey, isn't it, trying to figure it out. That's why we do what we do. That's why we're creative people.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Yeah. I mean, I think it is actually kind of interesting and fun to kind of keep getting a little closer and a little closer, and a little closer, to being able to actually describe that energy or that intangible, something that exists that is causing you to be able to engage in art, whether it's in your case, you're painting. And in my case, you know, my singing during mass sounds more similar to what you're describing in painting than what you're describing. How sometimes when you sing, you start to cry, you know, that feeling. 

 

Joanne Parent: 

Sometimes if I'm really singing and I'm really feeling it, I can't sing anymore. My vocal chords just tighten right up. That's the feeling. Yeah. That's that connection, right? That spiritual moment. And that's what, you know, this also does in a different way, but it just, you know, have I painted and cried? No, I haven't cried in the middle of painting, but if I do a piece or I'm starting a piece and I have that moment of – Oh that just happened. I definitely have had tears come to my eyes. Like I have been struggling with this portion or this, this breakthrough that I wanna have. And you know, usually it's right in that moment before you just wanna take a big brush and just paint right over the canvas is when that happy accident happens.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Right. Which makes it to me, that's the journey, trying to find that breakthrough to the next level.. People ask me all the time. They say so, I really feel like your artwork is just, you know, you're channeling something and I don't know where you come up with these things or you're just channeling this energy. I think we're all everybody's channeling energy all the time. You know, it's just tapping into that creative energy flow. It's like, like yoga, <laugh> yoga, meditation, same kind of thing, which I do love doing as well, even sailing. Sailing for me, it was a real big part of my life for a long time as a profession. And, I tried to travel the world and I got to see countries from yachts that I would never be able to have on my own. And I was working for someone else, but it was a wonderful experience, which always, I think, really drives me to paint the big ethereal sky ocean, bigger than life. The big moment when you look out there and you go: Oh my god, this is amazing being alive. That is it. That’s it.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

And, I can see that. I mean, when I see the piece behind us here and also other pieces that you've done there is that sense that it's kind of that breakthrough. It's that moment. I think that what you're describing is that strong connection, the moment where you feel like I could weep, you know, this connection is here.

 

Joanne Parent:

And sometimes, you do weep. If you're on the beach and you see this sunset and you're in the Caribbean, you see that green flash, which very few people get a chance to see in their lifetime. I cried seeing that. You see something that just hits you the right way. And it is that, I like to call it the aha moment. That moment, right. That is it. If you could, if I can paint that sound and that feeling, then I have reached my goal. That's what I've always wanted, not my plateau, but to reach my goal. I'd love to be able to paint that aha moment. Every single one of my paintings, it doesn't come out that way. But I like to think that I would or could get there someday. Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

And is that one of the reasons that people like your work so much is that they sense that this is the aha moment. That is the reason I mean.

 

Joanne Parent:

I get that via email text on Instagram, you know, they say the, “what you get, what I see when I look at your work and how I feel is aha. I love the way I feel when I look at your work.” And that's the feeling that I want is people to have that like, oh my gosh moment, like, wow, aha. That angel singing from on high or whatever you wanna say. I mean, however you wanna put it. That's what people feel when they look. I have a client that I did a commission for 15 years ago and they still have the painting above their mantle and the woman is a healer. And she has meditations and she does classes in her living room.

 

Joanne Parent: 

She's like, “Joanne I've looked at that painting thousands of times. And every time I look at it, I see something else.” She says she sees angels or whatever. I mean, I didn't paint angels. Trust me. There's no representation of angels in there as far as I can see, but she sees it. She said, I don't know what is channeling through you, but it is happening, girl, you keep going. And I was like, wow, that is so cool. You've had that painting for 15 years and you still see something different when you look at it. It makes me get a little teary eyed talking about it. But that's kind of what my journey is, I think, to connect with people that way. Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

So in things that I've read about you, things that we've put out there through the art gallery or in other places, it's always interesting to me where it starts with, I was born on an air force base.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Gosh, can I just say, I really need to rewrite that thing. I had somebody write that for me and I feel like it's not me anymore, you know, years ago it was me, but I think I need to rewrite that.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So tell me why it was you years ago.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Because of it, I thought that my artist statement for the gallery would be my whole life encompassed in a few paragraphs, but now I don't think that needs to be that. I think it used to be who I am as a person, not where I was born. Not that I was born in an air force base or not that I did these 20 things and that I have kids. I mean, I want it to be about who I am as a human being and how I connect to the planet. So I think that that exact thing that you just said, the very first line, I read it and I go, oh, it's a little cringy. So I don't want that anymore. It's not the same. I don't feel that way anymore. I don't want everybody to know every little thing. You know, the person that wrote it, I read it and I was like, that's great. Thank you. You gave them a well rounded vision of who I am as a human being, but it's not really how I wanna represent myself now. So I think that's some work that I have to do, is to re-write and do it, how I feel, who I am today, not 15 years ago or 12 years ago when I wrote it.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

I mean, I think that's very fair. It's not untrue now anymore than it was when you wrote it, or when you were born, when you were born in an air force base. I believe in Nevada,

 

Joanne Parent: 

In Omaha, Nebraska

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Omaha, Nebraska was one of the end states. I'm sorry. 

 

Joanne Parent: 

No, it’s fine. I haven’t been to Nebraska - only, I mean, I don't even think I've ever been. I mean, I was born there, but I don't remember any of that. I never at least once at least for a few days anyway. Exactly.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Yeah. But, I think that's an interesting point that there is, I think it is sometimes for us to look at a piece on the wall and say, well, that is that artist. That is that person, but that is not that artist. That is where that artist was at that moment in that artist's life mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so what you're describing is: I have evolved as an artist and I want my artist's statement now to reflect who I am today.

 

Joanne Parent:

Exactly. After the kids had just left the house, after I sold a painting to a woman, I don't know, a couple years ago. And she looked at– I had staged some work for her and she said, is this an earlier piece? And I said, yeah, how did you know that? She said, I can just tell, she’s like, your style has changed. And every artist's style changes or else we'd be stagnant. I've developed a very distinct style now, but you never know where it's gonna lead or where you've come from is a big part of who you are right now. So I want to talk about who I am now, not when I was, you know, 30 seconds old <laugh> on an air force base. So yes, I will be changing that very soon with some help from a professional probably. I'm not a writer, I'm long winded.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Well, and maybe that's why they started with that one salient point. They could boil it down to that. That was the aha moment. But it was probably the aha moment more for your mother than for you.

 

Joanne Parent:

<laugh> I think so. I think that's exactly what it was,  one of her aha moments in her life. Yeah. Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I mean, I think that is, that is very interesting. Cause I have spoken to in particular writers before who have large bodies of work, I will read through their body of work and I'll refer back to an early piece and that's so far back in their, in their memory that it's almost like, well, I really don't wanna talk about that now. Cause that's not who I am anymore. Right. And I, and I think that is an interesting scenario that artists find themselves in, because unless you live your life on Instagram and it's out there in perpetuity, most of us do not live our lives so fully out loud.

 

Joanne Parent: 

I think mine sometimes is too loud. I've had to have to, had to reign it in, even on Instagram, I've been, you know, these days you have to be on social media. You have to do that as part of growing and as a business, as well as just being an artist, you're trying to grow your following. You're trying to reach more people. But then at the same time, you know, I have to leave it as more. If you look, you know, some, some Instagram pages are just a lot of personal stuff. I don't really do a lot of personal. It's more just like, okay, if you come to this Instagram page, you're gonna see new work. You're gonna see something that's exciting to me or inspiration or a collaboration with a photographer or something. That's denoting what I'm doing right now. You know, does that make sense? Because I don't want a lot of personal information bouncing through the airways of the world. You know, it's not necessary. I think they get an idea of you through what you post and what you say more than like, you know, I was born on an air force base and then I moved to, you know, Camden or nobody really, really wants to know that probably.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Well, but at the same time, I mean it's very interesting to me that you were at one point doing all this exotic sailing. I mean, I think most of us look at something like that and that, and we think, oh, well that sounds really pretty wonderful. So knowing that about you, I think, is quite informative.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Oh yeah. And, and that definitely has changed me as a human being. Number one, living through some of the situations that I was in as a sailor for a full time job, I started literally sailing little tiny boats. And then by the end of my career, I was a captain at a hundred ton license. I was doing it around the world sailing journey. And I found myself with my first son, Alex and I had to cut my sailing short in Tahiti, just because I was just too big to fly. I had to fly home before they were gonna leave for the Galapagos. And they, I said, you know what, I'm not gonna sail two weeks across to, you know, Hiva OA across the Pacific with, you know, five months long. So I, that was the end of my sailing career, but it was amazing getting to it.

 

Joanne Parent:

I have memories and inspirations from that, even when I thought I was not gonna make it to the next port, because of the huge storms and things that you run into when you're out there, even that's informative for who you are and then like how you see things is different when you, when you are so close to a boat, sinking from beneath you and things are happening. And you're very happy when you get to your port, you are ecstatically joyful and can't believe it and are energized by that, that adrenaline for, you know, all that time or seeds being sick or whatever, you know, whatever happened out in the, out on that sailing journey. It's part of sailing, really. I mean, that's a typical sailors thing that they say, it's not the destination, It's that journey between A and B. That is the growing aspect of it.

 

Joanne Parent:

It's like, it's pretty incredible out there. Stuff that I've seen is like crazy, but you know what? That's, when you see that aha moment with those big dark clouds opening up and there's a Ray of sunlight coming through and you're like, oh my gosh, thank God we're gonna, we're gonna get to port. That's very inspiring. A lot of emotions come with it. I've done a lot of crying on the ocean, but I've also seen places that a lot of people never get a chance to see. So yeah, I feel really good about that. And my boys got a chance to do that as well. Since I was a sailor, we got to live on sailboats with my kids. I got to homeschool my kids when they were little and live on sailboats. And that was really great for them, you know, too. So it's like a really great all around life experience. I would never trade.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

And you still sail off the coast of Maine now? I believe?

 

Joanne Parent:

I do. I have a, I have a 27 foot sailboat, but I haven't been on it much because I've been too busy, but I do have one.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

It's waiting for you.

 

Joanne Parent:

It's waiting for me to get out on it. Sometimes I'll, I'll literally go out on it twice a season and use it more for like, you know, going out for evening sunset cocktails and having dinner, which is wonderful too. But I would like to get back to more sailing. So I do miss it too. Definitely.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Mm-hmm <affirmative> do you think now that your boys are in a different phase in their life, that that will become more open to you?

 

Joanne Parent: :

Yeah. I think that I'm going to end up probably buying a little larger sailboat where I could go cruising.  And then maybe have some, yeah, have some time just to spend winters out of Maine somewhere warm and just paint in a different location for a while. So that's stuff I'm definitely looking at. I've already been looking at boats that are like 32 feet, so we'll see, see if the, if it presents itself, it will happen. But I do see myself doing some traveling in the very near future, like within a month. And I just want even just for it's a trip, you know, we've all been stuck inside for so long and now it's time we can go out again. We can fly more comfortably. It's time to go. I haven't gone anywhere really since COVID so other than, you know, like Massachusetts or something like that quite caught, but traveling is important for inspiration for everything, everybody. Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yeah. I think you're right. I feel like I've had almost blinders on. It's not, and it's not intentional. I mean, I try to go out and enjoy things and you know, live my life as fully as I can through COVID. But today, as I was walking on the green grass, I became just aware like, oh, that's grass. When was the last time I actually took the time to look at the dandelions that were sprouting mm-hmm <affirmative> or feel the warmth of the sun, you know, on my face. And if so, you don't even realize you're not doing it until you start doing it again. It's that contrast that you're describing?

 

Joanne Parent: 

Absolutely. Last night I sat on my screen porch. I live on a pond. I live on 10 acres on a little pond up in Midco and I'm sitting there and I was like, oh, what is that noise? And went outta my studio. My studio connects to a little screen porch and I sat on the screen porch with a glass of wine and I could not believe the sound of all of the papers. And that pond was so alive that I actually sat there for at least an hour and just being like, wow, no TV, no music. I'm just listening to the sounds of what's going on around me. And it was incredible. It was one of those aha moments, the same thing you just had this morning. It's like, oh yeah, we're part of something big. So let's enjoy it and come back to it. Yeah. I think we're all looking forward to that happening now.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yeah. I think there's been some element of fear that most people have experienced and understandably so during the last few years plus, and I think you don't when the fear becomes like baseline, when you finally kind of lift yourself out of it, you think, oh, I've been afraid that long, even on some very low level, so to not feel as afraid anymore is such a relief.

 

Joanne Parent:

Yeah, it is. I mean, I think for me, I'm still, you know, we're all still a little, like you said, a little bit like, oh, what's gonna happen. The world is in a weird place.  Still, but getting out there and being out, just, just taking a walk in the woods, just half an hour, you know, where I live, you have to put on a bug net right now because it's really, the black flies are bad. I mean, but you know, when, when you're, it doesn't matter, you just go outside and just literally listen and walk your dog or, you know, sit with your legs crossed on your dock and just don't say anything. And that's a practice that just, everything seems to come into place a little bit more every week when you're doing it. I mean, that's at least for me, that's my goal is to be less afraid, get out there and hang out with people again. I still don't see my parents very much. So my parents have some, you know, they have, they're older, they have some issues. So I'm, I keep my distance from them. You know, we talk, but it's still kind of scary hanging out with your parents right now. You know, so definitely there's that, but I think we're all heading in the right direction. You gotta live your life. You gotta go out and be a part of this life.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

You do. And you do have to give yourself permission to take baby steps. And to know that it's, it's not gonna feel that great right away, because just what you described, that it is a practice, it's a practice of letting yourself be a little more open work a little bit harder towards connecting with people that you've been kind of keeping your distance from for a while. That's okay. I mean, it doesn't, there's nothing that we did wrong as human beings by wanting to protect ourselves and by feeling uncomfortable as we protect ourselves a little bit less, I think, you know, yeah. We just need to do it over and over again.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Exactly. Like you don't know where you're doing. Like today I went to the art store today and did I wear a mask? Do I not wear a mask? Do I bring a mask? Am I supposed to wear it? Like, it's that, it's that weird uncomfortableness of it all. So you just have to, I just try to say just, we're just gonna move through this and we're all gonna be, you know, on our own journeys and just keep doing what makes you feel good. That's it, you know, keep spending time with my kids, you know, spending time with people that I care about spending time in the studio, making the positives of focus, not the negatives, watching less news. That's my, that's a big one for me. Watch less news. Just do that. Even though I feel like I need to stay informed too much, that is not good. Either just brings you down. 

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle::

Yes, I think that's true.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Mm-hmm <affirmative> at least for me, I can't do it like, oh, I cannot do this anymore. One more minute. Don't even talk to me about it. So that's just my own way of putting my head in the sand a little bit, I guess, but that's okay. I need to, sometimes I think we all do a little bit.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I think that's true. I think you do reach a level of maximum capacity. Yeah. That's that's I know things are bad. I have all the most sympathy for people that are experiencing these various things out in the world. But also I for now need to turn this off for a little while mm-hmm <affirmative>.

 

Joanne Parent:

And I think, especially when I think about what I try to create on the planet, it resonates with people right now. COVID people were really resonating with my work more than they ever have, because I think they wanted a sense of hope and a sense of peace and a sense of connection. And that's what my work kind of is. And people say, God, I know you, Joe, I've known you for 20 years and your paintings are like, not the person that you are outside from the paint. But it is me. It is me. It's just a part of me that I show that way. We all, we're all made up of a lot of parts, right? So I might be kind of blah, in my daily life, you know, like laughing and being, you know, who I am, but when I'm painting it is that soothing, quiet, peaceful, hopeful, ethereal aha moment for me.

 

Joanne Parent: 

And I think I need it just as much as everybody else wants to see it. I need it maybe more than everybody else does. So that's a little personal, but sort of put to say that because a really big part of what I need is creating peace and hope and Happiness, the light after the storm, getting the light to come outta the canvas, right. Without with natural light, I don't even want, you know, I’ll tell clients, I'll tell people that I meet, try the painting with no light on it at all in the morning, just look at it and then look at it in the evening, look at the middle of the day, it looks like it's changing with the, you know, it looks like maybe a sunset and then a sun rise, you know, it's very interesting. And I think that that is my, that's what I love. If I can get that out of it, that means everything to me. 
 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Why do you think it's so important that we need to be one specific thing for other people?

 

Joanne Parent: 

I don't know.I don't think any of us are one specific thing. 

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

No, clearly not God.

 

Joanne Parent: 

It seems, I can't imagine other people saying this to you. Yeah. You're an artist. Oh my God. You're an artist. You're a painter. You're a paint light. Well, I'm a lot of things. I'm a mom, I'm an artist, I'm a sister. I'm a, you know, like everything, you know, that we're all made up of like hundreds of different parts to us, you know? And I think that, I, I don't know. I don't know why it's so important for people to connect with that. One thing. I think it's what you put out there though. Like if I put out there, my energy was, I am a mother, then that's the energy I'm putting out in the world. But I put out, I'm an artist, I'm a creator. And mothering is something else I do. But I wanna have that energy. When, you know, I want people to know of me as a person who creates light for lack of a better word. That's what I want. So if I can get that out of my life while I'm still here, I feel like I really accomplished what I, what I was hoping to do in a, you know, 50,000 foot view of everything. <laugh>.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

So we need to move through the idea of Joanne more on an air force base. Mm-hmm <affirmative> to this idea of Joanne creating light mm-hmm <affirmative>.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Yes, exactly. because I've grown from, you know, my age now to when I was on air force base <laugh> so we all move along. And my whole, you know, when I first started doing art, when I was in school, when I was 12 learning from my father, he taught me how to draw. I was drawing puppies and pumpkins and things that kids draw. Right. And then it became portraiture and it became pencil drawings with people. And then it became, you know, boats. I was very into sailing when I was sailing. I was painting boats a lot. I think we all just have to move through those things and come to sit with what feels the best for us. You know? Am I still gonna paint people? Yeah. Am I still gonna paint boats? Sure. But what do I feel is best for me? Because if it doesn't resonate with me, it's not gonna resonate with anybody else. In my opinion, you know, I've had people say you painted over that painting. And I said, I just wasn't feeling it. And they're like, oh my God. But it's true. I don't want anything out there that I'm not happy with. Just don't you <affirmative> yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

It's sort of the biggest point. Isn't it?

 

Joanne Parent: 

It's the biggest point. Yeah. I wanna feel good about what every one of my little paintings goes and lives. Yeah. I wanna feel that I did the best that I possibly could and that person is connected. They knew my story for, you know, like, like we were talking about earlier, they took a little piece of my story home with them or to their office or wherever it is.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Well I've enjoyed my conversation with you today too.

 

Joanne Parent:

It's been really fun.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

You seem surprised.

 

Joanne Parent: 

I know. <laugh> you're so natural that I was just like, oh, just pretend the microphones aren't there and just, you know, chat.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Yeah. Well that's about all this is anyway, right? Just a conversation.

 

Joanne Parent: 

A conversation. Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yeah.

 

Joanne Parent:

You're good. You're good. <laugh>

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Well, I have enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with your paintings previously and today I've enjoyed the time with you. Thank you.

 

Joanne Parent:

You. Me too. It's been really great. I really appreciate it. I really appreciate taking the time to talk to me and learning a little bit more about you. It's been great too.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Well, yes. 

 

Joanne Parent: 

We haven't really talked that much before. Always at art openings.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I know that's very true. We really haven't. Next time we see each other. We'll have this deep shared connection.

 

Joanne Parent: 

That's right. We'll look at each other and go

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Yeah, no more air force base. Okay.

 

Joanne Parent: 

Nope, never again.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

All right.

 

Joanne Parent:

<laugh> thanks Lisa. I appreciate it.

 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: 

Yeah. I appreciate that with you too. This is Dr. Lisa Beil, and I've been speaking with artists, Joanne parent. You can find her work online through the Portland art gallery and also at the Portland art gallery.  I think you will find that sense of joy and that aha moment. So I really encourage you to take the time to, to look into the pieces that she has done. And thank you for coming in today. Thank you too.