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Joanette Hoffman Egeli won five scholarships to art schools. She studied painting at Pennsylvania College of Art, the Art School of the Brooklyn Museum, and the Art Students League of New York where she met her future husband, Cedric Egeli. As a young mother, Joanette was frustrated when domestic responsibilities kept her from devoting more time to painting. “While my husband’s career was blossoming, I felt mine was being stymied!” She solved the dilemma by negotiating a “portraits for babysitting” arrangement with friends and neighbors. Although her oil and pastel portraits are now in high demand, she recalls “It served a useful purpose at the time, giving me the opportunity to continue developing as an artist.”
Joanette credits her late father-in-law, well-known painter and sculptor Bjorn Egeli, as having the most profound influence on her artistic development. “He was committed to the concepts of truth and beauty, and repeatedly stressed the importance of achieving excellence in all aspects of painting. He often reminded us that the most important endeavor for an artist was to make a beautiful work of art, regardless of who or what the subject might be.”
Born in 1934 Joanette Egeli has been painting portraits of children since childhood. Although she paints people of all ages, including family groups, she admits a strong affinity for children under twelve. “Perhaps it’s because I had four children of my own,” she says. “Children are, after all, very important people. Capturing their developing personalities in portraits is an important artistic endeavor.”
Joanette Egeli’s portraits of children are straightforward and appealing. She achieves a striking likeness, including less detail in the remainder of the portrait, accomplishing a harmonious blend of color with form. Before beginning a portrait, she spends hours sometimes days in the subject’s home observing and interacting with both child and parents. “To make a fine painting,” she says, “it’s essential for the artist and subject to develop a mutual trust and appreciation.”
Joanette maintains a studio on the Maryland farm she shares with her husband, Cedric. Each summer, on Cape Cod Joanette and Cedric are sought after as instructors for their outdoor portrait painting workshops. They also teach a winter workshop at the farm studio in portrait and the figure, a class attended by some of the top painters across the country. A few of the artists who credit their influence: John Ebersberger, Lee Boynton, Camille Przewodek, Abigail McBride, Tim Bell and Stephen Griffin.
She is a co-founder of the Maryland Society of Portrait Painters. Joanette’s work has been exhibited at the Art Students League in New York, the Cape Cod Art Assoc., the Maryland Federation of Art, New York Salmagundi Club, The Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and the Brooklyn Museum. A member of the Mid Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association (MAPAPA), she has exhibited in this annual juried exhibition since inception. She is listed in The Artists Bluebook of American Artists. American Artist Magazine published two articles about her portrait proficiency, “Creating a Likeness in Portraiture” August 1997 and “Painting with Purpose” August 2004.