New Year, New Plans

December 28, 2018 - One Response

I’ve had a few shows now, all  related to researching and painting portraits of various “Great Women”. The shows have been popular. The research eye-opening. This year, in 2019 I’m expanding my artistic reach: focusing on Great Women of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) – and mixing art and journalism, to deepen the experience, for the viewer, of getting to know these amazing women of history.

I just wanted to add one note, for now:

because, at my last show, something amazing happened….

The show was called “Great Women of the Ocean, Earth and Sky” and a few days after the opening (which was really fun) I went back, mid-day, to the Chase Gallery at the Nova Scotia Archives, to check on the portrait paintings.

In the near-empty gallery I saw 3 women. All three looked to be, I don’t know, perhaps in their 40s or maybe 50s? Their backs were to me. Two were quietly studying one of the large-scale portraits (all the portraits in this series were 3×4 feet… so quite large and all were close-cropped images of each female pioneer’s face. So the viewer could get the feel of , almost, looking each woman in the eye – peering into her soul or spirit a bit…at least that’s what I was going for…). I was double parked, and just peeking in – but I thought I’d take the moment to do a quick “focus group” – to check-in with these three anonymous ladies, to get their reaction to the paintings.

“What do you think?” I asked – standing a few feet behind them, still near the door – the better to avoid getting a parking ticket.

The two women who’d been discussing the portrait of Elizabeth Mann-Borgese turned and said something indicating they liked the show. But the third woman hesitated to turn. She was standing on her own, looking at my portrait of Elsie McGill .

I asked her directly, what she thought. She turned to me and I saw she was crying.

I walked over immediately and stood by her closely, wanting her to feel my support.

“Why are you crying?” I asked her, in a quiet voice.

“I never knew any of this,” she responded.

I gave her a hug. We gave each other a hug, sort of smile uncomfortably, and then I left. I told her “thank you” before I exited. Creating a portrait collection takes an enormous amount of effort. I felt like – wow – it was worth it. Because that’s who I feel about these women. I can’t believe I never knew what they did.

Later, when I collected the comment book I’d left in the gallery, I noticed this woman had signed the book – identifying herself and recalling her emotional moment, in front of Elsie McGill.

I’ve forgotten this woman’s name. but I’ll find that log book and look it up – to know it, remember it. She’s one of the people for whom I’m dedicating my next show. She’s inspired me. Because, yes, she is so right: we don’t know these Great Women of STEM. Yet: They paved a path. And it’s our female path. We need to know it. We need to show what they did to our daughters, and nieces and friend’s kids so they’ll know what women have already accomplished, understand that it’s female ground too – in my books, it’s the best way to ensure the next generation of girls and young women can better carve their own fresh paths.



Great Women of STEM

June 22, 2016 - One Response

HALIFAX – Thanks to all who showed such interest in my portraits of women of accomplishment in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Look for my next Great Women of S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) show, June 2017, at the Nova Scotia Archives. This time I’ll be focusing on Great Women of the Ocean, Earth and Sky! For more information about my art, go to adio, Jo

Thank you!

June 13, 2016 - Leave a Response

Thanks to Liane Heller for her wonderful story in the Local Express (the digital publication being produced by the striking Herald workers – bless them) about my Female Chemistry art show on at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. It runs until June 25h. And thanks to the folks who came to the show opening last Friday, and those who helped make it such a success. It was a lot of fun! Here’s the link to the Local Xpress story…

‘Female Chemistry’ Honors Women

April 17, 2016 - 6 Responses

HALIFAX, May 17, 2016 – Working on a new show ( June 3-25th at the Public Archives of N.S. ) honouring women who’ve accomplished amazing things in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). My daughter Julia is the inspiration. I’d like her to know what women have done – in those fields. And, hopefully, get inspired. I have a feeling engineering may be her path, down the road…we’ll see. In the meantime, it’s been so so so much fun learning about Nobel Prize winners Marie Curie, Gertrude Elion and Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkins. And Alice Ball – (oh Agnes – gone too soon at 25 –  but not before you did something wonderful). Plus the wild and wonderful Hertha Ayrton. The formidable Lise Meitner. The under-the-radar Mary Morgan. And Rosalind Franklin… If you’re in the Dal neighbourhood (the Archives is at the corner of Robie and University) come and see them!

Nova Scotia Nine update

April 24, 2013 - Leave a Response

A quick update: The Nova Scotia Nine portrait collection, which now hangs in the lovely, new boardroom at RBC Dominion Securities at Purdy’s Wharf, has been acquired by RBC for their national art collection.

These large-scale, contemporary portraits honor women who accomplished amazing things on Nova Scotia soil. Their faces, and stories, are not well known but history reveals they powerfully influenced Nova Scotia’s – and, in many cases, Canada’s – culture, heritage and society.

A book about The Nova Scotia Nine was recently produced by the Nova Scotia government and launched at the Lt.-Governor’s House during a ceremony marking International Women’s Day.

To read more about them, click the link in the banner above.

Some Fresh Work

March 24, 2013 - One Response

Here are a few images of my latest paintings: the first is a partial pic of a new work, based on 3 baseball players. (Can you guess who ?)

To get a view of the full painting – a trio of ball players whom my husband asked me to paint for him (a 50th birthday present) – scroll down …

These photos are via my friend Elissa Barnard, who took them on her phone when she stopped by the other day.

Here is  “Anthem: O Canada””… which I was going to put in an upcoming fundraising event, for Sacred Heart School in Halifax. (I decided instead to do a new painting: a oil portrait)

… I cropped the photo of “Anthem” a bit ..

And below is the full image of  “The Baseball Boys”…

(I will also post a close-up image of Anthem girl’s eye, since it gives a great sense of color…).

Hmm, let’s see.. here goes…

Before I go, below is a “”thumbnail” sized image of Elissa’s pic of the painting “”The Baseball Boys””.

from left:

Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig.

The painting is about 2×4 feet… and is now hanging in Greg’s office.

New Paintings, New Plans

April 16, 2012 - Leave a Response

The 6-month showing of “The Nova Scotia Nine” portrait series has wrapped at The Halifax Club, and I’ve decided to devote some blog time and space to showing my latest paintings here, online. I’ll post images of the portrait series along with the paintings most recently completed. Watch this site for more….

As for “The Nova Scotia Nine” (you can click the link above to read more about women), they’ll be making independent appearances at various events around town, including an upcoming federal ministers’ meeting.

KPMG Hosts Halifax Club Reception for The NS9

November 7, 2011 - Leave a Response

This blog tracks the origin & evolution of Jo Napier’s Art Exhibit honoring “The Nova Scotia Nine- Great Women of N.S.

The Halifax Club

Since the Great Women of NS Art Exhibit moved to that elegant business bastion – The Halifax Club – the reception has been strong.

Most recently, KMPG hosted a by-invitation, women-in-business event; it centered around a private showing of my “The Nova Scotia Nine” collection of contemporary, interpretive portraits of great women of Nova Scotia.

It was a sparkling evening and I’d like to thank KPMG for staging such a great event around “”The Nova Scotia Nine“”.

Great Women of NS Portraits Storm The Halifax Club

July 2, 2011 - One Response

This blog tracks the origin & evolution of Jo Napier’s 2011 Art Exhibit honoring “The Nova Scotia Nine- Great Women of N.S.

The Halifax Club

The Great Women of NS Art Exhibit has moved to that elegant business bastion, The Halifax Club.

Thanks to Jodi Bartlett, the Club’s wonderful General Manager, for the warm welcome.

Crowds were steady and reactions to the portraits were very, very strong at The Public Archives, where the show had its 2-month Summer “”run””. Jodi says the response to the portrait collection, at “”The Club”, is equally strong.

Great Women of N.S. Art Exhibit Run Extended

June 24, 2011 - Leave a Response

Hi Folks,

Just found out my Great Women of Nova  Scotia Art exhibit, featuring The Nova Scotia Nine, will continue  – for another month – at The Public Archives.

Then, it moves to The Halifax Club for late summer/fall…more later.

The traffic has been steady and the feedback tremendous.

My thanks to all who have visited and shared their thoughts on these great women of N.S.