Meet Tricia

Tricia Joiner is an internationally known American decorative artist, teacher and author. She has taught regular, seminar, and convention classes for almost 40 years in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Europe and has recently added South Korean students. As a teacher, she is known for breaking complicated painting techniques into understandable steps while maintaining the traditions of the original style.

Tricia's interest in the decorative arts of the world flows from her desire to trace our artistic and cultural legacy back to its source and extend the authentic techniques to another generation of decorative painters. The Swedish and Italian backgrounds of her parents imparted a deep feeling for her European heritage, while her childhood in New England provided an appreciation for the cultural development of the U.S.

Tricia's sharing of her teaching techniques with the Russian artists inspired them to go home and use these techniques in their own classes. Zhostovo artists believed that all artwork should be original and it was inappropriate to copy another design. Many have learned the educational value of our decorative painting approach, in which we do copy the designs of others. Zhostovo children's classes now utilize line drawings transferred onto surfaces so they can focus on understanding the painting techniques. Tricia's step by step procedure motivated one artist to write a Zhostovo instructional book for children using the same method.

On her extensive studies throughout Europe, Tricia has followed the development of many decorative art styles back to their sources. She has worked directly with the original painters to maintain the traditional painting style and techniques while adapting them to our modern products and media. She has done this with styles from Switzerland, Holland, and Russia. She was the first teacher to return the Hindeloopen style of painting to Japan from which it developed. (Hindeloopen was originally based on Japanese porcelain painting.) This started a resurgence of interest there that continues to grow today. Tricia was the first American painter to be invited to study with the lacquer miniature artists from the village of Palekh, Russia, which led to a 20 year relationship with the painters from Palekh and Zhostovo. She has been a driving force behind the mainstreaming of the Hindeloopen, Zhostovo, and Palekh styles of painting in the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.

Before spending 20 years on the road travel teaching around the world, Tricia owned and operated a decorative painting shop for 10 years, instructing hundreds of students. Her publications include four books on European decorative painting, a book of Russian fairy tales and legends, and over 250 instructional packets, as well as historical articles and painting designs for The Decorative Painter and numerous other journals. She has been an active member, officer (including President), and committee chairperson of several of the Society's local chapters and founded the Yellow Rose chapter in Dallas, Texas. She was also instrumental in the forming of one of the Japanese painting chapters. A commissioned piece of her work was presented to former President George Bush, Sr.

Utilizing the designing and painting skills of Russian National Treasure and Master Painter from Zhostovo, Slava Letkov, Tricia developed a five year Zhostovo Certification Program to pass on the classic traditions of the Zhostovo painting techniques. Hundreds of students have passed through this program and are teaching the techniques all over the world. Tricia continues to supply them with new designs, ideas, and motivation. Her award winning designs have garnered blue ribbons for many students in art competitions.

In her attempts to introduce the art forms and cultures and connect the artists of Russia and America, Tricia has led five home stay exchange programs bringing artists from Russia to America and Americans to Russia, opening doors and changing lives for many. One young man traveling with her met and married a Palekh artist's daughter.  They now live with their three children in Canada.

One of Tricia's favorite sayings is:
Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.
(Author unknown)

Her latest endeavors include operating a beading/gift shop and painting studio in the mountains of New Hampshire and teaching video e-courses.  Her present goal is to put the entire certification program into an e-course to be accessed from anywhere in the world.  This would allow interested students from around the world the opportunity to study with Tricia and Slava in the comfort of their own homes without the expense and inconvenience of traveling.

"I believe online classes are the way to ensure the future of decorative painting,
and I intend to be a part of it."

The following is a modified excerpt from an SDP Blog:

What first motivated you to learn to paint?
I grew up in a college town in Massachusetts where my father and my husband were University Professors. My husband accepted a new position in Houston, Texas. I thought I was moving to a foreign country and leaving my close knit Italian/Swedish family behind. To show me there was European culture in Texas and help me meet new people, my husband signed me up for a folk art class taught by Heidi England before we even arrived. I started painting and never stopped.  Along the way, I also learned to love the Texas spirit and friendliness and country music.

What do you love most about painting?
Of course, I love seeing my ideas come to life in living color. I love stroke work. Every stroke is a challenge and an accomplishment. I love the discovery of finding some new style or technique. I love the stories and history that are a part of the old world decorative art styles and make the painting come alive. I love waking up in the morning and looking forward to another wonderful day of painting. I especially love the connection it has given me to people at home and around the world. "I've traveled to the rainbow's end. And found not gold but you…my friend." (author unknown)

How long have you been an SDP member? I joined the Society in 1976 and attended my first convention in Atlanta.  Since that time I have attended all but three conventions and taught and exhibited at most of them.  I still have every Decorative Painter magazine since 1976 in my collection.

When did you begin teaching?
In 1976, my husband was transferred to Illinois and I had to leave Heidi's classes behind.  I struck out on my own and began teaching classes in my basement studio.

What do you love most about teaching?
Sharing what I know. Watching a student be amazed when an object goes from flat to form just by adding darks and lights. Carrying a beautiful painting into a classroom and listening to the students say "That is sooo beautiful.  I wish I could paint like that." Having them be convinced at the end of the class that they could learn to paint like that. I believe that teaching a young person to be creative teaches them to think outside of the box. They may develop into a great painter or maybe a great scientist. Art enhances every aspect of life.

What are the top takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
You, too, can do it!!  After studying and teaching with Master Painters from Zhostovo for 20 years, I have taught thousands of students around the world how to paint these beautiful floral designs. Regardless of their style, every student can use this particular step by step approach to improve their painting. They will have also gained appreciation for the authentic techniques of this unquestionably beautiful style. I try to help each student leave the class excited, inspired, and confident. 

Do you find it important for yourself to still attend classes here or there to learn a new skill or freshen up on an old one?
I find this so important that I have traveled the world, looking in every corner, to discover new techniques, styles and approaches. You never know when one of these classes will change your life forever as it has mine more than once. Now I find it totally amazing that I can sit in the comfort of my own home and use my computer to watch someone painting online. It's a wonderful time for learning to paint.

When you're not painting or teaching, what can we find you doing?
18 months ago, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. With the help of my family and open minded doctor, I researched the causes and cures, and completely changed my lifestyle. Without taking ANY medication, I have reversed this condition. I no longer eat sugar, grains, or processed food - only tons of organic veggies, eggs, raw milk, and grass fed meats. I have lost 50 pounds. According to AARP only 1/1000 diabetics are willing to control this disease by lifestyle changes instead of medication. (Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.) I wish I could share with my fellow painters, many of whom are struggling with this same problem, how good I feel - energetic and clear-headed. I'm tired of listening to the comment that decorative painters are aging out. I am aging in. I spend a lot of time reading health articles and researching new recipes. I follow Dr. Mercola among others. I believe education about one's health is as important as learning to read and write. Outside of this - I love to walk in our beautiful resort and climb mountains (which I can do now again), go camping, visit museums, travel, read, listen to country music and, most especially, spend time with my youngest two little granddaughters.