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Joan Burmeister stands in front of "Untitled."
By Jeff Stearns | STAFF
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Inspired by detail
By Kathleen Ostrander

When artist Joan Burmeister of Springfield is on a roll, she can crank out clowns, cows and cityscapes. For Burmeister, a member artist of the Prairie Art Alliance, the world is her creative muse.

Her cityscapes reflect New York from her time there.

The larger landscapes are compilations of different areas, pieces of New York and her travels to Paris.

"People can look at them and pick out places where they've been. I've had shows and people come over and point out a landmark from somewhere," Burmeister said.

At a recent exhibit at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, Burmeister had clowns, flowers, cityscapes, landscapes, butterflies and a large abstract painting reflecting the influence of Jackson Pollock.

There is strength and style in her work, but also color, humor and sweetness.

Her cow series reflects a Midwest influence, she said with a laugh. "And the sky - just look at the sky. You can tell a Midwest sky with the blue and clouds."

The sky ties her cityscapes together. You can buy one or a half dozen and each has swirls and twirls that identify it as a New York scape.

Her technique is a unique combination of the brightness of acrylic but also layers of other color and outline with gilt accents that give each piece a depth and personality.

Up close the intricate detail is amazing. Take a couple of steps back and the gilt accents seem like twinkling lights in the cityscapes and minute flashing highlights on her butterflies or clowns.

Burmeister's personality is like that - flashes of highlights.

"I think a gift of original art is wonderful and that's why I like to keep the prices affordable," she said. Her cityscapes are similar, yet different. "You can buy one or a half dozen depending on what you want."

She may make 30 paintings or more on one subject.

"I pick the best ones out of exhibits and wrap the rest away. I pick the frame to go with it to help the piece."

She works at a studio in her home and since 1985 has been giving private painting and drawing lessons to children.

Her next series will be an homage to Joan Miro, a Spanish surrealist who used color and form to appeal to the subconscious.

Story published Friday, December 5, 2008 ( Volume 3, Number 7 )

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