Joanie Conoly - All By His Hand
Jessica Johnson Anderson
Always a creative person, Joanie Conoly says finding her life’s work has been a long process. And while her biggest blessing in life and greatest accomplishment is being a mother to her three children, Eleanor, 7, Charlie, 4, and Margaret, 2; rediscovering her love of painting came at the perfect time in her life.
After a few twists and turns on the career front, Joanie fell back into drawing and painting when her mother-in-law, Lil Conoly, needed something for a bathroom. Lil, the type that is always creating something, empowered Joanie to take on the commission after seeing some of Joanie’s artwork from high school.
“I used to draw and paint a lot but after high school, I stopped doing it,” Joanie admits. The encouragement from her mother-in-law ignited the spark to paint again. “It’s good for my soul,” the young mother adds.
Now, Joanie markets her paintings under Art By JCD—all thanks to the painting in her mother-in-law’s bathroom. While time may have passed since the first time Joanie picked up a paintbrush under the tutelage of well-respected portrait artist Diddy Vucovich during her high school years at Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School, the meaning behind her art stayed consistent. “It has always been God’s thing,” Joanie says with conviction, “not my thing.”
Diddy taught Joanie everything from watercolor to working with clay—citing Diddy’s encouraging nature back then as a driving force to growing her craft now. She still seeks Diddy, and Diddy’s daughter Meagan Robichaux’s, advice.
Joanie, a Catholic and active member of a women’s group at Saint James United Methodist Church, from the beginning dedicated Art By JCD to the Lord. Each time she works with her art, Joanie says a prayer. “I ask for the Lord to guide me. If I am painting our Lady, I ask for her intercession. I am using this gift to serve him,” she explains.
As she’s grown as an artist, she has begun to experiment with other subjects—not strictly staying to religious icons. Expanding her range, she now paints more abstracts, even then, she’s painting to the sounds of praise and worship music putting God’s hand in everything she creates.
Over the last year, Joanie has partnered with her friends Jacob and Libby Eubanks, founders of the “Choose Water” ministry, which brings clean drinking water to the impoverished African nation of Zambia. Another continuation of using her gift of painting to help serve the Lord, a portion of Art by JCD profits are donated to Choose Water to help build more wells. “Their dedication to making sure all of Zambia has clean drinking water has inspired me deeply!” Joanie says.
Armed with inspiration from the Lord, nature, her family and friends, Joanie isn’t short of ideas; however, running a creative business and being an active mother to young children is a balancing act. Joanie found herself, during the pre-holiday gift rush, painting more than her share of snowmen. A well-timed phone call from a friend came in. “I told her I can’t do this anymore!” Joanie recalls. So, she put the snowmen aside and did a de facto self-portrait. “I did a crazy lady because that’s how I was feeling. She’s cool and mysterious,” Joanie explains.
So, debuting in 2019, inspired by her friends, Art by JCD will showcase a new series on women. They are all going to be mysterious, eclectic with different colors than typically found in Joanie’s repertoire. She admits she’s not sure where she is going to take the series, but she knows exactly where she’s going to start.
Joanie hopes to use the new series on women to help expand the reach of her work. She’d love to enter into galleries outside of Alabama—especially in New Orleans and Atlanta. Currently, her work can be found locally at Ashley Gallion Interiors, Quite The Pair, Jessica Spurlin Interiors, Peridot Home and Trinity Framing. Additionally, The Art House and Aloft in Birmingham showcase pieces. “I am forever grateful for their support,” Joanie gushes of her retailers.
The Art by JCD website is receiving some much needed winter work, Joanie admits, but plans to have it back up and running in the first quarter of the new year. Until then, follow along with Joanie on instagram (@JoanieConoly), which she admits to using way more than her Facebook page (facebook.com/ArtbyJCD).