Joan Bourque has been painting as long as she can remember. “I love putting paint together just to see how it looks: blending, throwing, even removing paint to create an effect.” She practiced drawing at an early age, a pencil and paper was all she needed. “I drew bookcases in my childhood living room, I loved perspective, and using shadows and highlights.” 


Her high school had her making posters for school events, which influenced experimenting with letter styles. In college she was sent off to apprentice with well-known New York City artists Close Close and Joe Zucker, where she met a different art world and more opportunities to explore her creativity. She stayed in NYC for 6 years of loft living and gallery exhibits of her super realistic silver bowl reflections using airbrush. You may have caught one of this past Spring at The Muse.


Then her life shifted to nature. Her love for nature, and her need to be immersed in it, moved her to living and scuba diving in Saba. Her time as a dive guide and scuba operator, she started Sea Saba with her husband Lou Bourque in 1983, captured her in her favorite artistic adventure. “Every dive, for me, is the sport of seeing colors, shapes, movement and the expression of life. I can applaud nature’s extravaganza and am inspired to create with her flair.”


Mrs. Bourque normally uses watercolor and acrylic, and currently has showing three originals from her children’s book "Dreams of Dolphins Dancing," which is also available at The Muse. Her range though, extends to desert scenes, and pretty much everything you can find between desert and sea.


More recently, she has been experimenting with material combinations, adding extra pieces of specially made plastic or clay forms to simulate nature’s best 3-dimensionality. These new pieces emulate the movement and growth of the ocean and land plants. “I carefully carve and sculpt 3-dimensional pieces to express the opening of a flower or the flow of a sea fan. Using an airbrush to paint, I can capture those soft and subtle lights that happen underwater. I also call it my ‘coming out of the box’ phase.”


Painting murals, as you can see if you are in Cottonwood and view the newly painted wall at the Verde Lea, or on Saba where she voyages frequently, is her equally favorite art form. “The team effort it takes to produce a 100’ mural like the one at the Fort Bay, is like a dance of a school of fish, we work together, next to each other, to create a wonderland of color and form.”


Come visit The Muse and experience Mrs. Bourque’s underwater world in paintings, her book, and a selection of 3-dimensional pieces.

Joan Bourque