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Color dynamics, layers of visual meaning, and a celebratory attitude are the themes of Joan Stuart Ross’s art. She is inspired by the scientific method as she looks for answers to problems of the eye and mind. Trial, error, chance and risk lead her work to celebrate light over opacity. She reinvents explored shapes and colors as she looks forward to new discoveries.

Joan combines and varies oil, encaustic, and embedded collage in her work to reveal, hide, or hint at what’s on and underneath the surface. Her paintings’ layered forms bear a long-time interest in the lyrical energy of the poplar trees by Seattle’s Ship Canal and consideration of the luminous oyster shells near her Willapa Bay studio. Mark, rhythm, repetition, and pattern reveal metaphorical form: the poplar, hydrangea, shell, grid, knot, and implied text suggest a symbolic undercurrent.


University of Washington, Seattle, WA:

Graduate Study: Education, Creative Writing

University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA:

Master of Art, Master of Fine Arts

Yale Divinity School and

Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT

Connecticut College, New London, CT:

Bachelor of Arts

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Massachusetts College of Art&Design, Boston

Artists Studied Under

Keith Achepohl

Josef Albers

Marguerite Hanson

Mauricio Lasansky

Richard B. Lukosius

William Ashby McCloy

Virginia Myers

Nathan Oliveira

Gabor Peterdi

Jack Tworkov

Museum Collections

Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem, OR

Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, WA

National Museum of Women in the Arts, D.C.

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA 

Tacoma Art Musem, Tacoma, WA

Wing Luke Museum, Seattle, WA



Alexis Hotel

Bank of America

Bank of California

Bellingham Technical College

Capital One

City of Seattle 

Davis, Wright, Tremaine

Edmonds College

Eisenhower, Carlson, Newlands, Foster, Pepper

Harborview Medical Center



Island Hospital 

Junior League of Seattle

King County Arts Commission (4Culture)

Madison Hotel


North Seattle College

Oregon State Printing Plant

Overlake Hospital

Paul Allen Collection

Pan Pacific Hotel

Pierce County District Court

Portland State Office Building 

Sheraton Hotels

Skagit Valley College

State of Washington

Swedish Orthopedic Institute

US West 

University of Illinois 

University of Iowa 

University of Washington, Suzzallo Library

Western Washington University

Willamette University


Body of Work

1973-80: Paintings from Nature (available) 

1973-80: Poplars by the Ship Canal (available) 

1977-current: Monotype/collage (available) 

1981-83: Silver Fox (available) 

1981-88: Play Within a Play (available) 

1981-88: Gray's Brain (available) 

1981-88: Jungle Fruits (available) 

1993-00: Work from Rome (sold out) 

2000-current: "Text" Paintings (available) 

2012-current: Layered Grids (available) 

2016-current: Encaustic Collage (available)  

2017-current: Oyster Portraits (available) 

2018-current: Evolution & Prescience (available) 

2019-current: Smoke Tree (available)

2020-current: Crossword Drawings (available) 

2020-current: Brave Space (available)

2022-current: Phenomena (available)

2023-current: Northern Lights (available)


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