Joan M. True 


All my life I have loved to draw.  As a child it was lots of coloring books and the biggest box of Crayolas that kept me busy.  That is when I discovered shading and layering. I became disabled from polio in 1948 at the age of eight. My Dad was in the Navy and stationed in Long Beach, California at the time. The eleven months I spent in the hospital are fuzzy. 

I came back from total paralysis to using a brace and crutches the rest of my life. During the years of recovery that followed I spent many quiet hours drawing pictures from the National Geographic and other magazines. I became proficient at representing what I could see. Art was a means of therapy for me.  I knew as a child I had been given a gift, but did not know how easy it would be to let it pass by.


       My first recollection of colored pencils was in the 1940's when my Mother would draw pictures for me and my brother.  She would touch the pencil to her tongue and produce the prettiest and brightest pictures.

I took art classes during my child hood.  In 1952 we moved to Beaverton, Oregon and my parents enrolled me in classes at the Portland Art Museum where I learned composition and traditional technique.




I wanted to be a teacher, so off to college I went getting an Elementary Education degree with a minor in Art.  

I graduated from Oregon College of Education in 1963. I started teaching right away.


I was married right out of college and had a daughter, Melissa, in 1968.  

After teaching for 7 years I stopped teaching to stay at home with my baby girl.

I was divorced after 12 years of marriage.

I started a small office support business on Bainbridge Island, Washington, which I ran for 21 years.

During this 30 year span of time work dominated my life and art was an occasional hobby.  All along I promised myself
that "someday I will be a real artist".


I am now retired and live in Everett, Washington to be near my daughter and Grandchildren.

I am enthusiastically building skill with colored pencils.  Since drawing was what I was good at, colored pencils were a natural choice.

I use predominantly Prismacolor brand pencils and prefer the deep layering process of burnishing to push the color to more emulate painting. 

The colored pencil process can be laborious and draws many artists into photo-realistic work. 

In my search for the artist within I am drawn to the abstract and impressionistic artists of the late19th and early 20th centuries.  Color is new to me.  I will continue to explore the color wheel as I explore and I learn more about painting and technique.

A good friend who was an art professor is my mentor and critic.  Every painting I do is a study for me. I enjoy entering juried shows.  The competitions give me something to strive for.



 As a balance for my retirement years I volunteer at the dis-Ability Resource Center for independent living in Everett, Washington.  I am an advocate for disability rights and causes.  I am a member in the Arts Council of Snohomish County and the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA).


 "Art is my medium for self-expression.
It will be my friendly companion for the rest of my life."

Written March 2002
Bio published in the April/May 2002 CPSA Newsletter


Joan left this world on January 24th 2006.  Her art is part of her legacy. She asked specifically to "send my art out into the world".  Through this web site as well as public showings of her work we hope to fulfill her wish and share some of the beauty of Joan True.



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