Galleries Visual Arts

Cover Artist: Joy Moser

South Toe

By Gina Malone

Joy Moser believes that her whole life as an artist has fallen into place perfectly, with a sense of destiny about it. She grew up in Charlotte, part of a large and colorful extended family, many of whom lived close by and were a significant part of her childhood. “As the baby of five girls, I received lots of attention, including encouragement to pursue my love of art,” she says.

She was inspired by an art teacher in middle school to enter competitions and further her education with workshops. Art was always the subject that she excelled at in school and she went on to earn a BFA in painting at UNC Charlotte. After graduation, she worked for the next 10 years as an illustrator for NC-based Ivey’s and Belk department stores. While raising her daughter Ariel, she freelanced for 15 years before devoting herself, once again, to painting full-time.

Although inspired by painters such as Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as by some of her contemporaries, it is the natural world that provides the motivation she needs to create her landscapes. “I have always been an outdoors person and I love to hike and camp,” she says. “It restores my energy and connection with nature. I never really needed more than the natural world to create the art I love.”

Joy Moser in her studio

In 2008, when husband Scott’s job allowed him to begin working from home, they left Charlotte for the mountains, settling in Weaverville. In the last few years her husband, whom she calls her “greatest inspiration and supporter,” has discovered fly fishing and Moser often accompanies him, setting up her easel to do plein air painting while he fishes. Consequently, many of her landscapes feature streams and waterfalls. “Landscape painting just came naturally to me and I find more than enough inspiration in WNC to keep me busy for the rest of my life,” she says. When Scott retires this summer, the two plan to explore by RV all of the country’s national parks. “National park artist-in- residence programs are my next ambition,” Moser says.

Oil paint has always been her medium of choice for what she paints from nature. “I usually start a study painting on site to get the colors and light in that particular moment just right,” she says. “I spend time with my subject to try to incorporate all of the sensual information so that my interpretation will be as accurate as possible. I try not to get overwhelmed by all the details in the finished work, however, so that the viewer can participate in finishing the piece through their own experiences.” In that way, she adds, her art may be interactive.

Morning Waterfall

Her work will be part of Blue Spiral 1’s March exhibition, En Plein Air. “Blue Spiral 1 has been very inspirational to me,” she says. “John Cram has made such an impact on the arts in WNC, including my own. This show will be a truly amazing group of artists who all interpret the environment in their own style. Julyan Davis, Peggy Root and Deborah Squier have been represented by BS1 for many years and I feel honored to be shown beside them and along with other new artists to the gallery.”

She worries that many people today are not as attached to the natural world as they should be and sees her art as a way to bring that awareness back into their lives. “We need to stay connected to our environment,” she says. “Through my work, I am trying to promote this generation’s interest in protecting and valuing the environment.”

To learn more, visit, or find her on Instagram @JoyMoserArt and on Facebook @JoyMoserArtist. Her work is also featured at New Morning Gallery and at Blue Spiral 1, where En Plein Air opens Friday, March 8, with a reception from 5–8 p.m., and runs through April 27.

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