Joanne Pierce, a resident of Port Washington and teacher at Holy Child Academy in Old Westbury, has been inspiring others through her art classes, which are taught weekly through Instagram live.
Growing up in Port Washington and attending Schreiber High School, Pierce found her passion for art at a young age.
“We had wonderful art teachers in the public schools, and I had a wonderful elementary school teacher, Mrs. Fitzgerald,” Pierce said. “I always loved drawing since I was a little girl. I can remember my first drawing of a horse when I was six years old.”
Pierce has artists on both sides of her family, so drawing was a valued and welcomed hobby in her household growing up.
“My family was all very talented, both sides, my mom and my dad,” Pierce said. “I used to sit and draw with my grandfather when I was a little girl. My dad’s hobby was woodcarving. He was often featured in many of the Cow Neck Historical Society’s shows.”
After graduating from Schreiber High School, Pierce attended SUNY New Paltz where she majored in Art Education. Shortly after graduating, Pierce got involved in the New York art scene in Manhattan and has been teaching art ever since.
A talented artist, who’s medium is pencil and oils, Pierce mostly paints horses and nature landscapes. She finds that her inspiration stems from the beauty of the nature that surrounds her.
“I’ve gotten my inspiration mostly from nature and horses,” Pierce said. “I’ve loved horses since before I can remember. [Horses] have always been a huge subject in art history. Their magnificence, their forms are wonderful to recreate, their spirit. They are so good from mental health, emotional well-being. And the beauty of the landscape—the water growing up on Manhasset Bay.”
Six years ago, Pierce’s son Tom helped her to create an online platform to not only showcase her art, but to inspire others to be creative and learn to draw. She came up with the idea of offering “Pierce the HeArt lessons” as a way to bring art to people who may not have access to it otherwise.
“I‘m used to brick and mortar galleries from when I showed in the eighties,” Pierce said. “I was thrilled to be involved with the online world and learn about it. We talked last year about doing online classes with how the world has changed. We developed Pierce the HeArt lessons because I wanted to reach as many people as I could with teaching art. I wanted to have them love art as I was taught. I was so fortunate to have the background I had in Port Washington and I wanted to be able to give that out to the world.”
Since the virtual classes began, Pierce has had people from all over the world attend her lessons.
“This technology is so phenomenal—We’ve heard from people from all over the world—Germany, Australia and China.”
Described as a cross between Bob Ross and Mr. Rogers, Pierce also has a Youtube channel (PiercetheHeArtlessons), where she teaches viewers how to paint in a relaxing style similar to that of artist Bob Ross.
“I hear from so many adults now that [they] can’t draw,” Pierce said. “I don’t want people to feel that way. Through my art classes, I want to teach very easy step-by-step instructions so people can at least start and have a place where they feel safe trying.”
Pierce decided to offer these lessons for free during the pandemic so that people have the opportunity to explore their creative side. Especially in a time when many cannot afford the luxuries of expensive art equipment or private instruction.
“I feel that creation is so important, especially now—we’re so isolated from each other,” Pierce said. “I didn’t have many resources as a kid to take art lessons. I like to give these art lessons for free because I know what it’s like to be a kid and not have a lot of resources.”
Since the pandemic began, Pierce has been teaching viewers how to draw, holding classes for children and adults every Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Instagram live, @piercetheheartlessons.
The lessons are free, fun and educational for beginner artists. All that is required is a piece of paper and a pencil. To check out more of Pierce’s art, visit www.jypfineart.com.