Tread Lightly-Works by Timothy Joe
- Jan 9–Feb 17, 2024
- Carnegie Visual Arts Center
About the Artist
Timothy Michael Joe is a self-taught artist and instructor from the rural southern town of Greensboro, Alabama. His love of art started at the age of four coloring on paper bags from the grocery store. Growing up in a small town there were not any art instructors available. He watched,” The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross” on Alabama Public Television and was immediately hooked. Bob was the reason Timothy started painting in oils.
In his early teens, Tim’s mother took him to meet a professional artist in Moundville, AL. The artist was named Brian. He showed Tim his studio full of pencil drawings and sketches of people and landscapes. One of Brian’s drawings was an old tiny home near Tuscaloosa. Tim received Brian’s Summer Art Registration and was set to learn from another artist who looked like Tim. Tragedy struck when Brian passed away from a car accident. Heartbroken and worried that his opportunity to learn how to be a professional artist died with Brian. Tim prayed for God’s help to develop his gift and one day be the teacher he never had. In 2017, Tim created a soft pastel painting of the old tiny home Brian drew as a tribute to his short term mentor.
Over the years, Timothy produced artwork for galleries and commissioned work. He creates art based on themes associated with southern rural culture concerning God, family, and heritage. He enjoys using his art to educate, uplift, and encourage. He teaches nature journaling in gouache and landscape art in soft pastels online and in person.
His favorite subjects are rural structures in landscapes and nature journaling. I love learning the history of my subject and gaining the appreciation that helps me create meaningful art. Creating a beautiful painting is nice, but painting the same scene with an understanding of the history is what I am after. I believe the backstory of my subject is just as important as the color I choose to paint.
Today, Tim travels teaching workshops, exhibiting art, and performing painting demonstrations on top of his full time career as a NASA employee. His farm owns a 200 acre farm in Newbern, Alabama where they host bird and nature tours.
From the Artist
My art is more of a ministry than anything else. My art carries on 2 missions: preserve history and promote nature conservation.
Preserve Local History
I love learning the history of my subject and gaining the appreciation that helps me create meaningful art. Creating a beautiful painting is nice, but painting the same scene with an understanding of the history is what I am after. I believe the backstory of my subject is just as important as the color I choose to paint. If I don’t tell its story, no one will. I can not describe the excitement when I learn the history of a place or building from the locals. That adds so many layers and sentimental value to my work.
I am a third generation black Angus farmer, birdwatcher, and hiker so the love for the outdoors comes natural to me. There is so much beauty and craftsmanship in God’s creation that I can not help but to document on canvas, panel or my art journal. I have an art journal solely dedicated to birds and nature with my observation notes. I never counted on my journal gaining the popularity that it did, but that showed me how nature connects people. My art serves to educate the importance of nature conservation, to be mindful of how we use natural resources, and care for other living creatures we share this planet with. I may not be able to convince someone to read a book about preserving delicate habitats, but I sure can paint them for many to see. This is how I open the door to talks that can lead to birding tours, and painting in state forests, and wildlife refuges.
I want to sincerely thank you for coming to my exhibit. Here is a collection of various subject matter with stories I collected from my hometown of Greensboro, Alabama to Florence, Italy. Please lend them your ear as they tell you their story “Tread Softly.”
All images copyright of the artist.