Santa Fe resident and still-life painter Joan Potter came to painting relatively late in life. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, artist graduated as a young woman from the Massachusetts College of Art in Brookline, Massachusetts. Potter planned a career, however, in fashion illustration and eventually worked as an airline stewardess, a newspaper copywriter and in retail before turning to painting. After living for many years in the Orient, in 1969 Potter determined to devote herself to painting. She returned to school, this time to the Art Students League in New York City, where she studied with Robert Phillip and David Leffel.
From the beginning of her painting career, Potter inclined strongly to still life painting and away from the abstract painting which was prevalent when she began to pursue the life of an artist. She explains that still life painting is exceptionally self-revelatory. The secret of still life painting, a technique which Potter maintains took her decades to master, lies in making an arrangement of objects which exhibits significance in the interrelationship of the arrangement's parts. Potter professes a deep indebtedness to the great Dutch still life painters of the 17th century. She explains that the contribution to her art and to fine art in general of these painters does not lie in their work as colorists but in their ability to handle one-directional, non-diffused light. Potter seeks to implement the techniques of the Dutch artists with the zeal of the devotee and the accomplishment of a modern master.
Joan Potter has lived in Santa Fe since 1984. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Knickerbocker Membership Award and the Claude Parsons Memorial Award.