“It all goes back to childhood. I loved art. I really wanted to paint, but I was told I had no talent. I couldn’t do realistic stuff,” says Paula Joyce matter-of-factly.

But anyone that knows Joyce today might disagree. Her artwork – hand-painted silks – is starting to gain recognition, popping up in places such as the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art and drawing the attention of famous clothing designers such as Nicole Miller, who’s a fan of her work.

Joyce’s home in North Dallas is covered, wall-to-wall, with her brightly hued silk designs showcasing her Pollock-meets-Marley style of scattered brush strokes and fluid tie-dyed-like pigment variations.

Some of the pieces are framed; some of them incorporated into sculpture and some – scarves or shawls – serve a dual function as home décor and wardrobe pieces.

It’s hard to believe Joyce only started painting six years ago. She admits letting life get the best of her, pushing aside her artistic dreams to become a wife, mother and educator.

“I always felt a tug that I would get back to it,” she says.

And she did.

After her last job ended, Joyce began playing around with paints, and her daughter convinced her to do a show. From there, she began entering more shows and working with several merchants as well as the Museum of Modern Art’s gift shop to display and sell her work.

She also started leading seminars and workshops as a life coach to help people unleash their creativity.

“I came upon this as a teacher when I wore one of my pieces. I had someone say ‘I could never do that.’ But they really can. I believe if I can do it, anybody can. We are all born creative; it just gets blocked as we grow through the process of socialization. It may be unintentional – it’s just growing up. But as an adult we can open up to that creative process,” Joyce says. “It’s all tied together.”

Although most of her work is abstract, Joyce says stories and images often emerge once she has finished the painting. For example, she did a banner in black and white that she says illustrated the life of her grandfather.

“These stories and figures, they just seem to come from the subconscious,” she says as she points out different features in the paintings that she noticed were symbolic only after she had completed them.

Joyce’s next step is to begin work on a series of Jewish prayer shawls. She also is hunting for a gallery that will represent her.

But as far as she’s concerned, it’s not about the money she makes from her work. It’s about the joy she gets from doing the work itself. “I just love it. I get lost in it. I lose track of time, [of] myself, and I just wander in the beauty of creativity. I’m surprised when I’ve finished something and I look at what I’ve done,” she says. “And sometimes I can’t believe that I did that.”


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