Artist's Statement 2007
Artist and the Pikas
MacKenzie is a self-taught artist whose love for shy pikas and bold
colors forced her to learn to paint. Animals have fascinated her
since childhood when she'd line up her stuffed friends at the top
of the bed and then snuggle around them to find room to sleep.
Since the first
time she was surprised by a pika in the Wind River Range of Wyoming,
she has been fascinated with them. She and dear friend Paul talked
about Pika Pete during a great backpacking trip in the Canadian
Rockies. For many years, Joan, husband Howard and Paul hiked in
the mountains out west every summer. Howard and Paul were mainly
interested in rock climbing and reaching the tops of the peaks.
Joan looked forward to patiently pika watching on the way to the
tops of the peaks.
The bold colors
were picked up in the west, too. Joan is drawn to bright colors
wherever she finds them. No dull greens and somber browns for her
unless there is sadness to talk about. Oranges, reds, purples and
turquoise do the trick.
Now there is
a bit of a problem here. Pikas live in rock piles that look pretty
dreary to the untrained eye. So Joan has had to exaggerate the colors
in the pikas' world in order to satisfy her color passion. The world
of Joan's pikas is partly real and partly a figment of her colorful
Joan created Pika Works
She loves pikas
and the places where they live. Pikas are small, cute, hardy, hearty,
working, determined, brave and persistent.
She would like
to spread the word about pikas and the beautiful places where they
live in hopes that more people will appreciate and preserve them.
believes keeping in touch with friends is very important. People sometimes
need help to do this.
Wrap these reasons
together with some colorful paint and there you have it.
Joan names the animals.
think that animals should not be given human names, mannerisms and senses
of humor. However, Joan has never met an animal that she didn't have the
urge to name. Pika Works may not be for everyone. Scientists and purists
may wish to concentrate on the real animals in the Pika
Joan care about anything but pikas?
does. She loves to look for moose in the woods by her home. She's crazy
about cats. She admires the magnificent animals of the jungle and savannah. She loves just about any animal especially the more weird
and unusual ones. Strange birds, wild colored fish and exotic flowers
all catch her eye. She'll share them with you, too, over time. You have
to start somewhere. She started with pikas.
thing is for sure. Pikas are real.
Hike high in the mountains out west and see for yourself!
It is 2020 now and Joan has gone way beyond pikas.
Elephants, giraffes, zebras, iquanas, quetzals and polar bears have come into the picture. But pikas are still in her heart and she hopes that one day she will take the perfect pika picture.