Joy Thomas Murray Ledger Times Article
The MAG Community Art Center is honored to announce two Retrospective Exhibits at the MSU Wrather West Kentucky Museum and the MAG Gallery, in memory of local painter, Joy Thomas. The public is invited to attend both Opening Receptions on January 12th, from 5:00 to 8:00pm, which will feature music, light refreshments, and a talk by Fred Thomas.
Murray State University’s Wrather West Kentucky Museum will be featuring a collection of Joy’s formal portraits from across the state and five commissioned by MSU, including the Tim Miller and the late Sid Easley. This exhibit will run from January 12th through February 2nd. The public can view this exhibit during Wrather Museum hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm.
The MAG Gallery will feature a collection of drawings and paintings from family and friends of Joy. Joy was an instrumental figure in the weekly Life Drawing class at the MAG. Current members reminisce that she could “really set up the model,” and miss her instructional perspective she brought to the studio. The MAG Gallery exhibit will run through February 1st, and can be viewed during MAG open hours of Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 to 4:00, and Saturday 10:00 to 2:00.
Joy was a member of the Murray Art Guild, a Kentucky Colonel, and a honorary member of the Australian Portrait Society. Beginning as a fine arts major at Murray State University, Thomas continued her training at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Art in Connecticut, The Loveland Academy of Fine Arts in Colorado, and the Fechin Institute of New Mexico. Thomas also received merit scholarships from the Pastel Society of America and the Scottsdale Gallery Association to study at the Woodstock School of Art in New York and the Scottsdale Artist’s School in Arizona. Joy Thomas has served as guest artist/instructor for the Minnesota River School of Fine Arts, the Loveland Academy of Fine Arts in Colorado, the Dallas Association of Creative Artists, the St. Louis Artist’s Guild, the Cincinnati Art Club and the Australian Society of Portrait Artists in Sydney.
Joy Thomas has completed many portrait commissions for leaders of business, government, academia and finance. She painted the official portrait of the Secretary of the Navy, Richard Danzig. It was unveiled in 2001 and is in the permanent collection of the Pentagon. Her portrait of the Secretary of the Navy was featured on the front page of the Washington Post on October 21, 2009. Thomas traveled to New York City in 2004 to paint Robert Wood Johnson, philanthropist and owner of the New York Jets. Joy Thomas was selected to paint the official portrait of the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard; the painting was unveiled in Washington D.C. in 2006. In 2010 she completed two official portraits of Chief Federal Judge Thomas B. Russell, for the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse of Louisville and the Federal Courthouse of Paducah, both in Kentucky. In 2012, she unveiled the official portrait of Steven Beshear, the 61st Governor of Kentucky. In 2012 Thomas was awarded the contract to paint the official portrait of the U.S. Secretary Of Commerce, John Bryson, the completed painting is in the Herbert C. Hoover Building, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington D.C.
Joy Thomas was also the recipient of many awards and recognitions. She won the first place prize in the “The Best Paintings of 2000” competition, sponsored by The Artist’s Magazine; the winning painting was selected from among 13,800 entries. She received the 1996 First Place Prize for Portrait Painting from the American Society of Portrait Artists. In 1998, she traveled to Sydney, Australia to accept the Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Society of Portrait Artists. Her paintings have been selected for many juried shows, including the historic Salmagundi Club and the National Arts Club of New York City where she has garnered numerous awards. Her career has been featured in American Artist magazine (Nov. 1996), The Artist’s Magazine (April 1997), International Artist magazine (January 1999), and in the following books; The Best of Portrait Painting, Portrait Highlights, and Low Country Plantations Today. She is the author of The Art of Portrait Drawing, published in 2006; and has been the featured artist of numerous instructional DVDs.
Joy was born on January 9, 1958 and passed away on Monday, October 1, 2018. She lived and worked in Murray, KY with her husband, master frame maker, Fredrick Thomas. Fred designs and creates museum quality frames, specializing in gold and silver leafing. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.
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