Joan Griswold

Joan Griswold was born in Oberlin, Ohio in 1954. As a teenager, she spent four years studying in Kyoto with her family and enrolled at Beloit College in Wisconsin after her return to the United States. She took a drawing class in her sophomore year and with the encouragement of her art teacher, went on to graduate with a double major in Classics and Studio Art. She spent two months at the Paris American Academy in Paris, France, and then headed to New York City.


In New York, she worked as a colorist in a print center, and then managed the Broadway Frame Shop and Gallery for four years, but it wasn’t until she moved to rural England with her husband that she had the time to devote to the mastery of her art. Here, she says, “I taught myself to paint.” After settling in the Berkshires, with a studio on Main Street, she began exhibiting her work.


Ms. Griswold is known today for her richly colored and textured domestic scenes, as well as exterior architectural works. Bathed in golden light by day, and inviting warmth at night, these pieces evoke comfort, security and a sense of connection to place, while venerating everyday objects, furnishings and dwellings. Though typically without human forms, her “portraits without people” appear lived in, fresh with the imprint of someone who has just left. Rumpled sheets, a well-worn piano, personal papers or an open book on a desk all suggest a personal presence and an intimacy between artist and subject, conveyed to the viewer by way of invitation into private spaces.


Griswold contrasts an underlying, structured, geometric composition with spontaneous, freely expressive brushstrokes. Her compositions explore abstract elements within realistic settings, resulting in a still and spare “quiet elegance,” or “shibui” which she attributes to her early years in Japan.


Ms. Griswold is represented by Graficas Gallery in Nantucket and the Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans, LA and has been featured in solo exhibitions in New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad.

Her award-winning work has been featured on cover illustrations for several magazines and acclaimed by many publications including the New York Times.  

She has served on the Boards of the Sheffield Land Trust, Sheffield Art League and the Sheffield Arts Council.

Joan Griswold's work can be viewed at


Joan Griswold
Green Shopfront
Oil on linen, 36" x 48," 1998