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Conversations with the Inspiring Joan Fullerton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joan Fullerton.

Joan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As a shy kid in rural Wyoming, I discovered I could escape into timelessness when drawing and painting. How fascinating when I discovered I could communicate without words!

I studied art in high school and after graduation, I attended Temple Buell (Colorado Woman’s College) in Denver as an Art Ed major. When I married in the early ’70s and had three children, my formal education took a hiatus. I painted with older artists one day a week, taught private art lessons, community education classes and did substitute teaching.

Later, as a single parent, I completed BFA and MFA degrees in painting from the University of Wyoming and soon landed a full-time Art Instructor position at Laramie County Community College.

It was a dream job, sharing my art skills and ideas and it filled me with enthusiasm for over 13 years. When it became time to re-invent myself… I moved to Taos, NM to paint. The glorious mountain and a population of creative people stimulated my artistic freedom. It boosted my self-confidence to be embraced by an admired community of artists.

In 2010, I moved to the Denver area to be closer to family and to pursue my dream of traveling and teaching art workshops. My playful instructional methods caught on, and after initial workshops in North Carolina, Florida, and Colorado, teaching opportunities expanded to include many more states, several cities in Canada and across the ocean to Tuscany.

When my online presence grew, I had requests from artists in other countries for online classes. Taking a financial risk, I hired a local video production company, Blueprint Productions, and created an online course which has expanded my teaching worldwide.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
All my dreams have come true! I wanted to be a mother, an artist, and a teacher. It hasn’t been easy, but staying the course eventually brought success. Being able to do what I love and make it work, is incredible.

When I divorced in the late 80’s it wasn’t even possible to get a credit card in my name. I had no credit rating, little money, and two young daughters to care for. While finishing my degrees, money was an issue…but not as much as my broken heart and our fractured family. I persevered, I nurtured my passion for art and found gratitude in little things. I read inspirational materials. I kept going.

Hard work and a positive attitude attracted incredible opportunities: a major exhibition in Japan and getting hired at the Community College in Cheyenne, WY. (My children and I had an all-expenses-paid adventure in Japan, and with predictable income and health insurance provided by the college, I experienced huge relief.)

I’ve started over many times. I’ve learned to rely on myself, to not settle for the easiest path, but rather to have faith and follow my passion. While often scared… it did it anyway!

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
As an intuitive painter, I paint without a specific destination in mind. I let the random effects of painting and drawing provoke ideas and I dialogue with emerging images. Painting this way is both more pleasurable and more difficult than painting representationally; it is a challenge that continues to intrigue, surprise, frustrate, perplex, and delight me.

When teaching, I articulate my thoughts while I’m painting. Goofy techniques and my irreverent personality result in a lighthearted atmosphere. Creativity thrives when we play! (Joan Fullerton workshops are not for uptight grumpy people.)

Soulful, contemplative paintings come from a devotion to bringing forth something new, and my classes are presented to uplift and encourage the creative lives of others. Both avenues of self-expression are done with the intention of providing something valuable. It is this very attitude that has returned great abundance to me.

I am proud of my tenacity. My years of dedicated teaching, painting, and marketing have made my career possible.

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
A few books which have influenced my thinking:
A Whole New Mind, Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World, Pink Daniel
A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Tolle, Eckhart
Art and Fear, Bayles, David, and Orland, Ted
Art and Soul, Flack, Audrey
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Gilbert, Elizabeth
Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits, Rutenberg, Brian
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Edwards, Betty
Fishing for Elephants, Moore, Larry
Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art, Nachmanovitch, Steven
I Shock Myself, The Autobiography of Beatrice Wood
No More Secondhand Art, London, Peter
The Artist’s Way, Cameron, Julia
The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, Hendricks, Gay
The Courage to Create, May, Rollo
The Desire Map, A Guide to Creating Goal with Soul, LaPorte, Danielle
The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown Brene’
The War of Art, Pressfield, Steven
Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go, McNiff, Shaun
Where Does Art Come From, Kluba, William


  • DVD/Download of My Crazy Painting Techniques $49.95
  • Ms. Bossy Pants Card Deck of Painting Prompts $25.00
  • “Paint Yourself Free” online art workshop 2020 $475.00

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Deb Witte, Blueprint Productions, Joan Fullerton

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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