Joanne McLaren was a Business Process consultant with a leading consulting firm. With a degree in Decision Sciences & Computers, she helped clients around the world like Royal Caribbean improve their processes for payroll, time and labor, financial, and other areas. At one point, she managed 100 employees working in three countries. The job was constant travel.
After moving to rural Georgia with her husband Dan, she took a break from the intensity of her work to pursue personal interests including painting. It was the renewal of her passion for art led her away from the corporate world to her current life as an artist.
“I started painting pet portraits and participating in local art festivals,” she said. “The closest art center was in Atlanta a couple hours away, and I knew that being part of an art-centered community would help me develop my skills.”
Joanne and Dan moved to Venice in 2016 and it was love at first sight.
“Venice is the sweet spot between Sarasota and Naples with great restaurants, beaches, shopping, and parks. Our sunsets, water views, sky vistas, and palm trees are beautiful.”
A love for the outdoors led Joanne to pursue Plein Air painting. She’s a member of several art groups in the region that meet regularly to paint outdoors and share ideas.
“The comradery is fabulous, and we learn from each other,” said Joanne. “I also enjoy attending art workshops locally and I’ll be attending one in Greece in September.”
Joanne grew up in Princeton, New Jersey with dedicated teachers and creative parents. Her formal training in art begin when she was age 10 and continued in high school. She attended the Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick for a few years before switching to a business major leading to her career as a corporate consultant. Today, she creates abstract and contemporary paintings in acrylic, pastel and watercolors.
Joanne is using her experience to help Linda Best, the owner of the Venice Island Gallery & Gifts to set up an automated point of service system. She values her association with the gallery which showcases her art along with many other excellent artists in the area.
“I have paintings decorating homes in many other states thanks to Linda’s gallery and the popularity of Venice Island as a vacation destination.”
Joanne and Dan have been married 20 years. They have a daughter who is married, two grandchildren, a rescue dog, and a cat that’s been part of the family for 18 years.