Bell uses light to transform landscapes


Courtesy image “Morning Walk” is part of an exhibit at Kendal at Oberlin featuring the works of Joan Stiles Bell.


Oil paintings of Oberlin people and English and Italian landscapes are among artist Joan Stiles Bell’s 30 works on display through Jan. 30 at Kendal at Oberlin.

Bell uses color in her acrylic and oil landscapes to describe light and shadow, transforming everyday subjects.

“My choice of subject matter can be very broad but is linked by qualities of light and color. It is always the influence of light on the subject and the challenges posed, to capture those fleeting effects that compels me to paint it,” she said.

Bell studied at Oberlin College, where she earned a bachelor of arts in studio art and art history in 1974. She also studied at East Carolina University, the Corcoran School of Art, and the Penland School of Crafts.

In 1976, she moved to Palo Alto, Calif., and married Michael Bell, an Oberlin classmate. They moved to the North Carolina mountains in 1980 and two years later opened the Greenhouse Crafts Shop in Glendale Springs. Their two children are fifth generation Oberlin College graduates. Kristen Bell Travis, Class of 2001 is a conservation biologist and Peter Bell, Class of 2004, is a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Kendal Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Courtesy image “Morning Walk” is part of an exhibit at Kendal at Oberlin featuring the works of Joan Stiles Bell.

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Courtesy image “Morning Walk” is part of an exhibit at Kendal at Oberlin featuring the works of Joan Stiles Bell.