Joyce McCarten has lived in Northern Virginia for all her adult life.  She was the

daughter of a military officer and attended 13 schools before graduating from

Pennsylvania State University.  She was born in Japan and lived in France as a child.  

Though her studio is in Falls Church, she has traveled the world in search of the colors,

surfaces and structures that satisfy her artistic eye.  Her earliest memory of a visual

influence was her visit to the tulip fields of Holland when she was at the age of seven.


In the 1980’s McCarten studied art at Northern Virginia Community College,

George Mason and the Corcoran School of Art and Design. Since that time, she has

painted and taught art classes in the U.S., Africa, China and Europe. Her paintings are

in both public and private collections and she is often commissioned to make an abstract painting for a specific site. McCarten is a recipient of a 2012 Strauss Fellowship Award from the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Virginia.


I have been an artist for nearly 40 years. I am inspired by the structure of the land and the rhythm of our bodies and the faces of whoever I see. My current work concerns the seasons of the year and the flowers that come at those different times.  I will return to figurative paintings in the near future. You can see my work at my website:   My studio in Falls Church, Va. and  is always open to visitors. 


Artist’s Statement – “My Friends in the Bible”


Over the years the stories of women in the Old and New Testament 

have inspired me, given me courage and showed me how to trust God in challenging situations.  Sometimes they seemed like my best friends.  As I re-read their stories, I began to think about the moments in their lives when they had to make a decision, take risks or embrace new things.  It was those moments that inspired me to make portraits of them.   


I chose to use collage and acrylic paint to make these paintings.  Putting a piece of decorative paper on a work in progress is like casting yourself into an unknown situation and then going along with it.  You set up a conversation that can be full of surprises.  Just as the lives of these women were full of surprises, I wanted my process and the paintings to be full of surprises, even for me.


I made these paintings in 2010.  Much in our culture has continued to change since that time.  There are surprises and many of them are not good.  Some are personal and others come to all of us at the same time, thanks to the internet and television. When I am overwhelmed, I look to the Holy Scriptures.  I think about the patriarchs, the women, the prophets, the Apostles and the people they led.  But most of all, I think about Jesus, the Son of God.  It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that gives me hope. 


-Joyce McCarten

Joyce McCarten: "My Friends in the Bible"