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Joanne Short Artist - Cornwall in Colour, An Artistic Journey

  • 8 min read

Joanne Short Artist - Cornwall in Colour, An Artistic Journey

Above: Cornwall based artist Joanne Short working on a garden painting

Joanne Short is a Cornish artist who has been painting since she was a child. She fell in love with the colours and landscapes of Cornwall, and they have continued to inspire her throughout her career. Joanne's paintings are full of life and magic; it is easy to see how much she enjoys creating them. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at Joanne's art and explore the inspiration behind it. 

Artist Joanne Short painting St Ives

 Above: Artist Joanne Short working on a painting of St Ives in her studio

Joanne Short has been painting for 30 years and in that time her work has evolved and matured into something truly unique.

School and Art College

Despite not studying art at school until 6th form, Joanne's natural talent for the subject shone through when she decided to do an O-Level in her spare time. She found herself spending more and more time in the art block and was encouraged by her teacher and fellow students, including John Dyer, to apply for a place at Falmouth School of Art to do a foundation course. There, she was able to develop her skills under the guidance of expert fine art tutors, and started to experiment with different styles and techniques. The projects she worked on during her time at college helped to shape the artist she is today.

Fine Art Degree in Italy

In 1988 at the age of 21, Joanne was lucky enough to get a place to study art in Italy. The coursework was very broad, covering topics such as fine art painting, printmaking, sculpture, art history, restoration, design, and photography. Joanne quickly found herself immersed in the world of fellow artists, working in her studio for hours on end. She often found herself pushing the boundaries of her studies - trying new styles and mediums on projects that she was passionate about. The exposure to such a wealth of knowledge at such a young age had a profound effect on her development as an artist. Joanne soon found her own style of artwork emerging from the chaos of experimentation, and she's been honing it ever since.

 Joanne Short Working on a project for her degree course in Fumone, Italy, 1991

Above: Joanne Short Working on a project for her degree course in Fumone, Italy, 1991

When Joanne was accepted onto the course, she had no idea that it would be so life-changing. Not only did she develop her skills as an artist, but she also had the opportunity to meet fellow artists from all over the world. The course was a crucible for creativity, and Joanne quickly found herself immersed in a world of art and beauty. She soon realized that this was what she wanted to do with her life, and she has never looked back. She took part in several group and solo shows in Italy during this time.

Return to Cornwall and the South West

Joanne Short had always been drawn to the South West of England, and after a few years of living in Italy, she decided to make the move back home. She initially experimented with printmaking and found herself drawn to the images and nature-based scenes that were so prevalent in this part of the country. However, she soon began to experiment with conceptual art, prints and poetry, and it was through these mediums that she really began to find her voice. After a few years of honing her craft, she had her first solo show in the Open Space Gallery at Cornwall College, curated by artist and tutor Michael O'Donnell, where Joanne was teaching drawing and printmaking at the time. 

Exhibition at Cornwall College of work by artist Joanne Short

Above: Exhibition at Cornwall College of work by artist Joanne Short

 Wooden construction by artist Joanne Short

Above: Wooden construction by artist Joanne Short

After initially selling her work commercially in the form of lino prints, her preferred medium soon became oil paint on canvas, and she began to explore themes of light and colour inspired by the Cornish landscape, in her work. In many ways, her journey back to the South West finally allowed her to find herself creatively. She has been living and working in the region ever since and has become a colourist and post-impressionist painter.

Lino Print by artist Joanne Short 

Above: Lino Print by artist Joanne Short

Before breaking away and becoming an artist in her own right, Joanne spent several years teaching at Falmouth College of Art in Falmouth.

A family of Cornish Artists

Joanne Short and fellow Cornish painter John Dyer had known one another since primary school. In secondary school, they had always been close friends, but it wasn't until they both found themselves back in Falmouth after studying for their degrees, that they realised that they were destined to be together! In 1997 they were married and in 1999 on the day of the eclipse, their first daughter Martha-Lilly Dyer was born.

Above: Excitement under the Stars, Solar Eclipse, Cornwall. Signed Print by John Dyer

They have worked together and exhibited, side by side, ever since. Their paintings are a diary of their lives together and have evolved over time to sit happily together. Many of their works are collected by the same people and their paintings can be found in many private collections. They can often be seen sitting on the coast, painting the landscape together. The painting below is by John's father, Ted Dyer, and is of Joanne and John. 


Above: 'Sea Pinks and Painters. Falmouth', 20x24 inches oil on canvas by Ted Dyer, £3,950

 "Being an artist, Cornwall has always been the perfect place to live. Not only is there an engrained history of art in both the St Ives school and Newlyn School, but a plethora of beautiful coves, beaches and stunning coast to paint."

Joanne Short

Joanne exhibits regularly alongside both her husband John Dyer and father-in-law Ted Dyer, who is also a very well-known and extremely accomplished artist.

Artists Joanne Short and John Dyer at Ted Dyer's Exhibition, 1997

Above: Artists Joanne Short and John Dyer at Ted Dyer's Exhibition, 1997

Painting abroad

After their wedding, Joanne and John took their honeymoon in Nice and Provence where they have been drawn to ever since. For many years they have revisited France and Italy and have painted there many times. Over the years they have had several exhibitions showcasing this work and frequently new pieces are added to their collection of paintings and prints.

Photograph of Joanne Short painting in Provence 

Above; Photograph of Joanne Short painting in Provence, 1998

Above: Original Painting by Joanne Short. Evening Light across the Valley, Rasteau. Provence, France


 Joanne Short and John Dyer, exhibition of their paintings of Provence, Cork Street, 1999

Above: Joanne Short and John Dyer, exhibition of their paintings of Provence, Cork Street, 1999

A couple of trips to Tuscany and Umbria inspired Joanne and John enough to put together a whole exhibition, alongside Ted Dyer, which was exhibited in Cork Street in London. This exhibition was extremely popular and was virtually a sell-out.

Above: Una Villa in Toscana. A Villa in Tuscany, Italy. Original Painting by Joanne Short, £1,395

"For me, it is not only the colours in both Tuscany and the South of France but the patterns on the hillside created by the fields of produce and lines of trees and plants. It is also a treat to be able to sit outside and paint 'en plein air' knowing that the paint will dry and you won't get rained on!"

Joanne Short

 John Dyer, Martha-Lilly and Wilamena painting in Italy

Above: John Dyer and his daughters Martha-Lilly and Wilamena painting in Sienna, Italy

"As the children grew up the whole family would sit to draw and paint - many an hour would be spent just enjoying the view and creating beautiful drawings and paintings."

Joanne Short


Above: The Warmth of Autumn in the Menton Hills, France. Original Painting by Joanne Short

In 2007 they moved to Menton on the French Riviera, with their family. By this time their second daughter Wilamena had arrived. They lived in Menton for three years, painting and drawing, developing their colourful style of painting and enjoying the French culture. Joanne painted at the Giardini Hanbury in Italy and the Clos du Peyronnet Garden in Menton, France.

Above: Original Still Life Painting by Joanne Short. Yellow Sunflowers and Blue Tablecloth. Provence, France


In 2012 they took a family break to Paris after which Joanne created a body of work based around this beautiful cityscape.

"What a stunning city Paris is. We spent time walking around, drinking in the atmosphere and watching the people. The architecture is stunning and I couldn't wait to get back home and paint all those beautiful things."

Joanne Short


Above: French Print of the Eiffel Tower, Paris. Vintage Style Interior Poster Art Print by Joanne Short



Above: Vintage Style Travel Art Poster Print by Joanne Short. The British Museum, London
The British Museum is one of the world's most famous tourist destinations, and each year, millions of people visit to see its vast collection of artifacts. In 2017 the museum commissioned Joanne to do a calendar featuring a series of vintage-style travel posters depicting some of London's most iconic landmarks. Among the buildings featured in the calendar were the Royal Albert Hall, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, and Covent Garden.


Photograph of Joanne Short with her calendar and her product range at the British museum

Above: Joanne Short outside the British Museum with her calendar and the product range in their shop

The calendar was a huge success, and it wasn't long before Ravensburger released a puzzle based on the same theme. The 1000-piece puzzle features all of the same buildings as the calendar and is sure to be a hit with anyone who loves solving challenges.


In the meantime, Joanne and John have had a series of cards produced depicting both Cornwall and London. There is also a broad range of vintage style posters available at the John Dyer Gallery, of Cornwall, Somerset and London.

The range of cards published by 'Heart of the Garden" publishers of cards by Joanne Short and John Dyer 

Above: Range of cards by Joanne and John by publishers 'Heart of the Garden'

St Ives and Newlyn

West Cornwall has a long and rich history of art and culture. The region has produced many famous Cornish artists, including painters, sculptors, and potters. A colony of artists settled in the area in the 1850's, including Stanhope Forbes, Walter Langley, Lamorna Birch and Norman Garstin. They became known as the Newlyn School of artists. To this day Newlyn has a Society of artists who showcase the work of local artists. Joanne Short is a member of this and has shown her work at the Newlyn Art Gallery on several occasions.

Joanne Short pictured in the Newlyn Art Gallery exhibiting her 'Work in Progress' exhibit with Martha-Lilly Dyer

Above: Joanne Short pictured in the Newlyn Art Gallery exhibiting her 'Work in Progress' exhibit with Martha-Lilly Dyer

Post World War II another group of artists settled in Cornwall, this time in St Ives, including Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Sven Berlin, who in turn inspired another group of younger artists who made St Ives their home. These include painters Patrick Heron, John Wells, Peter Lanyon, Dennis Mitchell and potter Bernard Leach.

Photograph of Joanne Short painting, overlooking St Ives 

Above: Photograph of Joanne Short painting, overlooking St Ives

Today, Cornwall is home to a number of galleries and museums that showcase the work of these artists. Acrylics, oils, sculptures, watercolours, and prints are just some of the mediums featured in these exhibitions. These can be seen in non-commercial Cornwall galleries such as The Tate St Ives, The Barbara Hepworth Gallery, Penlee Gallery in Penzance and The Falmouth Art Gallery. Both Joanne Short and John Dyer have their work in the permanent collection at the Falmouth Art Gallery.


Above: 'View from the Garden, Falmouth'. Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist Joanne Short. King Charles Church, Falmouth. Original painting in the permanent collection at The Falmouth Art Gallery


The landscapes and seascapes of Cornwall have always been a major source of inspiration for many artists. The region's dramatic coastlines and rugged scenery have been captured in countless paintings, photographs, and sculptures. Cornwall's art scene is truly unique and is definitely worth exploring.

 Joanne Short painting in Tresco Abbey Gardens

Above: Joanne Short painting in Tresco Abbey Gardens

Joanne Short is a Cornish artist who is inspired by the ever changing colours and landscapes in her home county of Cornwall. She has been painting for over 30 years and her work can be seen in many private collections. If you are ever in Cornwall, be sure to check out some of her work by contacting The John Dyer Gallery - you will not be disappointed. Her paintings, prints and posters are available to buy online.

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