Wednesday, January 16, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 45

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on April 11th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 6 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 6

Jo-Neal Boic brings influences from Yosemite and Italy to her watercolors on display at Gallery Los Olivos


It's a promising sunny Friday morning as Jo-Neal Boic takes her dog Dea for a swim in Morro Bay. The 14-year-old Labrador retriever, a beloved companion of the painter, is in need of a hydrotherapy session for her aging joints, and today is the perfect day.

Jo-Neal Boic, a retired school teacher, sets her sights on the landscape of Central Coast destinations like Cambria for her dreamy works of art.

The sea waters and panoramic view of Morro Bay are a fitting backdrop for Boic to tell her story. For years, she's studied and mastered the art of watercolors, creating vibrant depictions of landscapes from the Central Coast to Europe.

Boic's work is currently on display at Gallery Los Olivos, where she shares the spotlight with Sheila Underwood, an impressionist who specializes in silk paintings, and Patricia Watkins, a painter and jewelry designer who is a 10-year veteran member of Gallery Los Olivos.

Boic was a performance artist for most of her life; she majored in dance and minored in theater studies and didn't begin to seriously study painting until she turned 40. She said she had always fostered a desire to paint in watercolor but never found the right opportunity to learn it.

She spent most of her adult life in Capitola, teaching high school for 25 years. On a wine tasting tour, she happened to stop into Gallery Los Olivos, famous for hosting the work of community artists.

Jo-Neal Boic’s watercolor paintings show her affinity for the natural world. While she spent many years focusing on florals, Boic is also experimenting more with landscape paintings and other subjects.

"I thought it was such a very nice gallery," she said. "When [I moved down here] I applied to be in. It's a wonderful group of people and is the nicest gallery I've ever been in."

Boic's work is inspired by her lifelong love of nature. She said that in the beginning of her painting career, she sought to be a photorealist, but quickly lost interest in it.

"I started to lean more toward drama and color," she said. "Georgia O'Keefe was one of my very first influences, as was Gustav Klint. These days I lean more toward John Singer Sargent."

In the last few years, she has embraced plein air painting, which encourages artists to leave behind the studio, and she spent a week last year teaching for the Yosemite Conservancy. The organization works to help preserve the national park and hosts art workshops.

"It was amazing," Boic said. "Mostly we get beginners. I give them instruction on color theory and color mixing and tried to teach them about technique. I can absolutely relate because it was more than 30 years ago when I took these classes at Yosemite. It's my favorite place in the world."

Her loyal dog whose name means "goddess" in Italian, is such an important part of Boic's life, she rarely travels without her. In fact, the pair have even ventured as far as Italy together.

Jo-Neal Boic shows her watercolor paintings of florals and landscapes at Gallery Los Olivos along with artists Sheila Underwood and Patricia Watkins. The show runs through April 30.  

As part of her education and to better her knowledge of art, Boic lived in Florence, soaking in the deep well of culture, art, and history, memorizing every important work of art in the famed city. Boic studied fresco and oil painting and restoration as well as serigraphy, a form of silk screening.

"I painted all the time," she said. "I studied at the Lorenzo De Medici School of Art for the better part of a year. I know Florence like the back of my own hand. I walked those streets a lot."

As for future travels, it depends on Dea, her trusty companion. The artist said traveling without her dog—no matter how beautiful the landscape—isn't all that appealing.

"I don't want to leave her behind," Boic said. "I just couldn't bear it.

Check out the show
Jo-Neil Boic, Sheila Underwood, and Patricia Watkins are all artists featured at Gallery Los Olivos through April 30. The gallery is located at 2920 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. More info: (805) 688-7517 or

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose always loves a sweet water-soaked Lab. Contact her at

Jo-Neal Boic has taught at the Yosemite Conservancy, an organization that offers art workshops in Yosemite National Park. She is one of three featured artists at Gallery Los Olivos in April.

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