Listening to Greenport painter Terrence Joyce describe his work you hear his passion for art, life, and spirituality.
He has recently completed a mural in the chapel atand a mermaid mural above the bar at in Greenport. He has done research on mermaid folklore, which fits his spiritual philosophy – several paintings in his gallery reflect this spiritual muse.
He describes his painting style as “loose brush strokes’” and he offers a wide variety of figurative and fantasy work based on his religious, metaphysical and philosophical beliefs. Many of Joyce’s paintings feature women, colorful birds, flowers and angels or angel-like creatures, all holding spiritual significance. Describing a painting with morning glories, he drew upon parallels to life:
“Imagine how beautiful life can be, but it’s short,” he said.
His oil and acrylic paintings also reflect the beauty of the North Fork. Some of his work combines metaphysical elements with local vistas, such as centaurs walking through an East Marion landscape.
“I am very inspired by the beauty out here. The light is just like the south of France,” Joyce said.
Growing up in a Queens home with seven children in his Irish Catholic family, Joyce attended high school in Ohio at Sons of the Sacred Heart of Verona Seminary. It was at the seminary that he had the opportunity to do Italian-style fresco painting and really started to love art.
“I loved it and came back home and started painting,” Joyce said.
Joyce really began painting in the 1960s when scientists were just starting to research DNA. This led him to many questions about life and genetics that he brought out in his painting. He studied under Frank Mason at the Art Students League in New York in the early 1970s. For the next 35 years he was a professional muralist, and painted in public buildings and private homes.
In the early 1980s, he visited the North Fork and fell in love with the local landscapes. He has lived on the North Fork for the last eight years and opened his gallery in Greenport four years ago.
Joyce says he paints and meditates almost daily. He studied for more than 20 years with Indian spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, who urged him to help make a difference with his work.
He is a perfectionist. Sometimes he will just pick up a brush and start painting, while other times he will have an image in his mind for weeks before he commits it to canvas. Joyce often will continue to work on a painting until it leaves his gallery.
Sharing art and watching people’s reactions in his gallery is a highlight for Joyce. He supports other artists in the community and holds classes at his studio during the fall and winter.
“I believe very much that the planet needs art, music, dance and poetry,” Joyce said.