World of joy

Joy McCarter's house is full of joy, not just her smile and forceful personality but the artwork she's created over more than 80 years.

There aren't enough walls to hang everything she has made. She started drawing as a child and pursued a passion for art, illustrating her high school yearbooks with drawings of people

and activities.

McCarter was born in Granite Falls, grew up in Port Gamble and moved to Sequim in 1955.

"I always wanted to come to Sequim so I did some research and got to know the area," she said.

McCarter had a real estate license when she moved to Sequim but found it hard to make a living because the farmers in the area did not want to divide their farms into parcels to sell. She moved several times with her three children before returning to Sequim to open her own agency, Sunland Realty.

At one point, she had four offices.

"I had 36 salespeople working for me, but that didn't last long. We couldn't make a living."

Still, McCarter said, she knew Sequim some day would grow because of its views and mild climate. She is not surprised at how the once small town

has grown.

At first, 14 members

hile she was working, McCarter still wanted to draw and paint. In 1969, she and her friend Mary Bartlett advertised for people who were interested in starting an art club. Fourteen people attended that first meeting, the beginning of Sequim Arts. It began exhibiting members' work at businesses.

Members focused on supporting and encouraging each other and on teaching or learning new techniques. The club grew into today's 149-person organization that sponsors a variety of art shows, operates the art barn at the Clallam County Fair and offers two annual $1,000 scholarships for art students.

The club still encourages and supports members and most months has someone demonstrate an art form.

McCarter likes to experiment with new techniques. Her latest is solar art. She uses a large commercial cooking sheet with sides. She puts thick paper on the bottom and adds a variety of objects.

Under the sea

For instance, she has several she said represent looking up from the bottom of the sea. She places shells and a fishing net over the paper. Next, she covers the paper with about 1/8 inch of water.

She drops ink through the water to add color. After that she leaves the tray in the sun until the water evaporates.

After removing the objects from the paper, she has a picture of the sea looking up from underwater through a fisherman's net, seen in the picture above.

McCarter has worked with oils, acrylics, collage and ink. She also has designed jewelry and sculpted. She has taught several painting classes and still has a student every week.

And she's still adding joy to her home.

Reach Dana Casey at

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