Joy Postle

Katherine Joy Postle was born on January 20th, 1896 in Chicago to Oliver Hambleton Postle and Mary M. Brown. Joy, as she was known, earned a scholarship to attend the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied both music and art. After graduation, Postle moved to rural Idaho becoming certified to teach music and art. When she opened a studio in Boise, Idaho and was receiving attention as an interior decorator and artist, a local journalist named Robert Blackstone came to interview her. She married him a year later on Dec. 6, 1928, and he became her manager.

After their marriage, the couple travelled through western America in a home-made trailer that they called the "Brownie House". As they explored the country, Postle practiced her art, undertook commissions, and collected inspiration for future work. They arrived in Florida 1934 and continued their nomadic life, camping, hiking and bird watching; these explorations gave Postle the opportunity of closely studying nature and refining her craft. In 1937, Postle was involved in the WPA Art Project. Three years later, Blackstone conceived the idea for their "Glamour Birds" act in which bird song, recorded by Blackstone, and music accompanied Postle as she painted birds and educated her audience. Postle believed that "a painting must have movement. It's a dance performed with a brush and pigment on a stage of canvas. It should be spontaneous and joyous". Postle published several books: Glamour Birds of the Americas, Drawing Birds, Drawing Animals and Fine Feathers. She is probably most famous for the murals that she painted in both commercial premises and private houses. Her murals adorned walls in Texas, North Carolina and Florida.

Postle and Blackstone eventually settled in Florida purchasing a house on Lake Rose in 1942. A fire at the house in 1968 killed Blackstone and badly injured Postle. After extensive surgery over several years, she resumed her performances and exhibitions. She continued taking commissions for pet portraits, exhibiting her work, and selling paintings well into old age. In 1984, Postle broke her hip and moved into West Orange Manor Nursing Home; nevertheless she continued painting. Joy Postle died on June 1st, 1989 and her ashes were spread at her home at Lake Rose in Florida.

updated 05 September 2006

Joy Postle