Joy Keown was born and raised on a Missouri farm where she learned to love the outdoors. Beginning with pencil drawings as a child, her love for nature expressed as art unfolded. Studying a variety of media, she received her K-12 art teaching endorsement. She took her first watercolor class in 1986, and continues to enjoy the versatility of this medium. In addition to solo exhibitions, her work has been shown in many juried exhibitions and won numerous awards.
She graduated from Emporia State University in Kansas with a BS and MS in biology, and taught biology for fourteen years. She worked as a Park Ranger-Naturalist in Yellowstone for many summers, giving her the opportunity to study nature intimately firsthand. She was also able to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for the natural world with many park visitors.
In 2013, Joy was selected for an Artist in Residency in Rocky Mountain National Park, where she studied the work of early landscape painters including Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, and Birger Sandzen. Her work is found in many public collections including Rocky Mountain National Park, Pipe Springs National Monument, and the State of Wyoming.
Joy visited the Serengeti of Tanzania, Africa in 2009. Her wildlife paintings inspired by this visit have been exhibited at several galleries and arts centers. In 2017 her “Magic of Africa” show was exhibited at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming. Her love for the natural world has led her to make conservation the focus of her work, which has included watercolor paintings, children’s books, and conservation stamps.