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Halloween Art and Travel

Aug 13, 2023

Joanna Barnum’s world is one where her brush creates the macabre, bringing to life Halloween iconography, emotions, and fantasy using hauntingly beautiful watercolors. Joanna was initially skeptical of watercolor, but fell in love with its chaotic and expressive qualities during art school. She was also influenced by Stephen Gammel’s illustrations in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”  

Watercolor’s unpredictable nature has taught Joanna how to balance control and chaos. She likens watercolor to dancing – there's a plan, but she needs to leave room for the organic side of it. While some think that watercolors are only soft and pale, Joanna shows us how they can be vivid and bright.  

Joanna loves to paint haunted houses. While some collectors see references to books and movies when they look at them, for her, it’s a reflection of her love for old decaying buildings. Her art often represents layers of history, sometimes including past injustices. As she travels, she takes pictures of old houses to serve as inspiration for future works.  

Joanna lives in Harford County, MD, with her husband Mike and dog Zephyr. She encourages listeners to go all in on whatever brings them joy, and reminds artists that they don't need permission to create what they want. Make your weirdo heart happy. 

Travel Recommendations from Joanna: 

Visit Joanna’s web site at:  You’ll see a wonderful gallery of her work and visit the Events section to see all her upcoming shows, including Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween and Dragon Con.