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 Jo McGinnis is a Sarasota, FL based artist working primarily in Pastels.  

 Her award-winning work has been exhibited in regional, national and international

 shows hosted throughout the United States. 


As my career as an artist has unfolded, I've found that there are two themes that

I consistently return to for inspiration and exploration. First is the use of nature

as my subject matter, particularly the plants, water forms and the small creatures

that inhabit the environment. I'm fascinated by their shapes, colors and patterns

and the endless variations that are presented. Second, I enjoy providing viewers

with an image that brings them close to the subject and encourages deeper

examination, for in this process new worlds constantly reveal themselves. I love

this statement by Georgia O'Keeffe:  "When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for a moment. I want to give that world to someone else." This strikes a deep chord with the intent of my work. Most people assume that they know what a flower, shell or leaf looks like but I want the viewer to experience the nuances of the subject through my work by presenting them with an image that compels them to look closer.

Soft pastels provide the immediacy of working directly with saturated pigment, allowing me to explore stroke and mark as well as layered and blended color in a very tactile manner. It's the vibrancy yet subtlety of color that pastels provide that make them such a satisfying medium for the subjects that I enjoy.


A native of Ohio, Jo McGinnis relocated to Connecticut to pursue a career  as an

Art Educator. With an undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio, Jo

completed her Master’s degree at Kent State University where she presented her

first one woman show, featuring works in fiber.  Using quilt, trapunto and reverse

appliqué techniques as well as embroidered and beaded surface enrichment, Jo

created soft sculpture and dimensional wall hangings based on underwater

plant and fish forms.

As an Art Educator of nearly four decades, Jo has loved sharing the joys of creating

with thousands of students and has been honored several times for her innovation

in and dedication to children’s art education.  She was selected as the Connecticut Art Education Association’s Elementary Art Teacher of the Year in 2006.

With an ongoing interest in nature, Jo has explored a variety of media to present her ideas through out her career.  Using paper collage, ceramics, printmaking and soft pastels, she has created interpretations of various aspects of the natural world.  Her most recent work in soft pastel presents the viewer with an intimate look at many of the smaller elements of the shore, woodland and garden.  Using vibrant color and exacting detail, she focuses the viewer’s eye on these small "gems" that are so often overlooked.

Jo and her husband have recently relocated to Sarasota, FL where she is enthusiastically exploring and painting the natural beauty of the coastline and Gulf.  She maintains a studio in her home and her award winning work has been displayed in regional, national and international exhibits.


Pastel Society of Tampa Bay: Possibilities in Pastel XIV - Annual Juried Exhibition - 2020

Certificate of Merit: Richeson Pastel Award - "Sea Foam - Captured 2"


Connecticut Pastel Society: 33rd Annual Members Show - 2019

Great American Art Works Award - " Sea Foam - Captured"


Academic Artists Association 67th Annual National Exhibition - 2017

Jack Richeson Award - "Flowing through the Cracks"


Salmagundi Club of New York 38th Annual Juried Painting & Sculpture Exhibition for Non-Members 2016

George Inness, Jr. Memorial Award for Pastel - "Tidal Trace II"

West Hartford Art League: Members Juried Exhibition - 2015

Dick Blick Art Materials Award - "Through the Cracks"

Academic Artists Association 65th Annual National Exhibition - 2015

Honorable Mention - "In Ben's Garden"

Allied Artists of America: 2014 Exhibit
The Allied Artists of America Award for Pastel - "Surrounded"

Connecticut Pastel Society: 28th Annual Members Show - 2014
Dick Blick Art Materials Award - "In the Pink"

Academic Artists Association 64th Annual National Exhibition - 2014
Rosabla Carreira Pastel Award - "Bumper Crop"

West Hartford Art League: Members Juried Exhibit - 2013
Nancy Fritsche Award - “Lilies and Narcissus”

Academic Artists Association 63rd Annual National Exhibition - 2013
Pastel Honor Award - “Surrounded”


Connecticut Pastel Society: 27th Annual Members Show - 2013
CPS Honorable Mention Award - “Morning Rocks”

Renaissance in Pastel 2012: Connecticut Pastel Society -19th Annual National Exhibition
Art Spirit Foundation Diane B. Bernhard Award - “Surrounded”




Academic Artists of America

Allied Artists of America - Associate Member

Connecticut Pastel Society - Signature Member


Pastel Society of America - Signature Member

Pastel Society of Tampa Bay


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