Jo McGinnis is a West Hartford, CT based artist working primarily in Pastels.  

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

throughout New England and New York. 


As my career as an artist has unfolded, I have found that there are two

over-arching themes that I have consistently returned 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 am fascinated

by the shapes, lines, colors, patterns and endless variations that are presented.

Second, I enjoy providing viewers with an image that brings them close to the subject and encourages still deeper examination, for in this process new worlds constantly reveal themselves. Georgia O'Keeffe stated, "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 statement strikes a deep chord with the intent of my work. Most people feel that they know what a flower, shell or fish looks like but I want the viewer to experience the nuances of the subject through my work by presenting them with a closer look.

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 is the vibrancy yet subtlety of color that I'm able to achieve that makes pastels such a satisfying medium for the subjects that I enjoy.


A native of Ohio, Jo McGinnis has made her home in West Hartford

since relocating to Connecticut to accept a position as an art teacher in

the West Hartford Public Schools.

Her Master’s degree was completed at Kent State University in Ohio

where Jo 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, 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. Using torn and cut paper collage, ceramics, printmaking and soft pastels, she has created interpretations of various aspects of nature which have been displayed in numerous exhibits and shows.

Jo’s most recent work in soft pastel presents the viewer with an intimate look at natures many forms. With vibrant color, she brings to the viewer’s eye the exacting details of a petal, rock or piece of bark that are so often overlooked.

Jo lives with her husband in West Hartford and maintains a studio in her home.


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”




Pastel Society of America - Signature Member

Connecticut pastel Society - Signature Member

West Hartford Art League - Elected Artist

Allied Artists of America - Associate Member


Academic Artists of America