While cleaning out her mother-in-law’s house, Jacquelyn Pillsbury came upon a surprising discovery of more than 600 pieces of art created by her husband’s mother, Joyce Enoch Pillsbury.
Joyce, who passed away two years ago at the age of 88, held the extremity of her talent from her family a secret.
A secret that was not discovered until they began to move Joyce into an assisted living facility in 2017.
“We always knew she was an artist, but we did not know just how prolific the amount of paintings there were. After getting rid of some I was left with 600 pictures I had photographed and then I created a book,” Pillsbury said.
The book was created on Shutterfly, an online image-publishing service and is titled, “Artwork by Joyce E. Pillsbury.” Pillsbury has started sharing the book with just family, for now.
Recently, Pillsbury has gone to the Ewing Historical Society, Joyce’s town of residence, and pitched the idea of a talk on her mother-in-law. Eventually, the conversation led to an opportunity to speak at the Mercer County Library.
Pillsbury will be presenting at the Mercer County Library – Hopewell Branch on Feb. 27. Her talk will begin at 6:30 p.m.
“This presentation is going to be of scanned copies of the book. I consider it her memoir told through her artwork,” Pillsbury said.
Joyce’s artwork consisted of mostly watercolor paintings of local scenes, buildings and other scenes that peaked her interest.
“She never thought she was good. [She had] the typical artist mentality: no one will like the work. I just want people to see it,” she said. “When she was alive we did a little art show at her nursing home. I just wanted to honor her memory.”
Joyce was very interested in other pieces of art that included watercolors.
“She spent a lot of time on it and she developed her talent. She was quick with her paintings and that is why she had such a prolific amount stored. With watercolors you have to work a little faster than some other paintings like ones with oils,” Pillsbury said.
She will be presenting again in March at the Benjamin Temple House on 27 Federal City Rd. in Ewing.
For more information about this month’s presentation contact the Mercer County Library-Hopewell Branch at www.mcl.org or 609-737-2610.