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Joy Richmond's Blue People Series Poses an Intriguing Question About Skin Color: "What if we were all blue?"

Updated: Jun 21

MLK (copyrighted image) acrylic -- part of Joy's "Blue People series." Scroll down to view more of Joy's paintings below...

While growing up, Joy recalls, her father entertained his young family by drawing recognizable cartoon characters from Popeye to Minnie Mouse. Her own art journey didn’t seriously begin until much later when she started painting in 2012 by consistently taking online lessons. Starting with watercolor she quickly migrated over to oils because she was attracted to its color vibrancy. However, she's also just as comfortable with acrylics.

Describing herself as a “tomboy” growing up, she always knew there was an artist deep inside her, but she had to go and develop it. During her short college career (because she opted for marriage instead) she was focused on studying interior design.

What she likes about art, she says, is that there’s always so much to learn about the subject. And, she attempts to find the time daily to devote to her painting.

“Personally, it’s a form of meditation for me,” Joy explains. “I become so focused that I can easily lose three hours of time. I’ll completely forget to stand up or even drink some water!”

Currently, she is focusing on a series of portraits she describes as her “Blue People Series”. Prompting this path was when her sister, a genealogy devotee, learned about the “blue people” in their family background. See the medical explanation below why people are born blue.

From the web…

Oxygen, or a lack of oxygen, is what turns the blood from red to blue in people with methemoglobinemia. A mutated gene causes their bodies to build up a rare form of hemoglobin called methemoglobin that can't bond with oxygen. If enough blood is "infected" with this faulty type of hemoglobin, it changes from red to an almost purple-ish dark blue.

When blood has a lower concentration of methemoglobin, individuals might only blush blue in cold weather, while people with higher concentrations of methemoglobin were bright blue from head to toe.

“It made me start seeing the world of people through blue-colored lenses,” Joy says. “If everyone were blue, there would be no more divisions or racism based on skin color. All ethnicities would simply be blue.”


Finding copyrighted images of famous people online or using friends or family, she began her blue portrait series which now numbers 18.

She not only enjoys painting portraits – blue or otherwise – but also florals.

She offers these words of wisdom for aspiring artists: “Just start. Check out the tutorials on Youtube. If you’re drawn to art, don’t be afraid—you can always fix something or start over.”

Joy accepts commissions and you can see more of her work on both Etsy and Instagram.

Instagram: Joys_art_gallery_1212

"The Clown's Prayer"; acrylic; Laurel & Hardy by Joy Richmond

"The Venerable Blue Ghandi"; acrylic by Joy Richmond.

"Love Birds"; oil by Joy Richmond.

Tulips; oil by Joy Richmond.

"Life--Symbolic Mother Earth" by Joy Richmond

Cameo; oil by Joy Richmond


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