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A work in progress

180 Hours of Painting

August 22, 1998

Every Saturday and Sunday morning, JoAnne Castor gets up early and travels to the home of a Moorestown interior designer where she’s painting a 300 square foot mural.  At some points, the mural is 15 feet high which requires JoAnne to do a lot of the painting on a twelve-foot scaffold ----balancing her paints and brushes while “holding on for dear life”. 

JoAnne has done commissioned portraits, figurative landscapes and large canvases, but this is her first mural.  The painting will go around the entire room. The four walls will depict landscapes that go from deep forest scenes to the banks of a mountain lake complete with a shepherd, sheep and cows. The composition is  influenced by the Hudson River School artists and the required research has taken her from the local libraries to the National Gallery in Washington, DC. 

JoAnne started the mural in August and since then, she’s put in over 180 hours of painting and has used about $300 worth of paints. She’s about halfway through the project and has promised to show us pictures of the completed mural (which should be sometime in the spring).

Mimi's Hat        24" x 18 " Oil on Linen

Collection of the artist

September 7, 1999


For years, Susanna Belk envisioned a room that would bring the natural picturesque beauty of the outdoors into the home.  As an interior designer, she had long pictured a room painted with bucolic scenes in the style of the Hudson River School.

With this vision in mind, Belk saw the work of a local artist, JoAnne Castelli-Castor.  Belk commissioned Castelli-Castor to undertake the project in the dining room of her modified cape house.  On Sunday, September 26, 1999, Belk will present the artist and unveil the 370 square foot composition at her home in Moorestown, New Jersey.

Artists of the Hudson River School were brought together by a deep love of nature in landscape.  Part of the Romantic period in the United States between 1825-1875, the most famous artists were masters like Winslow Homer, Fredric Church and Thomas Cole.

Looking at the Castelli-Castor work, you can see the influence of the Hudson River School.    This mural was inspired by the idyllic pastoral scenes of Asher Brown Durand, 1796-1886.  It places you in the landscape between two very different scenes.  The north wall of the room is a dense forest; a shepherd and his strays follow a shaded path that leads to mountains replete with a sunset sky.  The south wall is a sunlit landscape of a glassy lake, cows on the shore, and many other details that pull you into the work.

The artist is known for her portraiture work and a group of large-scale figurative landscapes on canvas she calls her "Emergence”series

Under construction


My husband Al and I worked as a team on many of my projects.


Al’s skills as a designer and builder supported me when I was knee-deep in a project.   

Whether it was constructing a scaffold or a critique on my latest painting, I depended on him more and more each day.

He was my pillar of strength.

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