More than 40 years ago in a small gallery in San Francisco, Joyce Ortner was briefly introduced to oil painting. Soon after, with her husband and three young children, they flew to Fairbanks, Alaska in their old 1947 "ragwing" Cessna 170, built a log cabin complete with a woodstove for heat, an outhouse, and no running water.

There she raised her children, a garden, sewed clothes, baked all their bread, and painted at the kitchen table with the small easel and paint set she got with the "green stamps" she saved. She entered her work in the Alaska State Fair and won first place and Alaska grand champion.

After leaving Alaska she relocated to Southern California and focused on seascape painting, taking lessons from California painters such as Hal Reed and painting with renowned seascape painter Loren Adams in Vancouver, B.C. For ten years she exhibited her work in the Santa Barbara Art Show selling seascapes wearing her roller skates, and enjoying the personal interaction of the many people from around the world who bought and loved her paintings.

Ortner shared the things she learned by teaching classes and workshops in community centers, Adult Education classes, university extension programs and art stores across the country and in Alaska. On a teaching trip to Alaska she met Bob Ross, who was so impressed with her seascapes that, after he began his extraordinarily successful TV shows on PBS, "THE JOY OF PAINTING", he invited Ortner to appear on his show as a guest artist. He set up several workshops so he and the people in his company could learn seascape painting. Bob Ross produced 6 one-hour videos with Joyce Ortner painting seascapes. The success of these videos in 24 countries around the world have made Ortner a popular and sought-after teacher.

If Ortner is not teaching classes and workshops in her charming Victorian farmhouse nestled in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, she is busy with her successful decorative arts business, Artistic Atmospheres. Her business clients both national and international include Warner Brothers Studios, Princess Cruise Line's corporate offices, and the flagship of the Shangri-la hotel chain, The Far Eastern Plaza in Taipei, Taiwan. Joyce Ortner's company Artistic Atmospheres was commissioned by Scott Johnson, of Johnson, Fain and Perrara, (Architects of the TransAmerica building in San Francisco), to create works in their firm offices in Beverly Hills and the private residence of Scott Johnson, which was featured in both Architectural Digest and on the HGTV program Extreme Homes. Her paintings have been sought out by both private and corporate collectors, such as the Northrup Corporation and Chanco as well as having works in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

Joyce Ortner is currently focusing on conducting more private and intimate weeklong intensive workshops where students stay in her Victorian farmhouse and paint with Joyce in her studio, or traveling and painting in some of the world's most beautiful places. These locations have included the breathtaking scenery of Hawaii, Mexico, and Tahiti. The most recent trip "An Artist's dream" painting in the south of France was every artist's dream. Joyce rented a beautiful old chateau in the heart of the Pyrenees Mountains, where the group dined by candlelight with roses from the chateau's gardens, had breakfast by the pool, took day trips to explore and paint. Painting under the Tuscan sun in an Italian villa may be the next adventure.

Giclee prints of her original paintings are now being produced so her work can reach a wider audience.