Perched atop a hilltop, the city of Monsaraz in the Alentejo region of Portugal is a picturesque village that dates back to medieval times, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The fortified village is enclosed by sturdy walls, providing a glimpse into the past and offering visitors a chance to wander through narrow, winding streets lined with charming whitewashed houses adorned with colorful flowers. Here lies the captivating world of artist Joana Inês- Soares. At the age of 42, Joana shares her dynamic home with her three daughters - Madalena, Violeta and Olivia - as well as their loyal canine companion, Miro.
Joana’s home oozes with creativity. Within the walls of their home, Joana has seamlessly melded the realms of personal expression, comfort and creativity, transforming it into a warm space that serves as both art studio and family home.
Joana's voyage as an artist began after completing a degree in architecture, something that she is still passionate about today. Before graduating, Joana had explored various artistic mediums such as ceramics, jewelry and graphic design, honing her skills and broadening her artistic repertoire. These early explorations laid the foundation for her artistic journey and set the stage for the unique fusion of creativity and passion that defines Joana's work today. Following her years immersed in the architectural realm, she embraced a new path, dedicating herself wholeheartedly to the realm of freehand drawing, illustration and painting. For the past decade, she has been living and working as an artist from her home in Monsaraz. “I really love to work from home,” Joana shares, “It’s one of the spaces that inspires me the most. It’s a place where I can combine all my passions, even if it can be a bit chaotic at times. That’s what happens when you share the space with three young children!” But Joana doesn’t mind a bit of chaos – in fact, it reminds her of her own childhood, where the first seeds of creativity were sown: “My parents were musicians, so I grew up in an artistic environment. I’ve always been passionate about the arts and their power to take us out of our everyday routines and transport us someplace new.”
“The art I make easily intersects with my home and family”
When asked about her artistic inspiration, Joana points to her daughters and the simple joys of life: “I give a lot of importance to the details that surround me. They are part of my well-being and harmony. A simple coffee break can give me muchneeded inspiration.”
“The art I make easily intersects with my home and family,” Joana tells us, and indeed, much of her art is on display throughout their home, transforming it into an immersive gallery space as well. “We live and use all the corners of the house,” Joana notes, “but I think that the living room is something special. There is room for my daughters to play and for us to all spend time together.”
“We have a little kitchen area and a long dining table that doubles
as a desk and workspace. Then there’s the beautiful pool that sits in
the shade of an olive tree where we can cool off during the intense
heat that is felt in this specific part of Alentejo.”
Joana and her family have very much embraced indoor-outdoor living, with a breathtaking outdoor space that adds an additional layer of beauty to their lives. This enchanting space serves as an extension of their creative sanctuary, a place where the family can enjoy the beauty of the town and nature that surrounds them, as well as another spot where Joana can work on her art. “We’ve worked on the outdoor space of the house so that we can really live out here as well – day and night,” Joana explains, “We have a little kitchen area and a long dining table that doubles as a desk and workspace. Then there’s the beautiful pool that sits in the shade of an olive tree where we can cool off during the intense heat that is felt in this specific part of Alentejo.”
Whether it’s a serene morning coffee on the patio or an afternoon spent chasing laughter and joy in the garden, this outdoor oasis complements Joana’s artistic spirit and offers a respite from the demands of daily life.
In the brushstrokes of Joana’s artwork, the laughter of her daughters and the warm embrace of their home, we witness the harmonious interplay between artistry and the notion of home: “To me, home is where we are surrounded by things that reveal parts of ourselves who we are and that make us feel good.”