A more colorful life: Pathology specialist enjoys painting, drawing

This oil painting, “Chinese Tea Set,” by Joyce Yue Qi, was used on the brochure for CNY Arts’ “On My Own Time” exhibition of works by employees of local businesses and organizations.


After a day working with an electron microscope in Upstate’s pathology department, Joyce Yue Qi might pick up an artist’s paintbrush or a pastel crayon and create a picture.

Qi has won awards for her work each of the three times she entered CNY Arts’ “On My Own Time” exhibition, which displays works by employees of local businesses and organizations at the Everson Museum of Art.

Qi often uses an electron microscope as part of her job in Upstate’s pathology department.

In 2015, her oil painting “Chinese Tea Set” was used for the exhibit’s reception brochure.

Qi’s interest in art as a hobby began about five years ago, when a co-worker, now retired, encouraged her to attend some sessions with her art group. Qi, 58, found that she liked painting, drawing and sketching as well as being able to learn from experienced artists.

“I like oil the best because as a beginner, I need to make lots of corrections on each piece, so if you did it wrong, you can put another layer on top of it,” she says with a smile. For the same reason, she likes sketching, where she can erase anything she doesn’t like.

Qi, who grew up in Beijing, uses Joyce as a first name because it’s easy for Americans to pronounce and because her Chinese name means “joy.” She was an ophthalmologist before coming to the United States in 1992 to do eye research in the laboratory of the late Barbara Streeten, MD. Qi’s current job as a technical support specialist finds her doing mostly pathology related to kidney diagnoses. Her husband, Hengsheng Fang, is a researcher in Upstate’s medicine department.

She creates many of her works from photographs she took, such as one of herself canoeing near Old Forge with her younger son, Alan, 21, a student at Clarkson University. Another work shows her older son, Kun, 28, a biological researcher in Massachusetts, holding a chunk of ice in Alaska.

“I think I surprised myself,” she says of her pastime, because she never thought she would be able to paint, and she finds the creative aspect satisfying. She estimates she spends three to five hours a week painting or drawing at home or in painting classes.

“You will never find other things you may enjoy in your life unless you spend some time and energy to give them a try,” she says. “Some hobbies will make your life more colorful and enjoyable.”

This article appears in the spring 2017 issue of Upstate Health magazine.


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