Janice, tell us about your art style.
I have a rather oriental/Asian approach to painting that comes from a process defined by simple, loose but controlled composition and colour. The ‘how’ of what I’m doing disappears after a long ‘looking’ process. Mark making comes through a reactive painting style to the environment I’m in at the time. Over the winter, I produced a series of very minimalist Zen like paintings with few lines or colour creating deconstructed landscapes in what I called my “Haiku Series.”
Looking, examining, focusing are the training that I have gleaned from ‘en plein air’ painting and that training has spilled over into my everyday life. My style is somewhat impressionistic /expressionistic and can verge on the abstract. I do not use photos and work almost exclusive with watercolour. Use of ink, charcoal and ‘other’ stuff that may be lying around where I’m painting can happen. Wherever my travels take me, I’m looking and painting.
What are your thoughts on creating art?
I paint almost every day. With commitment comes understanding of how to develop your own process and identity. If you commit to start, then 20 years of serious painting goes by and you will realize a better understanding of what you are doing and where you are headed!
What inspired you to become an artist?
I’ve always painted. Growing up, my parents encouraged this even as I painted murals on their walls; they supported most of my creative adventures. Art classes in high school, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, University of Manitoba and lots of encouraging art mentors/teachers helped foster my art. As a military spouse, I led a nomadic lifestyle for many years and with this dance, painting helped define my feelings and outlook on life.
What influences affected your art?
When I first moved to Vancouver Island, Arrowsmith FCA chapter was my introduction into the world of the Federation of Canadian Artists and I remember not knowing anyone. At the very first meeting, Helene McIntosh, took me under her wing and greeted me as an old friend. As it turned out, we are both from Quebec and have been friends since our first meeting. Then, there was Disa Hale. I invited her to view my work at a show I was having where she could jury my work for ‘active’ status. I always remember her hiking up a very steep driveway to get to the show being held at a beautiful new home of a friend in Nanaimo. I’d never met Disa and she came in breathless from the hike, unable to even say hello. I thought she was just being ‘cranky’ and thought I was done for! But she took a good look at all the walls covered with some good and a lot of not so good painting and had me sign on the dotted line. She was a warm and wonderful person and I do miss her since her passing a couple of years ago.
Moments with the people in the FCA organization can help motivate us to move forward in our artistic adventures. We all go at different speeds and the timing in our lives sometimes dictates how dedicated we become as artists. I believe we do what we do at our own life pace.
Can you describe for us what an ideal studio space would be for you?
As a committed ‘en plein air’ painter, my ideal studio is the outdoor space around me. I believe in the immediacy of connection to what I’m seeing…”my eyes, my heart, my hand on brush to paper.”
Beaches, forests and shorelines in BC, on ferries, cars, areas in Montreal, mountains in Southern France, even a boat on the Yangtze River, in China, have been my studio spaces… wherever I am, I am most likely painting. I also do have an indoor home studio and during the last weekend in May people come in for the Hammond Bay Studio Tour in Nanaimo. My home is a gallery/studio and is open to the public with an email or call.
What advice can you give for our emerging and aspiring artists?
To paraphrase, “Paint like no one is watching.”… This has to be the biggest piece of advice that I could give anyone. Don’t worry about people seeing what you are doing…at least you are doing. You can’t call yourself a painter unless you are painting!
The hesitation of putting your first mark on paper is often the lack of confidence in yourself. Just do it! If you make a masterpiece, great, if you don’t, who cares…at least you tried and probably learned something. Paint, paint and paint some more. It’s the only way to see how far you’ve come.
Not everyone will appreciate your painting or style; some may even think it is horrible! Who cares…life is too short to worry about that sort of reaction and each person sees things differently from the other…that’s a good thing…too many “Likes” can be bad for the ego and growth. Albeit, sometimes it hurts when we don’t get into a show or our painting is negatively critiqued…but we learn. Keep painting!
Do you have future artistic goals?
I hope to see myself as a recognized artist on my own terms and involved in more international exhibitions. Experimental art is in the future although more deconstruction of my work might bring me back to a white canvas. Ha!
Paint to be happy!
Thanks everyone for your interest.