"When I grow up, I want to be an artist." Lots of kids say that, but I didn't just say it, I did it. There hasn't been a day that went by since then that I am not creating in some way or another.
This whole art thing started out with drawing. I was very young; about six-years-old. If there was a blank space on a piece of paper, I drew on it. I drew on the back of used office papers and leftover wallpaper. I drew constantly. Drew instead of doing my homework, made paper dolls for the Archie characters that I drew as paper dolls (still have those), drew a portrait of my little brother, drew a portrait of my big sister and her Farrah Fawcett hairdo (still have those too), drew my horses while sitting out in the field; studying their every move. We had a horse ranch when I was a kid and my life was all about the animals and drawing. We didn't just have horses, but also cows, goats, pigs, chickens, a dog and a cat. So maybe it was more of a farm than a ranch. Horses and drawing was my whole life at that time. Often times I entertained myself by sitting in the field studying and drawing our horses. I was fascinated with them. I saw them as regal, glorious creatures and still do.
I am very thankful for those years of practice. It has made drawing second nature for me.
In my college years, I moved from graphite drawing to pastel drawing and took several years of figure drawing and portrait drawing. I couldn’t get enough or learn enough. I loved drawing people (I still have many of those studies).
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I decided to try painting and I chose watercolor. Watercolor wasn't tamable like graphite and pastel was. It has a mind of its own. Always up for a challenge, I liked having a media to tame. I learned very quickly how unpredictable watercolor is and decided that since I couldn’t tame it, I would let it do its thing, but direct it to go where I wanted it to go too. What it also did was begin my transition from realism to impressionism. It had always been a desire of mine to capture emotion through color and the movement of the paint. I still feel that my work leans towards realism so I dubbed my style as Impressionistic Realism. Although, I can still create photo real works of art and still do on occasion, I prefer to lean the artwork towards the looser rendering of the real and leave a little for the viewer's imagination.
After a couple of years of doing solely watercolor paintings, I decided to try mixing the mediums; to incorporate my drawing skills somehow. First, I tried adding India ink and loved the results. Later, I tried pastels over watercolor and loved the results of that too. Then I decided to try mixing all three. Why not, right? That produced even better results. Not too long ago, I discovered how to mix acrylic and watercolor and sometimes do watercolor on canvas with an acrylic background. After trying that for a while, I wanted to try oil paints, because I found out about water mixable oils. No turpentine, non-toxic, and soap and water clean-up. It was a no brainer; I had to try it.
My photography started when I needed to find subjects to paint from and I wanted to work from my own photographs. I practiced a lot by photographing my children as they grew up. It’s no surprise that I found photography enjoyable too. I discovered that many of the images stood on their own merit and that I seemed to be attracted to naturally abstract or impressionistic subjects. That is how I discovered raw abstract photography. I am fascinated with rusted things and the patina that nature gives everyday objects creating ‘rusty gold’ that look like paintings. I don’t process the photos to look like paintings. I find them with my camera and with my artistic eye. Painted by nature; captured by Jani.
Occasionally, I dabble in other artsy type things too. Murals and stage backdrops; portraits of people or animals for any commissions I receive; personalized clocks, with hand painted numbers and lettering, (painted to look weathered) per commission; hand-painted floor cloths, also when commissioned; created pillows from re-purposed fabrics that have a by-gone era (40's, 50's, and 60's) dressy look to them; and when I feel especially festive, I create snowmen from driftwood that I call ‘Drifters’ and tube sock snowmen that I call ‘Hobos’ and take them to local stores to sell. The Drifters and Hobos are each a one of a kind piece and have a lot of personality. All my creations have their own fine art appeal.
I am enjoying painting and drawing my series of horses. ‘Painted By The Wind’ was the one that started the series. It was originally an urban landscape. A bird’s-eye-view of a four way street corner in Seattle that didn’t turn out well; so, I painted the white horse over the top of it. It was the most fun I’ve ever had painting. Maybe because it didn’t matter if I screwed up as it was going over paper that I was ready to throw away. I had so much fun.that I decided to paint horses over the two other ruined street scene paintings..(yes, I attempted that darned street scene three times before I finally got it the way I wanted it).
All three of those horses show remnants of the street scene underpainting. Painted By The Wind went on win the top award at an equine show and graced a cover of a horse racing magazine. It will also be in a watercolor book called, Splash 15, Creative Solutions.
I regularly play…I mean…work (it really is work) in all the medias I’ve learned. I’m always open to learn new media. Someday I’d like to learn sculptor work. Preferable, I’d like to do welding with rusty recycled materials, but I’m open to all type of sculpture work. Another interest is creating art pieces with Encaustics. I have an idea in my head that I’d like to try. And so the art adventure continues. Who knows where it will take me next.
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