About Janine

painter, artist, tarot reader, serious student of astrology,

Storms

Some years ago I began collecting images of storms and riots. I remember at the time I knew that the world was at a turning point and that we were entering an intense decade or two of transformation. My view at the time was informed by dreams and my deepening study of divinatory symbols systems. The images of storms and riots were archetypal expressions of energy that was rising and I wasn’t interested in the details of particular events. I was fascinated by how powerfully they embodied the interplay of the elements earth air, fire and water that I was studying in both languages Tarot and Astrology. More on this soon.

The first two paintings with these themes in mind are these. What Lies Beyond the Storms and Path.

What Lies Beyond the Storms 2013 oil on canvas 26 x 42″
Path 2014-19 oil on canvas 24 x 48″

At the time I was fascinated to realize the archetypal world manifest literally in the material world. I had been studying astrology and Tarot for over 5 years at that point, a project I began in order to understand the workings of my own psyche. In the skies was Uranus and Pluto square, a tense dynamic between the rebellious uncontainable impulse for liberation and revolution and the deep impulse for power and transmutation. It was an exciting and troubling time. I first used the storm imagery to speak about the coming challenges, dark and chaotic on the horizon with an understanding that they weren’t ever to be vast enough to block out the light completely and that there would always be la way through and light on the other side.

It was a simple starting point. Because I wasn’t interested in any particular event it was obvious to me to construct the images so they would be obviously false, more a narrative drama than anything that could be mistaken for an observed moment “in” nature. I had been playing with mirroring images- you can read how I ended up using this idea here– and I can see it began in these two first storm paintings.

This year I picked up the thread of storms I began back then. They are only one part of a larger symbolic landscape theme that is growing in meaning for me.

Before I describe anything more I want to say a bit about the form of my artwork. Since my early years I have focused on drawing and painting. I love the European and western tradition of oil painting and I have never been pulled outside of paper, canvas-now linen- oil paint, drawing pigments. I have just recently began to try linen rather than the canvas I have always used and it will be a permanent change. My technique with paint uses a variety of layers of glazing, scumbling, shallow impasto and staining that is a beautifully satisfying experience on the linen compared with the canvas. The beauty of the process of oil painting, the sensation of the textures and colour, the slow (for me) moving meditation of it is both spiritual practice and compulsion.

My studies in the symbolic languages have done what I meant them to many years ago and that is to make some sense of my inner world and let me understand how I experience the “outer world” and beyond. That is a very large subject but for the purposes of talking about these images one part is important. Both Tarot and Astrology have as an integral part of them the elements- earth, air, fire and water. On one level they are self explanatory as elements of the material world around us, and they have symbolic meaning as well. It is this symbolic meaning that is an important part of the content here.

All through the process of making these my contemplation is on the interplay of elements in their symbolic meaning. Air speaks about mental activity, thoughts, ideas, communication. Fire is the spark behind action and speaks about drive, initiation, passion and forward motion. Water is the emotional experience, depth, sensual and creative. Earth is the material and solid, that which we can feel by its weight and texture. Further air has the characteristics of being hot and wet; fire of being hot and dry; earth of being cold and dry; water of being cold and wet. Dryness, wetness, heat and cold all also have symbolic meaning. The fifth element I use is the fifth of light which is spirit.

In a very simple way of understanding heavy cloud is heavy emotion, mixed with thought-water vapour. Hot and cold mix to create the funnel-power maybe chaos and destruction. The earth is stable underneath, too strong for the water and air to do much damage. Light illuminating space and stillness beyond. When I am painting it is these dynamics I think about, correlate them to my own day, my inner world or larger world events. Although I described here a simple level of prompts it is a rich contemplative experience that I expect shows itself in the artwork- yet another path of discussion I could go down in the future.

Over There 2021 oil on linen 12 x 24″
detail
This Way 2021 oil on linen 12 x 24″

This has been a longer post than I expected and so I will write again soon, there is more to the conversation.

Thank you so much for reading.

-janine

2021

It has been a very long time since I updated this area of the blog showing you what is in progress on the easel. I have had projects, drawings and paintings on there but did not take the time to write about them. Weren’t writing years I guess.

For the past while, I have been focused on storm images. I am very attracted to them for reasons I’ll be sorting out over the next few weeks and for the moment I’ll say they are an expression of freedom and beauty.

Right after the pandemic settled in I was, like many of us, asked to stay home from my day job at the art gallery and had time and space to work on something new in the studio. It was a complicated time emotionally. I was deeply relieved to suddenly have loads of creative time, which in my regular life is not available in loads, but the cause of the time and space was overwhelming. The storm images and ideas I had been collecting for years had the energy of the moment and so were the first thing I turned my attention to and I began to draw…

These are charcoal and contè on rag and small, about 11 x 14″.

In the months since the pandemic I have had to turn my attention to some other projects and return to work at the gallery but this focus on storms is still developing and I have begun some small scale oil paintings on linen. The two shown here are 12 x 24″.

Below are some photos of the early stages, drawing with charcoal a simple contour, then the first layer of oil straight from the tube. You can see the grid that helps me organize the composition from my references, which come from old public domain photos from the weather service in the states.

The next stage will be to begin using glazes and painting into layers of medium once this underpainting is dry in a few days.

Thank you for reading and more next week…

2021

Time is passing so quickly.

Last year flew by without one post from me here. Adapting to the pandemic ate up my focus for most of the year along with the commotion south of the border. But I was working in the studio tying up loose ends and getting ready for changes I am intending to make this year.

I post more often on Instagram than this blog so many of you may keep up with my studio activity there.

I was drawing this year and will post some of what happened in the on the easel page. Here, though, is the portrait drawing I have completed recently. It was done from some photographs I took a couple of years ago at my local area of Fish Creek park. It is 22 x 28″ and is done with graphite, charcoal and conte on paper.

2021 has me dividing my time between working at my brother’s art gallery, continuing my study astrological studies (I have begun the formal program at The Faculty of Astrological Studies in the UK) , and my studio practice.

I will be updating this blog more regularly this year as I have many thoughts and work to share so please check back or sign up for an email notice when I publish more.

more soon,

janine