Monday, 6 January 2014

Artists Interview With Janice Allen Our January Exhibition

Welcome back and Happy New Year to you all the gallery is open again with a new coffee stop and snack addition and we have our first exhibition of the year installed, the fabulous Janice Allen we met up over mince pies to interview her and find out what inspires her amazing textural landscapes......

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Janice Allen. I am an artist and maker. From 5’ painted canvasses, painted fused glass panels to small glass and silver jewellery pendants and earrings.   All have a common theme, which is texture. 

 Why do you do what you do?
Two reasons spring to mind.  The first being I have a demanding and responsible job during the week that keeps me technically challenged but creatively unfulfilled.  Secondly I wanted to do something that was just about me.  I was always some ones sister, friend, daughter or wife and never Janice.  Painting is very much about ME and I get a real sense of fulfillment and achievement when I paint and it allows me to express myself.

 How do you work?
If I am honest I am a little messy in all my disciplines but also extremely aware of any dangers when dealing with glass, heat and flames.  My paintings however are less dangerous! I paint flat but when I need the inks to flow into the textures I move the canvas around so the inks flow as desired or at there will. The surrounding surfaces and I end up covered in paint as it drips from the edge of the canvas.  Its great fun.  I am very lucky to have my own workshop at the bottom of the garden and I can leave everything out and just close the door behind me.


What work do you most enjoying doing?  
Experimenting with new products to see what it can bring to my work.  I have some interactive paint to play around with, once dried you can spray an unlocking agent and re work an area.  Looking forward to having some fun over the coming weeks.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
My first visit to Canada in 2003 seeing American art, totem poles colours and their designs.  Once home I designed a canvas and used fabric paint to fill in the spaces.  It wasn’t until 2006 I actually picked up a pallet knife and painted a picture for our home and here we are today. 

Why art?
I have already mentioned that I needed something in my life that was just about me but it is more than this, having art in my life has open up a different side of my personality and given me self belief.  Like everyone, life is busy but painting has to be part of my life.  For 2 years I have focused on glass fusing and silver jewellery design but I have picked up my brushes and knives once again and created ‘On the Top’ a series of work based on a picture of the same name I painted back in 2007.  I’ve loved painting again and can’t see me stopping anytime soon; I just have to find a balance.  I guess I need to get better at juggling! 

What do you like about your work? 
Unpredictability with the ink flow in my paintings and how the glass powders melt whilst being fused in the kiln. I never really know what the end result will be which I find exciting as well as a challenge at the same time.  Nothing is a disappointment to me as acrylics can be reworked, the underneath providing additional texture and any fired glass can be broken down and reused.


What research to you do?
Everyday is a research day to me as I can see a view whilst driving or a group of trees whilst on a walk and these could form an idea for a painting.  Everywhere you look there are textures and colours that will influence you in someway without you even knowing it at the time.


Favourite or most inspirational place?
I love textures and land formations and see potential in everything I see and touch.   I am lucky to live in Derbyshire but I also travel a lot so I’m never short of inspiration.  I have fond memories of a trip in 2008 where the Colorado River meets the Green river.  On returning home I painted the picture called ‘Composure’, I look at it each day and it makes me smile. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The sooner you realise that not everyone is going to like what you do you can feel free to be as creative as you desire to be.  A great piece of advice that I have passed on many times over.

Thank You Janice!

The galleries opening hours for winter are 10 -4pm.

Next Saturday the 11th is a one day only SALE of some of our best artists and designers so get yourself along to grab an arty bargain 10 - 4pm!