About the Artist

Janet Rayner

Artist's Statement:

Through my art I seek and strive for refinement in myself and in my life.

I am an artist and a writer.

I grew up in the small town of Deep River, Connecticut, with four brothers and three sisters. I owe a great deal to my family for their support, critiques, and strangely enough, even to their doubts about my career choices.

People say, "Being an artist sounds like a fun job."

I admit art is a wonderful and rewarding occupation that I'm passionate about, but it is also work. I think that's why a finished piece is called artwork. For me, painting, drawing, and sculpting is 90% brow furrowing perseverance and 10% headphones on, dancing around in my tiny Airstream trailer-studio celebrating my successes. Striving to find the character in a face or figure while working on defining its planes and structure, is a significant challenge, but it’s so very rewarding in the end.

Commissions in pastels, oils, and pencil have been ongoing throughout my career, with a heavy focus on portraiture. I believe that a portrait should be more than a technical exercise. The nature of the subject must shine through. Collaborating with clients to realize their vision for the piece is part of the process.

With both painting and writing, I still feel the same exhilaration that I did when I started on my artistic path as a teenager, and it is truly a gift. I take time for creativity whenever I can. It comes naturally to me, and when I draw, paint, or write, I reclaim a piece of my spirit.

I am self-taught, which means the only road maps I carry into the studio are the ones I've created over the years for myself. These maps have been drawn from a lifetime of experiences, from observing the world's details, from having a family, and from dreaming my wild and vivid dreams.

I am intuition driven. My more imaginative work shows this. I've worked from dreams and flashes of inspiration that have come to me just walking through the world. I stop and render these ideas on scraps of paper, or whatever is available, to capture them before they fade, and in time, some of them become paintings, and others become stories.

In 2014, after spending forty years in Pennsylvania and Northern California, I moved back to the Connecticut River Valley to be closer to my parents. And now, due to the pandemic, I find myself living in my childhood home, helping them stay safe in these unprecedented times.

Before the pandemic I taught art private lessons, group classes and when I lived in California I taught grant funded art programs in the local schools. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of teaching someone to draw what they see. It's rewarding for me to see my students observing the world differently; through trained eyes, and then using that new perception to express themselves through art!

Over the past 32 years, the one thing that I've taken with me wherever I've lived, is my studio, in the form of a 1956 Airstream Flying Cloud trailer. I've had it since my son was a toddler, and I needed a place outside of the house to safely paint with oils.

It's a tiny workspace, barely larger than a sheet of plywood, and navigating around a piece of artwork in progress is like doing Tai Chi, but it's been a haven for my creativity for almost half a lifetime now.

Parked in my parent's driveway, I can retreat to the trailer and paint or draw whenever the spirit moves me. My most recent pastel painting is a portrait of my niece, Meadow, and her mom's horse Sinatra. It's the result of a photo session where I took hundreds of photographs, combining aspects of three of them to compose the piece. I love showing the connection between the two of them, with their blond manes blowing and swirling in the wind.

Creativity is what is keeping me on an even keel right now, helping me navigate these incredibly stressful times.

So, to the world, I say, "Be creative, if you possibly can, simply create. Pick flowers and make arrangements, garden, write, scribble, learn to draw, pick up a brush and paint something, even if it's just the walls of a room. Take whatever time you can to make your world a better place. And stay safe."

About the Art

Janet Rayner’s art has been exhibited in galleries and group shows across the United States and is in collections worldwide.

"Janet Rayner's work is stunning. Her impeccable detail, composition and color are matched by an element of mystery which invites the viewer to participate in the meaning of her powerful imagery." Suzanne Picetti, Gallery Owner, Blue Sky Art Gallery
Watch the video of my interview with Kristie Kaminski from Valley Shore Community TV.


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