Janet Gilliland, San Diego, California
I was born an artist, as I’m sure many can identify with. I remember my first art lesson was in kindergarten, I was drawing a tree and she told me how the trunks don’t go straight in the ground, that the roots curve slightly out! I was in heaven with colorbooks and crayons. The 64 color box with a sharpener was my dream. I took every art class offered in school and loved every one. My “science” projects always involved illustrating something. I wanted to be an architect very early on, then I discovered how much math was required!
Finances, and lack of knowing how to get into college precluded my dream of art school. So..... I married young and had two kids, who were models for me, although unwillingly and unwittingly! During their early years I mainly worked in pen and ink because of its portability and economy of supplies.
I got into oil painting through a gift of a dozen tubes of paint, an easel, and a box! I painted many portraits after taking a class in adult education, but I didn’t like the clean up and the smell, so I switched to acrylics. I talked my best friend into taking a tole painting class in acrylics. We had fun, and became teachers ourselves. I still work in acrylics, mostly on dimensional items, boxes, etc.
I learned that a high school friend was teaching watercolor through the adult ed program in town and signed up. He required that we paint in class, after he did a demo. I was shy of painting in front of people, so I dropped out. I played with watercolors for a few years after that. Finally,several years later, I gathered up the courage to sign up for the watercolor class again. This time, his requirement was a new painting each week. He would critique the paintings, and then do a demo. I liked that, his encouragement, and other students encouragement, gave me the confidence to join the San Diego Watercolor Society, where I earned signature status in 4 years.
I currently exhibit my work at the SDWS gallery in Liberty Station in San Diego and at the Bronze Silver and Gold Gallery in Cambria, CA. My work has been in Splash, the Best of Watercolor, Garden Compass Magazine, and a finalist in The Artists magazine competition.
I got into the BSG gallery from a small photo album of my work I carried in my purse. My husband and I were in the gallery and he mentioned that I was an artist. She asked if I had anything to show her, so I was able to show her my album and she agreed on the spot to show my work. That was about 15 years ago.
The artist that had the most effect on me, as a young person, was Norman Rockwell. I was always first to the mailbox to get the Saturday Evening Post. My favorite genre to work in is realism. I admire some abstracts a lot, but I can’t seem to get that right! Steve Hanks is one of my favorites now.
Watercolor is a magic medium, (sometimes black magic) as it does it’s own thing, you can learn to control it, but it still rears up and bites once in awhile! One of the best things I’ve learned is, the only rules there are, are the ones that work for you. You can always go darker, but while it is more difficult to go lighter, it is still possible! Lots of painting is the only way to learn what works for you! And above all, have fun doing it!