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One can learn much about an artist by simply viewing her work. A review of Janet Rundquist’s abstract paintings reveal a great deal about the artist’s love of the outdoors, as well as the emotional and spiritual impact that nature has upon her.
Janet Rundquist walks through the woods each day to her warehouse studio in Evergreen, Colorado. There, she abstractly paints beyond the details of what one sees in nature - she focuses on the complete experience of being in the natural world.... Sounds of the birds, insects and wind through the trees or grass; the paradoxical feelings of vulnerability and awe when alone in a forest, desert, or canyon; feeling the warmth of the sun and the chill of the air, the exhilaration of speed and fear of bodily harm while careening down a hill on skis or bike... These are the emotional, sensory, and transcendental experiences the artist brings back to her studio, challenging her to to express them through oil paint and cold wax.
Janet grew up on the prairies, hills and mountains of Wyoming. As a child, she collected many animals, large and small; raced horses, go-carts and motorcycles; ski and bike raced. She loved staying outside in spring blizzards as long as possible, hiking, and studying decomposing animals. Digging holes in order to trap the elusive “bad guy” was another favorite pursuit. Her parents allowed and actually encouraged these al fresco activities which ultimately culminated in her infatuation, love and respect for the outdoors.
Early on in life, Janet was intrigued by Pop Art. She was completely taken with the cultural complexity and bold colors, particularly in the works of Peter Max which defined her first understanding that art may or may not be based on the tangible. She discovered that viewing pop art and watching a thunderstorm rolling in, had the same extraordinary effect on her psyche.
After graduating from the University of Wyoming with a BA in Art and Art Education, Janet was led to a life which has revolved around art.
Before she began painting full time, she co- managed an art gallery, worked as a graphic designer, taught art in the public schools and served on various non-profit art boards. Janet continued her art studies at the Chicago Art Institute under the tutelage of Roxie Tremonto. Later, under the mentorship of Marianne Mitchell, she was encouraged, and still continues to experiment, evolve and become more intimately connected to her work.
Having painted with oils for over 20 years, Janet only recently became intrigued with the process of mixing cold wax with oil paints. She completed a cold wax workshop with co-author of "Cold Wax Medium" and internationally known artist, Jerry McLaughlin. She continues to use this combination along with different colored sands found on her travels, and wood ash from her fireplace. Janet builds layer upon layer, scraping away and building more. Eventually, artwork emerges which speaks of Janet’s deep ties with Mother Nature both spiritually and emotionally.
My painting process begins with a hike, a bike ride, while gardening or hauling wood but always when I am alone in the living world. I carry no art tools nor a sketchpad. I simply try to be aware of all aspects of nature and of my emotional reactions to the movement, temperature, light and the ever-changing colors. I might hear bugs, birds or wind through the grass. Perhaps I’ll feel the sun on my back and the cold air in my face. Many times, I’ll stop and watch the clouds moving and transforming in the sky. Occasionally, a coyote crosses my path or I’m surprised to come upon fresh bear scat. All these occurrences bring about strong emotions in me. Feelings of awe, vulnerability, beauty and wonderment will soon constitute the most important ingredients added to my painting surface.
When I’m back in my studio, I spend time contemplating my time in nature and the emotions I want to express. I paint with a mixture of cold wax and oil paints while applying layer after layer. I’m on an intuitive journey, abstractly translating those emotions. The colors, luminosity, and textures seem to create their own energy and many times, have a mind of their own. My biggest challenge is holding on to my original intent. My solution is to simply to let go and allow the painting to lead me. I know my painting is complete when all aspects of the work combine to be a powerful, yet lyrical composition of my heart and mind.
Resume and CV are available upon request
"I love the ethereal beauty of Janet's painting. It seems the painting is constantly changing - almost like clouds. It never looks the same to me."
Joey Terriquez, Denver CO
"The painting fits in perfectly with our style. It holds its own with lots of other good art. In fact, it stands out in a quiet way. I love how clearly intentional it is, particularly with respect to destruction and reconstruction and work that shows consistent purpose."
Raule Nemer, Evergreen, CO
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