There are exactly four piv­otal points in my art career that I can remem­ber excited me beyond belief. Remem­ber that ela­tion you felt I felt as a kid on Christ­mas morn­ing? THAT. That adren­a­lin moment when you feel like the plan­ets have all aligned JUST for you.

Piv­otal Point In Art Career #1Glen Loates - Canadian artist

Glen Loates, Canadian artist.

Glen Loates, Cana­dian artist.

The day that Glen Loates called me, after see­ing my work wayyyy back in the early 90’s to say that he was lit­er­ally ‘stunned’ at the beauty of what I was cre­at­ing. Glen and Sally were the first folks to pub­lish my work and sup­port me in my art devel­op­ment and career and I am for­ever indebted for the time that I spent with Glen. The rea­son why this was so impor­tant to me was that when I was a kid, my grand­par­ents gave me note­cards with Glen’s work and I remem­ber draw­ing them, learn­ing how to see and begin­ning my learn­ing jour­ney. Glen was gen­er­ous in his men­tor­ship of me as a young artist, and I’m for­ever grate­ful for the things he taught me about art and myself.

Piv­otal Point In Art Career #2

Spring of 1993 —  and I was tak­ing in all things art around me — I had ear­lier dis­cov­ered in depth, the work of Amer­i­can real­ist Andrew Wyeth. Liv­ing on the farm in Harley, and a just being a new mother at the time, I knew that I had to leave my young fam­ily and make an artist’s jour­ney to Chadd’s Ford and the Brandy­wine Val­ley to expe­ri­ence Andrew Wyeth’s phys­i­cal world…and of course, the Brandy­wine River Museum to see the works in per­son. It inspired me to begin a jour­ney in learn­ing how to work with egg tem­pera but more than that — it showed me how Andrew’s work was so inte­grally tied to his land­scape and the feel of his world was reflected so deeply in his work. That trip is still deeply embed­ded in me at a cel­lu­lar level.

Piv­otal Point In Art Career #3

Fast for­ward to April 2012, around 4:30 pm when I received a call from Jen Wil­son at the Haida Museum. I was one of three artists selected for a unique Artist in Res­i­dence for Gwaii Haanas National Park. The kids were in the kitchen, and we were jump­ing up and down and yelling and jump­ing up and down…yeah, there was a lot of yelling and jump­ing up and down! There are just times in your life when you know things are meant to be….exciting, inspir­ing and spir­i­tu­ally feel­ing like the right thing. I was right about my time in Haida Gwaii — it has changed me for­ever as an artist and a person.

Piv­otal Point In Art Career #4

"The Rebel" ©2010 Bo Bartlett. Oil on panel. 24"x24"

The Rebel” ©2010 Bo Bartlett. Oil on panel. 24“x24”

Today!!!!!! — receiv­ing offi­cial noti­fi­ca­tion that I’m one of 18 very lucky artists to study in a Mas­ter Class with amaz­ing Amer­i­can real­ist Bo Bartlett. Bo’s work, phi­los­o­phy and expe­ri­ence res­onate with my soul as an artist and a human being. Around the same time in the fall of 2012 when I was work­ing on pieces from Gwaii Haanas at The Banff Cen­tre, I had the oppor­tu­nity to attend a class with him at PAFA. Alas, I found out that I had breast can­cer and art really had to take a back seat to my health. Again, the oppor­tu­nity arose in March last year, but by then, I was sick and in bed with the dev­as­tat­ing effects of chemo. One of the things that I clearly remem­ber Bo tweet­ing to me was, “BEAT IT!”. It sure made a dif­fer­ence to me when things were so low, and I appre­ci­ate that.

Feel­ing bet­ter, but not yet 100%, I’m feel­ing so much grat­i­tude to have been accepted this March for Bo’s Mas­ter Class at Colum­bus State Uni­ver­sity in Colum­bus, Geor­gia. I can’t wait to spend time with the other artists and this great painter in his home town for a con­cen­trated expe­ri­ence, and intel­li­gent dia­logue. And per­haps the coolest thing of all?…. Full cir­cle, Bo spent over five years with Andrew Wyeth, cre­at­ing the film “Snow Hill” and has an inti­mate knowl­edge and appre­ci­a­tion of the great­ness of being that Andrew was.

Oh…..this is gonna be good.

  • Beth Lon­don

    This is a great post Jan­ice. Con­grat­u­la­tions on your oppor­tu­nity to study with Bo! Andrew Wyeth has long been one of my favorite painters, from years before I had any idea I would ever be a painter myself. I was for­tu­nate enough to study inten­sively under a mas­ter painter who was good friends with “Andy”. It was almost sur­real to have him advise me over the years with Andrew’s words. I hope you have an amaz­ing time at the mas­ter class with Bo.

    • Jan­ice Tanton

      Dear Beth — Thank you. I am very excited and ner­vous, but I’m find­ing that this is really giv­ing me a point to refo­cus after a year of can­cer treat­ments. How very lucky for you to have had that expe­ri­ence. The process of men­tor­ing younger or less expe­ri­enced artists is a gift, and study­ing under those whose skills are high, whose out­looks are intel­li­gent and whose phi­los­o­phy may chal­lenge our own is the best train­ing any artist could ask for, at any stage of their development.