Georgia On My Mind! :: Bo Bartlett Master Class at Columbus State University

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.

2 thoughts on “Georgia On My Mind! :: Bo Bartlett Master Class at Columbus State University

  1. 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.

    1. 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.


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