July 31st, 2015
Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff
Interviewer: Terry Henry
Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Janet currently lives in Ormond Beach, Florida. Janet has won numerous awards from exhibiting her watercolors, including Disney’s Festival of the Masters, “Under the Oaks”. She has achieved Signature Status in the American Watercolor Society, the Florida Watercolor Society, the South Carolina Watercolor Society, and the Delaware Watercolor Society.
Janet is well known for her sensitive portraits of women and children, as well as her expressive floral paintings. She has gained much popularity as an instructor for many watercolor workshops in the United States and Europe. Watercolor demonstrations are part of her busy schedule, including Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Florida Watercolor Society, and of course workshops throughout the United States. http://www.watercolorsbyrogers.com/
CJAS: Having just finished a weeklong workshop here at Cheap Joe’s, how do you feel about how it went?
JR: It was fabulous; I really loved the group of artists that we had. They were full of enthusiasm, drive and the love of watercolor, which is what I am trying to share. We worked through a lot of exercises and it was a fun and growing experience for all.
CJAS: When you talk about a love for watercolor, what does that mean?
JR: As a group of individuals I believe that we want to connect with each other and find common ground. Workshops provide us with a way to work together and grow and be happy with our successes. I like the way each class feels like a community. Watercolor is a medium that is very alive; it moves and is unpredictable and is a lot like life itself. We might try and control it but the joy of painting with watercolor is in the journey. I try and teach my students to let go and enjoy the unpredictability of this medium. For instance, I want my life to be predictable but not my painting. That way you can take chances and jump off the cliff and still feel safe.
CJAS: You are known for your portraits and your flowers. How does that fit into your approach to teaching watercolor?
JR: I start with dry paper and then I wet the brush and pull the color from the pigment puddles I have created. That way I can see the colors and make new ones along the way. The whole idea is to get the color moving on the paper and then create some excitement by playing around and see what happens.
CJAS: It seems like you would want portraits to be a little more controlled than an assortment of flowers.
JR: I have been doing commissioned portrait work for about 30 years and I do have to be in control of the medium more with portraits than with florals. When I paint for myself I let things flow a little more. In my classes I try and get each student to realize that they can let go of what they think the painting should look like and perhaps find a different “reality” or interpretation of what it is they are trying to achieve.
CJAS: You have become a successful artist and national workshop instructor over the past several years. When did you first become an “artist”?
JR: I met my husband when we were both students and we decided to make a living from our art by doing shows. But I was always a bit nervous about just selling paintings and waiting for people to buy them. At some point people started asking me about teaching and it just sort of happened. The way I paint flowers seems approachable to many people and that is where things begin from a workshop standpoint.
CJAS: What excites you about teaching?
JR: I love working with others and watching them accomplish something that is their very own: this is what excites me the most about teaching. I feel that I am blessed by the opportunities that are open to me in a workshop setting. Helping others to discover a love for watercolor is my passion.
CJAS: As we wind down I will ask you to share a memorable experience with Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff.
JR: I think of Cheap Joe’s as a happy place. That is the first word that comes to my mind. Everyone here has been wonderful to me and I love the mountain setting. Joe wants everyone to succeed and enjoy the painting journey. Also, in closing I would like to press the point to not get discouraged. I know that in workshops a lot of people think that they should come away with a masterpiece. When I tell them no masterpieces allowed it seems to take the pressure off and they are all so grateful that they can really relax and play. I want people to connect to watercolor and have the tools so they can create their own colors and their own world.
CJAS: Janet, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us.
JR: You are most welcome. See you next time.
Janet will be back at Cheap Joe’s on July 10-14, 2017.
Some Examples of Janet’s paintings.