Featured Artist - Janet Bothne
Please introduce yourself and describe your background
My love of art goes back to my childhood where I was given much encouragement and space to explore creativity. Over the years, I’ve explored many mediums and styles ranging from fastidious realism in oils, pastels and watercolor, to where I am currently— vibrant abstract works in acrylic & mixed media. While mastering draftsmanship, perspective, and the many techniques that go into good realism certainly gave me a wonderful foundation in my practice, it wasn’t until I let go of realistic subject matter that I found my “center” with abstraction. Leaving the pre-set subject matter behind and delving into my imagination was like letting go of a crutch; it’s been freeing and constantly vexing at the same time. Now when I think of going back to realism, I think of it as getting the answers before taking a test.
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
Coloring with my mom when I was about 5 years old. All my friends went to Kindergarten and my parents couldn’t afford to send me. (It wasn’t free back then.) She’d spend hours drawing and coloring with me, and when asked by friends why I wasn’t going to school, I remember telling them, “My mom needs me to color with her at home.”
Describe your primary medium and why you’ve chosen it for your artwork
After years of working in oils, pastels, watercolors and dry media, I’ve ended up with acrylics and mixed media. When I started getting nauseous from oil paint fumes (despite good ventilation in my studio) I knew it was time for a change. I hadn’t used acrylics since high school, but I quickly learned to let the paint show me what it wanted to do, instead of trying to make it behave like oils. I’ve come to love how quickly it dries, allowing me to apply many layers while keeping colors fresh.
What other media have you used?
Just about everything under the sun. Watercolors for still life and landscapes, portraits in pastel, oils for just about all sorts of subjects and now acrylics and collage for abstracts.
Describe your artwork in 10 words or less
Expressive, vibrant compositions about color & color contexts
What inspires your work?
Color and color relationships
If you could spend the day with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
It’s so hard to choose! But if I can only choose one, I’d have to say Hans Hofmann. He embraced what I’ve come to understand about “letting paint be paint” and he was a teacher to many of the most noted abstract painters from mid-century America. Attending his classes in Provincetown, MA would have been my “Mecca”.
Do you show your work commercially? If so, where?
I currently have work at Weems Gallery, Hotel Andaluz and at various restaurants, and other public spaces in Albuquerque. I also have reps in CA, FL, MA, MD, and TX.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m a frustrated musician at heart.
What advice would you offer younger artists just beginning their art careers?
Stay true to whatever your passion is regarding your work. Over decades I’ve had numerous people tell me what I “should be doing” to please this group or that, or to fit in here or there, but in the end, following those leads doesn’t necessarily lead to authenticity.