Blog Post Image: Land and Nature Scapes

Janis Doucette

North Reading

I have been involved with some form of art or craft for most of my life – particularly drawing, painting, clay, sculpture, printmaking, fiber and photography. At Cape Cod Community College, I took every art class they offered. In San Francisco, enrolled in the Interior Design/Interior Architecture Program at UC, Berkeley, SF, I became enthralled with surface design and began to experiment with floorcloths and polymer clay jewelry.

Upon returning to Cape Cod, I was a polymer clay artist, which eventually gave way to a career as a painter of furniture and creative painted treatments of interiors, including faux finishing and glazing techniques, marbelizing, woodgraining, murals and making custom stencils and stenciling.

Due to carpal tunnel syndrome and worsening arthritis, I changed my course again and taught myself relief printing, which lead to learning numerous forms of printmaking,
a medium which has held my interest now for many years. Currently, I primarily print and dye textiles, often combined with photography and various printmaking methods to create textile/mixed media collages.

Nature is often my subject of choice. Usually, I’m simply immersed in the creative and investigative process of making art. Sometimes I try to evoke a response that inspires the viewer to contemplate and preserve our precious natural resources, and to explore the relationship between man and nature. Yet, I explore whatever subject that stirs my interest at any given moment. Life and art cannot be thwarted by artificial barriers, so I try to simply stay true to myself in my artistic pursuits.

In the Stillness
In the Stillness was inspired by a stand of trees in my backyard in the early winter of 2016. I was stunned by the stillness in the air, of the tall silent trees luminescent with a snug layer of soft snow that had fallen during the night. (It was serendipitous that I shot a photo as these trees were wiped out a year later by a surprise microburst taking five trees down.)

The Water Runs Toward Me
This began with a photograph I took while moored at Chatham Harbor and I tried my hand at extending the water into the substrate with paint. When I attached it to the piece it seemed to be flowing into the art quilt. The photos are printed onto fabric with my own small printer. The leaves are hand drawn, then painted onto cotton and appliqued to the quilt. All other blocks of fabric are eco-printed; that is, botanical prints using actual leaves printed through a heat and steam process.

Senses of the Fertile Soil
I worked on Senses of the Fertile Soil as the events of the Dakota Sioux resistance of the continuation of the oil pipeline through their sacred land was in full pitch. Originally, I thought to name it “I Stand With You.” After bringing it to a finish I thought it represented a broader topic, of which this was a significant part, and named it accordingly. But it did inspire a poem that I wrote as I worked on it:

Rocks In My Mouth
From this tribe springs a language
that speaks to the water
and with the earth
with words that roll around the rocks in my mouth

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