Jane Armstrong


Jane Armstrong has lived in West Vancouver all of her life. She studied art at Capilano College and has taken courses with the Federation of Canadian Artists and numerous workshops with well-known Canadian Artists over the years. She is an active member of the North Shore Artists Guild, where she has received numerous Honourable Mention Awards and Juror's Choice Awards. Her work can be found in private collections in Hong Kong, Bermuda, California, Colorado and many locations across Canada.

Question and Answer:

Q: What are some of your motivations to creating artworks?

A: I love the outdoors, I walk my dogs twice a day rain or shine. It's very meditative. I usually walk them up Capilano Canyon, where it's very peaceful. Sometimes I have eureka moments and can't wait to get back to my studio. It's something about the fresh air, the forest, maybe even the rain or the sun shining through the trees that get the creative side charged up.
Also working in the garden, my sanctuary, the vegetable garden and perennial bed, gets me excited seeing things popping out of the ground, very inspiring.

Q: What are some of the biggest struggles that you face as an artist?

A: I wouldn't call it a struggle exactly, but rather an exciting artistic process that one goes through. It can be as simple as naming a painting or it can be more challenging like finding the artistic juices to create a painting, but once you do it's a thrill.

Q: When did you decide that you wanted to pursue an art career? Were there any instigating factors that led you down this path?

A: I went to France in 1992 and studied the French language. I learned how to paint with a French teacher which was quite an inspiring time. When I came back home I started to paint all the time and took several courses over a number of years. I converted a room in the house solely for my painting pleasure.

Q: How does creating art fit into your life?

A: I usually paint every day except when I travel or when life gets in the way. I just renovated the house which was a big challenge and it took everything from my creative process. It was very frustrating. Sometimes I have jumped up in the middle of the night because I woken up with an idea and have to get it out. So off I go to my studio. I don't play the music at this point as I would wake up the dogs and my husband.

Q: What are some of the biggest benefits to working as an artist?

A: I think the benefit is being able to paint when you want and how you want; it's a very solitary profession but I like it. If I need to be around somebody I will call up a friend and we will visit some art galleries etc. I am a member of the North Shore Artist Guild, and it's always fun to go to the meetings, where I am surrounded by people who are artists like myself. We share ideas and it's very resourceful.
I also love it when I have sold a painting but the main thing is that once I have created a painting to my satisfaction that is a big benefit and then gets hung on somebody's wall. How rewarding is that!!

Q: You have travelled fairly extensively, has this impacted what you paint or how you paint?

A: I have. I have travelled a lot in Europe and Mexico, in fact we are going to France for a month this year. It will be very inspiring as I will see all the art galleries in Paris and the south of France. Initially when I started painting, it was the colours and "joie de vive" of France that was so impactful. When I go back this year I will get even more of that feeling and I am thrilled that I have this opportunity to experience France in a different light.

Q: Has there been a single event that stands out as the most proud moment as an artist in your career?

A: I guess one of the proudest moments and the most rewarding was when I sold my first painting. It truly was amazing, that somebody actually would pay for something that I created. Over the years that has never diminished. I truly believe whoever loves my painting enough to want one knows where I am coming from and sees what I see in it.
I also have my work juried sometimes, and it is quite exciting when your painting is picked as jurors choice. That is very wonderful and rewarding.

Q: Do you listen to music while you paint? Are there any musicians or genres that you prefer to listen to while painting? Do you think it has any influence on the final outcome?

A: You should see me sometimes in my studio! The dogs sometimes wonder what is going on. If I am working on a certain painting and am at a certain stage in it I crank up the music, usually Latin. I dance around paint goes flying, and sometimes onto the dogs. In a more pensive moment I listen to classical. It always depends on my mood.

Q: Are there any specific artists who have had an impact on your art career?

A: Oh Yes, Cathelin, I love his work, he is French, but sadly passed away in early 2004. His work is all about colour and shapes. I also love the German Expressionism for example Franz Marc his paintings are quite lively and colourful and Fauvist painters which use bold and luminous pure colours. One example who I love is Dufy.
I adore Pierre Bonnard who also uses lots of colour and shapes.

Q: Do you have other creative outlets?

A: I love to garden, I have designed my garden from the beginning and it's always ongoing, you remove things and add things. Putting the right plants in the right place for texture and colour harmony is important, just like painting a picture.

Q: Is there anything you'd like to say to your art followers?

A: I think it's truly a blessing that I have people out there who want to buy my work and I thank them for it.
I love to create and am happiest in my studio listening to music with my dogs at my side passing judgement. Art comes from the soul and it's an outpouring of passion and thoughtful consideration of colour, texture and form. When I paint I get lost in my artwork and it can take on a life of its own, time passes unnoticed. I am at peace in my studio and I am blessed being in a wonderful gallery like Rendezvous.

"What I wish to show when I paint is the way I see things with my eyes and in my heart"
- Raoul Dufy

"Colour does not add a pleasant quality to design - it reinforces it"
- Pierre Bonnard