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she and the creative thing #3

Jane Barry – Printmaker and Painter

“Make a start and for me, the work usually begins to flow, take shape and offer up its own direction.” 

How do you describe your work?

Original works on paper.  Monoprint/drypoint engravings via perspex plates and mixed media.  Abstracted.  Intended atmospheric and moody.  Loose (free, in its mark making and depiction).  Hopefully evocative, of a time or place for the viewer. 

What inspires your work?

The landscape.  A certain time of day or night and its colour palette.  The sea, the hills, mountain ranges, bodies of water. Storms, rain, sunlight, thunder, lightning.  Shapes and pattern.  Other times I’m inspired by textures and forms of a more figurative nature. 

What is most important to you in your work?

Mark making -the variety and difference in weight of mark making.  Use of colour.  Successful composition – anchoring the image to its support so it’s pleasing to look at as a whole.  Feeling inspired, enthusiastic and connected to the work. 

What is the most difficult thing about working in a creative field?

Generating a viable income.  The dedication, confidence and motivation to the promotion of my work, and of myself as an artist.  The struggle with self-doubt, in my ability or talent. 
Keeping up with costs (especially associated with exhibiting).  Being a printmaker, my works on paper are framed (for longevity and enhancement) under glass, especially in an exhibition setting. This, plus associated exhibition costs are expensive.  I find myself drawn more recently to painting on canvas or hardboard, and its raw readiness to be hung without constraint or cost of glass. 

Do you experience self-doubt in your work? What happens?

Absolutely.  If it has been a long time between shows or a commission, or indeed the production of a new body of work, self-doubt can set in.  A loss of confidence in my medium, my talent, or authenticity as an artist.  I respond well to a deadline that comes with exhibition or commission.  The work is begun, fueled by inspiration, produced satisfactorily and finished.  But if there is nothing of note to work toward on the near horizon, I sometimes experience a period of being ‘stuck’ or avoiding my work and workshop. 
If I have no new work, I have nothing with which to approach a gallery, and therefore no show to secure. A catch 22.  So, in this, I recognise the importance of producing new work.  Which in turn, builds on my confidence and commitment as an artist and feelings of ‘legitimacy’ as an artist. 

Do you have a personal mantra?

Not really.  ‘Make a start and keep going’ is probably what mine would be.  Make a start, even when I feel uninspired, or I don’t have a theme, or I’m distracted by other aspects of life.  Make a start. And for me, the work usually begins to flow, take shape and offer up its own direction. 

How do you know when a piece is finished?

I just do.  It’s instinctive.  I think it’s important to step away.  Each night, if you’re working on something, step away.  Come back the next day with fresh eyes.  Sometimes it actually was finished.  And sometimes fresh eyes give you what it is that a particular work’s completion needs.  Even if it’s only a final stab or stroke, of graphite, ink or paint across the surface as its finishing touch. 

How do you juggle work life, people and creative inspiration?

It isn’t always easy.  I compartmentalize.  Try to manage my time and take advantage of the allocated windows of time and opportunity.  I have two sons I’m raising with my husband.  I work when they are at school, on my days in my workshop at home.  I also own and run a small women’s vintage clothing shop in the city, where I’m open three days a week (another love affair).  I’ve always supplemented my work as an artist with something else, as it is too sporadic financially to rely on in itself, plus I have a family to consider.  This other venture helps bring in a regular income, to better fund my practice as an artist. 

A few examples of Jane’s work:

Ghost‘ (Monoprint on paper) 450 mm x 650mm
‘Walk the line’ (Monoprint/mixed media, on paper) 760mm x 970mm
‘The last splinters of light ‘ (Monoprint/mixed media, on paper) 1mtr x 780mm

After studying at Christchurch Polytechnic from 1995 – 1997, Jane graduated with a double major in Printmaking. She works from home where her workshop and printing press are. She has exhibited in solo and group shows for 18 years. 7 of those years were at The Centre of Contemporary Art in Christchurch (CoCA) quite literally up until the February earthquake in 2011. Jane’s work is held in private collections throughout New Zealand, Australia, America and Great Britain. A public collection to which she contributed, takes the form of a limited edition book of prints and is held by The Christchurch City Art Gallery.
Artwork/commissions (and enquiries regarding) can be viewed/sought on Jane’s Art Facebook page:- or on her Instagram page.

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