Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2015

That Essense is Light-Åsa Bostrom Interview with Janice Mason Steeves

My friend,Åsa Boströmis a Swedish artist and writer.  She is also coordinating the workshop in Cold Wax and Oil that Rebecca Crowell and I will teach at Ricklundgarden, Saxnas, Sweden in May.  Åsa is collecting stories from artists about their creative process. Here is her recent interview with me:

Studio Practice:
Can you describe your studio practice? For example when and how you work, what you surround yourself with while working, and how you switch over to studio-mode?

When I go into my studio each morning, I begin the day with a little ritual that sets the space for my creative work.  I wrote a blog post about this last summer.

I have a comfortable old chair in a corner. A couple of big stones  and a white pillar candle rest on a small table beside the chair. My morning ritual is to sit in the chair, light my candle and meditate.

A wood-burning stove is in one corner, bookshelves filled with art books in another corner.  On the windowsill, I have beautiful small objects gathered on …

Helping Artists to Discover Their Personal Voices-Part 2

In Part 1 of Helping Artists to Discover Their Personal Voices, I wondered if there was only one voice we could have. I said that so much of discovering your own path, is making choices, and then creating a body of work to explore those choices.

In this post, I'd like to write about discovering what you like.

What do you most love to paint?  When my children were younger and trying to decide what to study or what direction to follow, I would always tell them to follow their giggles. When we are on the right track, there is a gut feeling that is very much like giggling. Sort of bubbly. And I advised them to follow that. And they have. It's Joseph Campbell's expression, 'follow your bliss' integrated into a bodily sensation! 

What do you want most to paint right now? It helps if you tell yourself that the choice doesn't have to be set in stone for the remainder of your life. It's a choice for now. Follow that choice.  Make a body of work around it. If …

Helping Artists Discover Their Personal Voices- Part 1

Whether we know it or not, when we embark on the journey of becoming an artist, we open up. We have to. It’s part of the process. And it’s in that process that we create ourselves.

The artist's voice is a mixture of style, technique, and the message they wish to impart. But that can change. It’s not fixed in stone.  Kirkegaard said, “We create ourselves by our choices”.

Many years ago I made the choice to become a painter. It was for me, a life-altering decision. It took a long time to make that decision and then more time to call myself an artist. First I chose to work in watercolour, then later, in oils. I chose first of all to paint landscapes and still life, moving much later into dark and mysterious paintings of vessels. Choice. Choice. Choice. I continued to make choices about my subject matter and as I grew as an artist and a person, so my work continued to change.  Eventually I moved into abstraction, where the world becomes very large and the choices are endless.

I had to le…