A Chat with Artist Jane Galloway

  • 15 June 2014
  • Sarah Holden

What is your preferred medium and why?

There are just too many choice … If I could clone myself I would also be doing photography and installations but since there are never enough hours in the day I love whatever I am doing at the time – monoprints, watercolour, acrylic and collage as well as my digital prints.

How would you describe your work?

The Palm Prints logo is a hand with a fern curving across the palm. I think this says it all for me. I appreciate this amazing natural world we live in.

Whatever communicates this to people, spreading this appreciation and the desire to protect our environment is what I work for.

When inspiration hits how do you channel that into your work, what’s the process?

Here is a quote from portrait artist Chuck Close which is also how I work.

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up & get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part & a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you.”

What inspires you generally?

Life, nature, art, the heart.

Where did you get the inspiration from for this particular piece ?

I hope people can grow in confidence to think for themselves when looking at paintings since it is the artist’s method of communication instead of words. Artists draw associations from the world around them, past ideas and works of art and present situations. My work isn’t that difficult to understand but here goes…

There is No Planet B – Kea (End of the Carbon Age) by Jane Galloway

Carbon Age – hopefully humans will still be able to look back at this age with incredulousness at how we could have burnt up all the fossil fuels on the planet – another age like the stone, bronze etc.

The soupy sky is what people may end up having to breathe.

The church – The Victorian style church represents what many Christians from Victorian times to the present day see as the Bible’s mandate to have dominion over the natural word. Unfortunately this has been taken as the “God-given” right to exploit everything without much thought for future generations, the right of other creatures to live or recognition of the finite nature of the physical world.

The rising Kea – in a form reminiscent of a crucifix.

The rose – a symbol of love and/or hope on a picket fence forming a boundary.

What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating a masterpiece?

I don’t think I have created any. So many things conspire to produce great art. I am lucky to be able to live from my creativity but I do believe that unless you live and breathe your art and don’t have to divert energy to other commitments, then masterpieces are unlikely. What defines a masterpiece changes with time as peoples’ perceptions of the world change anyway.

Tell me a little bit about your relationship with art and being creative?

I used to have a leather bag making business which I started after leaving art school and I still see people using my bags 30 years later! However, once my children were old enough I started painting again – 24 years after I graduated from Elam. Art was all I ever wanted to do when I left school and I didn’t even consider there was any alternative. If I wasn’t bound to having to make an income and had the luxury of doing what I want I think my work could look entirely different. This is the dilemma for every artist who doesn’t have a wealthy partner or patron – most of us in other words!

Which artists do you admire, past and present? Why?  What draws you to their work?

My Pinterest page has every sort of art and I enjoy it all. With 7 billion people in the world there are also too many great artists to name just a few. The variety of ways artists communicate their ideas is always exciting to me.

What are you working on at the moment?

I work for 7 to 8 months of the year on my digital work from which I produce limited edition prints and greeting card designs for Live Wires. By the end of that time I can’t wait to start painting. I am scarily over-committed this year with the Raglan Arts Weekend in January 2014, a show at Soul in Hamilton in April and the Coromandel Art Escape weekend in March where I will be a featured artist at the Little Gallery.  I do enjoy working under pressure though!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?

Yes, I am very speedy but I do take the time to sit quietly every day so that I can be reminded what is real about life instead of it being just that endless list of things to get done.

Tell me something you like about The Little Gallery in Tairua and why you chose to display your work there.

I like the mix of artists who supply the Little Gallery from well-known ones like Michael Smither and Max Gimblett to lesser known ones, myself included. The gallery has resisted the temptation to become a gift shop and so better represents the artists’ works.


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