“finding wildness”

From being the daughter of a pastor in a rural town of 700 people, to a full-time abstract painter in downtown Toronto. Yes, Janna Watson is my guest today… I’ve been trying to get her on for months and months and months, so I’m thrilled that this finally happened. Listen right up there under “I woke up in a dry fountain and ice light”, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, a few of Janna’s red paintings! I don’t know what it is about her red pieces, but they grab me every single time:

Ok. I see a tree in that last one. Maybe it’s the essence of the tree her grandfather pointed out. I tried to include a few shots to show scale, because 2D jpgs just don’t do Janna’s work justice.

Here are a few more… lots of gradient backgrounds, insanely beautiful color combinations, and lovely lines made with pastels:

Oh my word. I love all of them so, so much.

Next… Watson Soule. This is what happens when you bring art into your home, but instead of hanging it on the wall, you put it on the floor:

So cool. That’s Janna on the left (Watson), and Nico on the right (Soule).

Ok, and this just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t include a few behind the scenes shots. I was lucky enough to pop into her Toronto studio earlier today, and first things first, I could not believe how big her brushes are:

Giant brushstrokes, a lovely studio space, and an up-close shot of a ‘work in progress’.

Now, I forgot to get exact examples of the red + grey + white combo that Janna mentioned, but I’m guessing a few of these pieces use that magical recipe:

Maybe? Either way… so beautiful!!!

And finally, a few shots from our visit this morning (note the super cute little painting shoes she wears while working):

And there we are… we did the selfie! Also, the couch. It was the first amazing thing I saw as I walked in, and yes, her grandfather designed it! Love. Thank you so much to Janna for doing this with me (and letting me into her studio today!); thanks to Saatchi Art and Create Magazine for supporting the episode; and huge thanks to you for listening! There will be more Art For Your Ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto/Vancouver
  2. Kenise Barnes Fine Art, New York
  3. Watson Soule
  4. OCADU


comments (7)

  1. Kriss Boggild /// 04.22.2018 /// 7:44pm

    Hi Danielle and Janna, listened with awe and admiration to both of you this afternoon as I repaired an old coat (boiled wool, 1990’s [that is when I bought it, at a consignment store so I don’t really know, German designer] and also repairing an embroidery from ~ late-30’s Russia ( anonymous, and it has been in the family for a very long time, so I am honouring by refurbishment – adding some embroidery where threads have worn.) I too am exploring abstract painting these days and was very interested.
    Anyway, I am in awe and admiration because of your (younger than I am by about ~20 years, maybe a bit more!) ability to go for it ! Such a good justification of your embrace of textile, Janna, along with the commercial savvy to market – and I have checked out the Watson&Soule website and love those carpets!
    My one question arising from this podcast is: what is your mom’s name, Danielle? I would love to listen to that interview- although I have to admit to going into it with a bit of prejudice, because I do not believe one should ever say that someone’s art is “no good”( whether acrylic or watercolour !) and was somewhat disappointed to hear you say you told your MOTHER that. Have searched your old podcasts, her last name must be different than your? That’s fine – my kids have different name than mine too.

  2. the jealous curator /// 04.23.2018 /// 6:47am

    her name is judi cumming … and yes, i did tell her the acrylics weren’t great, but she knew it and was asking for that feedback. i have a jokey relationship with my mom so i didn’t say it in a mean way! 🙂 we were talking about it and i simply pointed out that her watercolors are wonderful, and it’s a really tricky medium! she’s sooooo good at it and i didn’t understand why she wasn’t embracing it and truly owning it. after a few cups of tea and lots of “mother/daughter” art talk (we also talked about my terrible acrylic paintings vs. my collages that i find much more effortless) we wound up at a place where we were both excited to get back in the studio owning the talents we had. all good!

  3. Kriss Boggild /// 04.22.2018 /// 7:46pm

    Ps Lovely to see the studio and the selfie!

  4. Kriss Boggild /// 04.22.2018 /// 7:47pm

    and Art’s couch! Would your grandfather ever imagined a presence on this weird and wonderful phenomenon- the Internet, Janna?

  5. marc cardwell /// 04.23.2018 /// 12:46pm

    “you’re so fair, how much sunscreen did you use?”: awesome mom question!

  6. the jealous curator /// 04.23.2018 /// 9:52pm

    haha! yeah, good point. major mom question!

  7. Andrea Stajan-Ferkul /// 04.25.2018 /// 11:08am

    such a pleasure listening to this! Living in Toronto I’m familiar with Bauxi Gallery and I’ve seen Janna’s work evolve over the years, now listening to her has added another intriguing dimension to it. It’s fascinating connecting art to the artist. Talk about just showing up in the studio whether or not you’re in the mood, I have to say Danielle, how listening to your podcasts helps get me there. There’s a sense of not being alone in the studio but rather in the presence of other artists. Thank you both for opening up and sharing your creative minds and souls. xx

    (p.s. Danielle… the Venice art course sounds absolutely divine, if the date worked for me I would have seriously considered applying:)

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