Viewing beauty through a more vibrant lens

Posted in: Society
By Kaye Collier
Jul 11, 2013 - 8:53:16 AM

“I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.”—Frederick Franck in The Zen of Spring

The foregoing philosophical statement has been the lodestar for Marlow artist Janet Loveless for some time now.
Janet was introduced to the world of the visual arts as early as 1970 while a resident of Kansas.
MURAL MAGICHer husband, Leroy, encouraged her to follow her dream of becoming a serious artist; and after dabbling in the creative process for several years, she expanded her horizons by pursuing the magic of painting through a variety of mediums beginning in 1974.
Moreover, she has continued to paint and to further her knowledge of the subject in the almost-40 years since.
Janet was endowed with both the desire to paint and a certain natural talent that allowed her to express herself through that means. But she was also wise enough, even early-on, to admit to herself that these qualities alone were not going to suffice if she were to realize her full potential as an artist.
So she began to seek instruction from a number of master artists, not only here in Oklahoma, but elsewhere as well, through private classes, seminars and workshops.
She has variously studied drawing, portrait painting, watercolor, pastels, oils and acrylics under such Oklahoma artists as Leonard Wren, Laura Grenier, Juanita Gleghorn, Susan Jones, Judy McCombs and Gay Faulkenberry, as well as under David Leffel at the School of Fine Arts Academy in Loveland, Colorado, and  Ben Konis in Texas.
She has also participated in prestigious Prix de West seminars and has visited a number of world-famous galleries such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the renowned Louvre in Paris.
“By continuing to study and experience from the masters of art, it is a never-ending eye-opener to the in-depth concepts that make art a constant challenge and reward,” she noted.
“This variety of instruction has given me great insight [into] what constitutes the total picture from design, color, concept and contrast, with planned directives in mind,” she continued.
As a result, Janet is now able to bring these diverse elements—design, color, concept and contrast—into harmony with each other in the creation of a painting that is more than just a sum of its parts, sort of like a symphony of vibrant colors.
And she is quite accomplished at it. Janet painting en plein air near Kodiak, Alaska
Janet has worked in such mediums as oils, acrylics, watercolor, pastels and pencil drawings; but for the past 12 years, she has chosen oils exclusively. She favors the type of artistry known as en plein air, or painting outdoors in natural light.
Although she paints primarily on canvas, a number of her murals can be found in this area and elsewhere. The likeness of the Marlow brothers that graces the Lions den here is one of her murals. And the third floor of the First United Methodist Church, which is the educational area, features a number of them.
Janet’s works are, or have been, exhibited throughout the United States, including Alaska, as well as in Canada and England. Most recently, they have been on display in the Dean-Lively Gallery in Edmond, Masters House in Moore, and the Weems Gallery and Concetta D Gallery in Albuquerque.
Locally, several of her framed paintings can be found at the Marlow Mercantile, Trends and Celebration Frames.
She has been commissioned to paint a number of subjects through the years, including several portraits of beloved people or animals.
She has frequently accepted consignments, and her works can be seen in banks and medical facilities throughout Oklahoma and other states.
Some of her colleagues in the art world consider Janet to possess an extra measure of sensitivity, which she infuses into her landscapes, seascapes, portraits and wildlife depictions.
Soft-spoken and unassuming, Janet is not exactly an aggressive or pushy individual and shies away from promoting herself as an artist.
“I would rather spend time painting than promoting my personal art,” she admitted. “I’m not a good self-promoter at all.”
(In fact, she insisted that this article not be lengthy. But as my boss can attest, that ain’t gonna happen.)
However, countless honors have come her way despite, or perhaps because of, her preference for painting over promoting.
In the past 20 years, she has garnered many blue ribbons and a number of Best of Show awards in art competitions. Examples include the Mary McNayr Award for superior achievement in watercolor at the Gallery on the Green and Stephens County’s Art Excellence Award.
But Janet has not been satisfied with just perfecting her art; she has passed the torch, so to speak, to beginning or struggling artists.
“In the late ’70s, I began private classes with four young children, giving drawing and pastel instructions,” she recalled. “With this opportunity, I continued to work with children for the next 20 years and covered the areas of pastel, drawing, watercolor and pencil drawings.”
Her classes were composed of eight to 10 students, and sessions lasted an hour.
Although she is not teaching at the present time, Janet previously taught, not only children and teens, but adults, as well, in Marlow and the surrounding area. Her instructional techniques were basically derived from the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (one theory purports that the right side controls intuitive and creative thought).
She considered it a pleasure, she said, “to be allowed to share and inspire young people to see through new eyes and actually appreciate color, design, and the beauty that surrounds our world on a daily basis. I found art a great direction for many youth who had been saturated by the world of technology and felt they tapped into their natural creative senses through. . .art.”
Her forte in teaching young people, she believes, was her ability to motivate them, provide positive reinforcement and encourage them to strive for loftier objectives.
Away from the easel
Janet was born to Melvin and Sylvia Smith in Rising Sun, Maryland, a community “just south of the Mason-Dixon line,” she said, and not far from Chesapeake Bay. She has one older brother, Carl.
The family was, in Janet’s words, “dirt poor,” but her dad would occasionally bring home a gallon of fresh oysters he had purchased for the grand sum of $4. She loves seafood to this day, she indicated.
She grew up in Bay View, Maryland, and graduated from North East High School near there.
For several years, Janet worked for the government as a secretary/stenographer at the army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds. This is where she met Leroy Loveless, an operation research analyst, and the two were married in September 1962 in Bay View.
They arrived in Oklahoma when the army transferred Leroy to Fort Sill, where he would continue to work through the Civil Service until his retirement. They lived in Lawton initially, but later moved to Marlow, a place they still call home.
Their only child, Lynn (Mrs. Brandy) Price, lives east of Marlow, where she homeschools 10-year-old Austin and 8-year-old Gabe. She also keeps the financial records for the family business, the management of rental properties.
Janet is a member of Delta Sigma sorority, the Chamber of Commerce and, of course, the Duncan Art Guild.
“One of the art guild’s purposes is to educate the public in the understanding and appreciation of art,” she observed.
Her pastimes include working in her yard and flower garden, cooking, spending time with her family, and supporting her grandsons in their activities.
She is also an active member of Marlow’s First United Methodist Church, where she is a member of the chancel choir and United Methodist Women’s ministry, and where she taught teenage classes for a number of years.
“Life has loveliness to sell,/All beautiful and splendid things. . . .Spend all you have for loveliness,/Buy it and never count the cost. . . .”—Barter by Sara Teasdale
Janet has a profound appreciation for the loveliness that life has to offer, and her art is a reflection of that deep regard.