Artist Q&A: Janna Watson shares elements of her successful painting practice
Janna Watson, No Strict Rhythm, 2016, 48 x 48 inches, acrylic on canvas with resin coating
1. Where do you draw inspiration for your paintings?
Everyone has a need for escapism. Even if you're someone who doesn't drink or watch movies, or have someone to flirt with or have a religion- I'm sure you dream at night. My abstractions are intentional escapes into non-reality.
2. How do you begin a painting, with colour or composition?
I begin a painting by choosing a background colour/wash. From there I move into the composition of colour. I do this intuitively.
3. Related to last: which do you feel is most important in painting, colour or composition?
Both are equally important. I play with negative space and contrast with both colour and composition to create tension in my pieces.
4. How much time do you devote to planning the painting versus actually painting it?
I don't literally take time to plan a specific painting but I feel that being outside of my studio away from my work is just as productive as being in the studio. Being able to step away from the work and come back with "fresh eyes" is just as important as actually creating. There are paintings that have taken me 2 months and paintings that have taken me 2 magical hours. It's all about the moment.
5. Do you prefer the composition planning stage, or the painting stage?
Working out with the paint is always most satisfying.
6. How does it feel when a completed piece leaves your studio?
It always feels good because then I have a bit of extra space!
7. Where do the titles of your paintings come from?
For abstract work I feel that titling the work is important. It gives the viewer an extra entrance into an already convoluted image. I title my pieces after they are finished. Sometimes the title comes to me instantly and sometimes it takes a few days. It's cheesy, but I read a lot of poetry and this helps. Words I've read come back to me in different forms and these become titles.
8. What would you like people to feel when they look at your work?
I have a few of my paintings up around my house (mostly because I gave them to my partner). I don't enjoy looking at my own work as much as I enjoy looking at other people's work. I feel the mystery is gone with my own art since I know how it was made or it's just always in my face at my studio. I purchased a drawing recently and it is the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. It makes me feel so happy and in awe. It's really weird and off beat so I guess these are the feelings I would hope people will experience with my work.