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Janine Cooper Ayres (6/29)

June 29, 2009

Our next artist of the week is Janine Cooper Ayres

red bird in hand

PA: How long have you been an artist?

JCA: I began painting back in high school in San Jose, Ca. Two of my older sisters are artists and another was an actress (now she’s a photographer). Seeing them being creative gave me a sense that this is just what people do – they paint – they act – they express themselves through art. I have taken some classes and lessons but for the most part I’m self taught. I paint intuitively.

PA: What are your biggest fears as an artist and how do you overcome them?

JCA: I think that my biggest fear as an artist is that I might run out of inspiration, time or the physical ability to bring through my art. As I get older the clock ticks louder. I am more aware of my mortality and the fact that I will not live forever. And, I suppose I’m afraid that I might leave this world without being recognized for all of the paintings that I’ve created. The way I work through that fear is by setting deadlines – goals and setting up exhibits to force me to paint even when I’m tired, lazy or overworked.

PA: What kind or type of art do you create?

JCA: The first paintings I brought through were somewhat visionary – sci-fi in style, even though I wasn’t necessarily into the sci-fi scene. Then I went on to paint abstracts, landscapes, nudes and most recently pet portraits. I had a dog named Klina when I was growing up. When she passed away it was excruciatingly painful. So, I like to paint pet portraits for people who have that same sort of connection with their pets. Recently I went to Vegas and saw some of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings at the Bellagio. I couldn’t wait to get home. I sat down and painted two landscapes immediately. She totally fueled me!

PA: Do you have any creative rituals involved with your process?

JCA: I don’t’ really have a specific ritual when I paint. Sometimes I listen to music, but usually I like to paint in silence. I also like to paint outside. My art studio is located up in the Angeles National Forest. Nature inspires me.

PA: What is your greatest creative motivation/drive?

JCA: Every time I sell a painting it motivates me to keep going (I’ve sold over 150 paintings throughout the past twenty years). Sometimes when I sit down to paint I have no idea what is going to come through. I might start out feeling sad, angry or frustrated and I come out the other end with those demons exorcised and I feel a great weight lifted off my shoulders. My motivation to paint is fueled by a need to communicate something so deep inside that I have to go exploring for it


Janine, in my eyes, is a true classical abstract artist, if there is such a term. In other words, she seems to be influenced by the original masters of abstract art(ex. picasso, van gough etc.) but still manages to bring a fresh, vibrant, and most importantly, personal feel and look to her work. The combination of strong vibrant colors with areas using a soft color palette enhances the unique quality of her work.

You can learn more abut Janine and her work at her website:

Until Next Time

– Zach
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