Biography & Statement
Moore’s family is from Nova Scotia. She was born in Canada and grew up in Maine. Her family lived in Aroostook County, then moved to Cumberland. She attended Waynflete School and Sarah Lawrence College, where she focused on painting and photography. She studied in France at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Lacoste (now SCAD Lacoste) and Paris. She lived and worked in Manhattan for 12 years, then returned to Maine, where she works from her studio in Freeport.
Moore has engaged in an ongoing exploration of Maine's industrial landscapes and what she describes as “the architecture of usefulness.” Moore believes that, in Maine landscapes, “we often reference an idealized, natural state of forests, mountains, and coastline, but there is another equally beautiful landscape that tells an important truth about our culture and our history.”
She has shown her work in traditional gallery settings, and has a particular interest showing her non industrial landscapes in places of healing, as she did at Maine Medical Center.
I get ready to paint first by changing clothes. My painting clothes are worn and splattered with paint. I wear the same painting clothes for years and I am sad when a shirt or sweater becomes too worn and I have to let it go.
I use a thick 8”x 20" sheet of beveled glass for my palette. I use another matching sheet to sandwich the wet paint when I am done for the day, so when I return to work, I begin by pulling apart the sheets of glass.
I clean my palette. I remove the dried paint with a pallet knife. I mix my glazing medium.
I sit down in front of the painting and just look. The previous day's layer of paint has set. I may spend 15 minutes just looking. I identify the areas of the painting that need work. It might be a line that isn't right, a detail that is ambiguous, an area of shadow that is not consistent with the direction of light, or a color that needs depth or brightness. There are always problems that remain to be solved and the painting always informs me what it needs. I am never really done with a painting. It’s an ongoing conversation with an idea. I still return to paintings I started 20 years ago.
I select the specific problems I will work on. I choose my brushes. I go through a lot of brushes. I'm harder on them now because I can't feel my hands as well. All of my brushes become worn down and, when the bristles are short, they become eraser brushes.
I paint in layers. I use fine sandpaper to smooth out the old layers and I add paint sparingly. Each painting has hundreds of layers. Each layer is a day's work.
I use rags made from my old clothes and sheets. I like using my son's old clothes because it reminds me of when he was little. I use the sheets I had when I lived in Paris many years ago and I am reminded of my time there.
I work fresh paint onto my palette from the tube. This takes longer than it used to. I have lost feeling in my fingers. I have lost strength in my hands. I can't feel the cap. It is more challenging now to squeeze the thick oil paint through the opening.
Each of these steps is routine. Each routine step is part of a ritual of transitioning to work on the painting. Whatever else I might have had on my mind slides away. I am only thinking about the next step and the painting and the problem I will solve that day. By the time I actually begin to paint, I am clean. I listen to music. There is only the painting and the act of painting and the music. Everything else falls away in the work. This for me is a necessary and reliable truth.
Janice L. Moore 2017
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