We’re traveling to three really hip and historic cities in 2017 with the talented artist Jane LaFazio, best known for her watercolor sketching, she is also a skilled paper and cloth artist, experienced in quilting, mixed media and painting. Our muse…Charleston, SC; Old World Montreal + Quebec City … so perfect for one of her watercolor sketching workshops! Because it’s always fascinating to take a walk behind the scenes, we’ve asked Jane to share a bit about her life as a full time artist with us. Thank you Jane!
Q: Please tell us a little about yourself.
I love making things. Whether it’s drawing, painting, stitching, or just cutting up stuff and gluing it together.
I love to laugh.
I’ve been a full-time artist since 1998, and I truly believe I’m living the life I was meant to live! In that time, I’ve cultivated a wide range of skills as a painter, mixed media, quilt artist, art teacher and blogger. I’m known for my fun-loving, creative teaching style, and providing a relaxed supportive environment in the classroom. I teach my own drawing and watercolor workshops online (including Sketchbook Skool “Beginnings” semester) and at art retreats internationally. My artwork has been featured in Cloth, Paper, Scissors and Quilting Arts magazines many times, and in Danny Gregory’s An Illustrated Life, and in numerous books. I design stencils for StencilGirlProducts.com and I’ve been a Quilting Arts TV twelve times. And I’m featured in the instructional DVDs “From Art Journaling to Art,” “Layered & Fused Applique Quilts: From Fabric Scraps to Recycled Circles” “Wet Felting Essentials for Fiber Artists” and “The Small Art Quilt.”
Q: What are some of your earliest creative memories? What first ignited your passion for art?
A: Visits to my dad. My parents were divorced when I was really young and I would go to San Francisco once a month to visit my dad. He had a card table set up in the corner of his kitchen and we would make stuff. He always had crepe paper, pipe cleaners, glitter and glue!
He also took me to museums, art galleries and outdoor craft fairs on a regular basis during those visits.
Q: Tell us about a day in the life – or a day in the studio, to be precise! What does it look like (and feel like) to be creative every day? What can you share about your process or routines?
A: I don’t have routines around my job as an artist. I can say the average day would include a yoga class, answering email, and working on the computer in the mornings. Then, after lunch, working in my studio. But, honestly, sometimes it’s a full day on the computer and a few moments on the sofa doing something creative. Or, a full dedicated day in the studio, to meet a deadline! I can tell you, coffee and chocolate are always part of my day!
Q: Where does the magic happen? What does your creative space look like? We’d love to see some photos, if you’d like to share.
A: Yes, I have a dedicated studio space, in my home, full of supplies for my painting, printing and sewing interests.
Here’s a video tour of my studio:
Q: What piece of equipment, tool or color could you not live without?
A: pencil and paper……
Q: Does your creativity ever stall? Do you ever get artist’s block? What do you do when that happens?
A: Knock on wood, no. If I have a sketchbook with me, and a pencil, I can draw what’s around me. Give me a needle, thread and fabric and I’ll create something.
I know I can enter my studio, look around the room, and immediately find something to work on creatively. I’ve got everything there that I need.
Q: How does travel inspire your work?
A: Oh my gosh! The landscape, architecture, the patterns, the colors, the flowers, and the food! I love seeing new things and learning about different parts of the world, it all inspires my work!
Q: From a workshop leader standpoint, what are you most looking forward to during this workshop?
A: See the above answer! I really enjoy pointing out to students, all the things I see through my artist’s eyes. The details, patterns, colors, shapes, and landscapes that can be captured on paper as a visual record of our trip.
I’m very excited to visit Charleston and Canada, and I know my enthusiasm will inspire my students. With the added bonus, that I can and will show them HOW to get these images down on paper.
Q: What do you love most about teaching workshops?
A: Seeing the look on the students face, after they’ve drawn something, often for the very first time since grammar school, and they are so happy! They’ve drawn something recognizable and they can’t believe they did it! The moment they realize they CAN draw!
Q: At Arts & Cultural Travel, we believe in the creative power of sketchbooks and journaling. Do you journal or sketch? Would you be willing to share a few of your favorite journal pages/creations?
A: Oh yes! I’ve kept a sketchbook since 2006. All manner of different types of journals or paper, but I’ve been sketching bits and images from life on a regular basis.
Q: If you could take only five creative items with you on vacation (not necessarily a workshop – any vacation), what would they be?
A: pencil, paper, pen, watercolors, waterbrush. EASY question! Because that’s all I ever need when I travel!
Q: So many of us believe our art can only ever be a hobby. How did you make the leap from passion to profession?
A: I started studying drawing and watercolor while I was still working full time. I began showing my work, in exhibitions and galleries, and learning the profession of an artist, while still working. Then, when I unexpectedly got laid off from my job (1998), I was prepared and BRAVE enough to make the leap to full time artist.
Q: What creative medium would you like to pursue but haven’t yet?
A: I want to crochet. I have crocheted, but not in years and years! I just want to crochet lace or make those crocheted snowflakes. Just set aside a bit of time, with someone to teach me and do it! That and learn how to sew on a shisa mirror.
Q: If you could spend an afternoon with any artist, dead or alive, who would that be?
A: I would love to spend an afternoon with Matisse and paint large pieces of paper and cut out shapes with him.
Q: Where can we find you and your work online?
My distilled dharma statement. This is what I do:
“I support seekers along the creative path through the healing power of artistic expression, the restorative nature of play, and the freeing effects of laughter.”