June Gallery Hop features the watercolors of Janet Rodriguez and her students

Usually the venue for the artwork of local school children, a very different “student” show will grace the North gallery of Artworks Around Town for the month of June when the work of gallery member, Janet Rodriguez’ students will be introduced at the Gallery Hop, Friday evening, June 1st from 5:00 to 8:00.
One of the most highly respected and admired artists in our area, Janet’s talent and passion for watercolor painting will be displayed in the Studio Gallery. Describing her feelings about her art, she says, “For me, watercolor is a love affair that has lasted most of my adult life, since I first saw colors running together on wet paper – and it still excites me. Painting in watercolor is an adventure. You are never quite sure where or how you are going, but, if you are patient and willing, something wonderful may happen. The water flows freely, and may send you in a different direction. If you are willing to play with it, no other medium allows you so much freedom.”
As an instructor, she recognizes that this freedom may be intimidating to her beginning students until they learn how to use it to their advantage by understanding that the medium is a lesson in success and failure, and the most important thing is learning the process. Much of this happens as a result of the group working together, learning together and supporting and encouraging each other. Recognizing how each person approaches and paints a subject leads to an understanding that there are many ways to the same end and helps each student develop his or her own personal style.
Janet emphasizes that watercolor does different things with different processes and, “The secret is to take lessons learned and apply them to different processes creating completely original work.” Experimenting with a variety of ways to use watercolor might include using different kinds of paper, painting on dry gesso covered paper, using rice paper or doing batik on kozo paper. Whatever the process or the materials, sharing with others and having fun are the most important things, and Janet concludes, “When they frame their paintings, you know they are addicted.”
Janet Sheehan, one of the students whose work will be on display, had once considered art as a career. Though choosing other paths, over the years she often wished for an opportunity to return to her first love. For her, the class has been ,”Like finding my true self again.”
Maureen Barte describes herself as, “A blank canvas in artistic ability”, when she began her studies with Janet. She has found the class enjoyable and rewarding and has a strong sense of creativity and accomplishment.
Elaine Strauch has high praise for Janet as both artist and teacher noting that a lot of people have seen and appreciated her ability as an artist. “What they do not see is her ability to teach painting with heartfelt, positive encouragement.”
Student exhibitor, Stephanie Bloch, sums up some of the most important things she has learned as Janet’s student. “Love my subject. Use lots of pigment. Don’t worry about a dribble (or a mistake or two). Be loose and have fun!” She compliments Janet as, “An awesome teacher and an interesting person.”
The Hop will take place at Artworks Around Town Gallery in the North end of the historic Centre Market at 2200 Market Street in Wheeling. The affair is open to the public and guests will be treated to refreshments and music. The exhibiting artists and members of the Artworks Gallery will be present to meet with guests. For further information go to the website artworksaroundtown.org or phone (304)233-7540.

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