Photo Painting Series No. 1 ~ 4

Janelle's artwork, painting, photography, the creative life

For a few years now, I’ve had this nudge to take photographs I have made, get them printed in B&W on watercolor paper, large scale, and paint on them using gouache and watercolors. I liked the idea, but never knew where to start.

Immediately after I returned home from a trip to rural France this summer, inspiration for creating my ‘photo paintings’ came back in full force. What was new were several incredibly concrete, personal themes which began forming in my head.

The themes revealed themselves in two series to start with: detail snapshots of ancient paintings of Mary (below), and an evocative series inspired by the French story ‘The Little Prince’. Many more ideas were swirling around relating to pilgrimage of the heart and this year’s actual Camino pilgrimage in Burgundy. Then throughout the autumn months they slowly developed into four distinct, solid narratives. As soon as I complete the project stories for each one, they will be linked to here:

Read about painting series no. 1: All Roads Lead to Burgundy

Early on, as I was daydreaming about getting a studio and imagining what the paintings would look like, I was floored at how giddy excited I was getting. What is happening to me?? I would say, a little bewildered. Yet this is the very same thing I experienced as I was preparing for my trip to France, so I figured I had better pay attention. Investigating local art studios, I quickly discovered that the right space is not so easy to find. In the meantime I have been creating test versions (see above) of the paintings on a smaller scale to see what works well.

This project feels more ambitious than anything I’ve ever tried, and truthfully – I’ve never made art quite like this before. Poignant and emotional and experimental. Over and over I have sensed that this is my project of the hour, the work that is for *now*.

I need your help to continue creating these works. I can’t do it without you! Here are some options: ~PATREON (crowd-funded art patronage!)~ or ~invest in one of my fine art photographs~

‘Like’ my Facebook page to make sure you never miss a blog post.

All Roads Lead to Burgundy

journeys of the heart, painting, pilgrimage, the creative process

Series no. 1 ~ The first of four series of paintings I am in the midst of creating is an exploration of my journey on the Camino in France. I call it All Roads Lead to Burgundy.

How did I get here?

It all came together through a French wine tasting, an art project with maps and compasses, and a decades long desire to walk the Camino. 

Here is a peek at the project story:

How do you draw a map of your heart?

For years, two dreams haunted me with that ‘someday?’ question. I ached to return to France, the culture I love most and the foreign language I know best. And I read and talked and daydreamed about making the fabled Camino, as journeys of pilgrimage have long been a recurring theme in my personal history.

Pilgrimage, I’ve heard it said, starts with loss. For me, it started with a longing bigger than I could hold: for the full and adventurous life I hadn’t dared to believe was possible.

It began with a series of startlingly moving encounters and continued with three years of a strange interior pilgrimage ~ “My Camino, at Home” as I called it ~ which sharpened my life in a myriad of ways.

At a certain point, stepping into these dreams of mine turned from I’ll do it One Day to Now is the Time. And the culmination came through Burgundy, a region often called the heart of France. How apropos.

This painting series is a chronicle of my week on the Camino through the French countryside.

day one on the
Chemin de Saint Jacques

I will be using my own photographs for inspiration, such as the one above. Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing about the development of these paintings and my creative process as I go.

How do you draw a map of your heart? Join me as I find out.

‘Like’ my Facebook page to make sure you never miss a blog post.


meditations, photography, poetry, prayer

Throughout shadowed corners of churches crisscrossing Europe sit tiers and tires and trees of glowing candles. Icons of the voice of our longings, singing of our hope to recover what we’ve lost, to connect with beloved ones gone yet alive in our hearts.

Remembrance ~ Belgium, 1997

This image from my B&W film days calls to me every November, the month that has long been dedicated to remembrance of those separated from us for a time in this earthly life. The shorter days and the long shadows here in the North envelop me, bring me back around to the memory of my gentle father, each of my vibrant grandparents, my dear aunts and uncles – even ancestors, those who I have met only through the pages of history and yet feel connected to me.

Losing a parent, I would say, is the most surreal thing one can go through. Nothing can prepare you, and it remains forever a journey through uncharted wilderness.

I wrote this poem years ago for my boyfriend at the time, who had just lost his elderly father. For all those missing a parent, this is for you…

lament the separation
yet even more give thanks 
for his life, and for the gifts... 

life, love, faith.  

grieve with all your might, 
and may Mercy bring comfort to your heart.