Artist Interview | Jane Dickson
Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.
When it comes to your art/writing, explain what you do in 100 words.
I am a self-taught mixed media painter, Nature Spirit photographer, and aspiring poet. Whether it’s on canvas or camera lens, I approach my art with the same intention – to create or capture magical scenes of endless possibilities, and to offer insight and inspiration. When I start a painting, I work intuitively, building an abstract base of colour, working with brushes and fingers until I see images start to emerge in the paint. As the scene unfolds I follow along, developing the characters and bringing them to life! My Nature Spirit photography originally portrayed the “faces” I saw in the rocks, clouds, and trees, but more recently I have started working with a mirror image effect and the Nature Spirits that now appear are so fascinating!
What project are you working on now?
I am now working on a series called “The INKspirationals” using mainly acrylic ink and pen on art board. Like all of my paintings, I approach the blank page intuitively. With these pieces I drop inkblots on the board and see what images start to emerge in the paint as I play with it. I then use pen and marker to further develop the mystical creatures that have started to take form. I try not to censor any image that begins to take shape and, as a result, these scenes are often quite surreal! Usually, a few uplifting words or an inspiring poem will come forth to go with these pieces.
How has your practice changed over time?
Although I have always painted intuitively, much more detail has emerged in my art this year. The scenes and stories are taking on an even greater life of their own as I gain more experience with drawing and developing the characters.
Why do you do what you do?
During a time of grieving, I discovered intuitive painting, and it was such a balm for my soul. From that first painting I was so fascinated with the process of laying down paint on canvas and watching as magically faces and figures would start appearing in the abstract base. It was such a delightful experience during a difficult time, and that joy has remained with me each time I paint a new piece. I never know what or who will show up, and that keeps me completely engaged in the process and my mind open to new possibilities!
What is your strongest childhood memory?
I asked my mom one time what I loved to do as a child, and she said I loved to colour. I said, “All kids like to colour, don’t they?” She answered, “No, you REALLY liked to colour.” Then I remembered how I loved to draw the mountains with the sun peeking out from behind them. It was so surprising to me when I remembered that because it wasn’t until I was living in British Columbia, surrounded by the beautiful mountains, that I started painting and finding my way back to art.
Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
It was 2011, the first year that I really started painting in earnest. It was also a period of much grief and turmoil for me. I was going to meet someone at the Vancouver Art Gallery for The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art exhibition. My date never showed up, but it didn’t matter! I was so completely thrilled and moved by the work of Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Leonora Carrington, and others. I left the gallery feeling excited, inspired, and determined to continue focusing on my painting.
What is your scariest experience?
When I was twenty, I was in a motorcycle crash that claimed the life of my boyfriend. Regaining consciousness, I discovered that I had landed in the middle of the road, and I could see headlights approaching. That was a scary experience… and a life-changing one.
What superpower would you like to have and why?
Well, flying would be marvelous! Can you imagine? At a moment’s notice being able to take off for Indonesia, Italy, or India to experiment, explore, and experience! Or maybe soaring into Paris, Panama, or Peru to paint, play, or pray!
What is your pet peeve about the art world?
Being self-taught and finding my artistic passion in mid-life, I’ve never really felt I was part of the “art world.” I am mildly frustrated when an art degree is required or there is too much emphasis on technique over expression, but I realize quite quickly that is not the direction I’m meant to go. Apparently in some languages the word for “human” and the word for “artist” is the same. I do believe that artistic expression is our birthright, and I’m happy to see our cultural attitude changing with regards to art.
What is your dream creative project?
I have discovered that I’m really smitten with live-painting events! Although they can be somewhat nerve-wracking, I also love the excitement of them and being able to engage with onlookers and encourage participation from the audience. It would be amazing to be commissioned to paint a huge outdoor wall with a group of both emerging and seasoned artists of all ages. We would create a mystical scene of grand proportions that would be viewed by thousands and an inspiration to many. I can think of so many dream projects!
Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
Although I have only been there once, Italy was a magnificent experience! I travelled there almost thirty years ago and have never forgotten the art, architecture, and the richness of their culture. Closer to home, I absolutely fell in love with White Rock when I lived in British Columbia. That little ocean-side town in western Canada captured my heart with the sun twinkling off the bay, the boardwalk, and the little shops of art and treasures. There is an energy there that is truly inspiring and revitalizing for me.
What’s the most indispensable item in your studio/practice?
Myself! This is a good example of the adage “just do it.” I must show up to make and create or the vision to inspire is wasted! As far as tools and supplies go, it’s so hard to choose just one item! With this current series I’m doing, I absolutely love working on Canson watercolour art board with Liquitex acrylic ink and Pigma Micron pens so these items feel indispensable at the moment.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
As Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Done is better than good.” In other words, don’t let procrastination and perfectionism (different sides of the same coin) keep you from making and creating. The satisfaction of completing a work of art or project is priceless. Chances are that as your craft evolves, you won’t be satisfied with older work anyhow. So start now, keep creating, and your work will just naturally improve over time.
What are your hobbies?
In addition to the visual arts, I have a lifelong passion for the healing arts, and a great interest in spirituality and shamanic work. Recently I have been into vegetable and herb gardening and continue to be interested in foraging for mushrooms and edible plants. I love hiking the woods and around waterfalls searching for faces in nature and taking mirror image photos.
I also enjoy expressive dance. I am a lifelong reader too and currently gravitate to travel and art memoirs.
Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I envision living closer to nature and fully supporting myself with my art. I see myself engaged in collaborative work with other artists and I have a vision of being involved in large-scale work. I am the creatrix and facilitator of “Art From Your Heart” intuitive painting play-shops, and I would like to take these events “on the road” to continue sharing my love of intuitive painting.
Jane Dickson was born in the 60s in Dunnville, Ontario, Canada and is currently based in Beamsville, also in Ontario, Canada. Visit https://www.mysticalspiritstudio.com