Featured Artist Janet Kruskamp

Enjoy artist Janet Kruskamp’s charming portfolio of Americana and scenes of yesteryear. Visit her website to see more from this talented painter.

 

Private Reserve

“Private Reserve” oil on canvas, 24″ X 48″

 

Art has always been a passion for me, a passion that I have been nurturing for over seven decades!  After so many years honing my skills, I can honestly say I am still learning about my craft–and myself–every day.

 

Peace Climbing Rose

“Peace Climbing Rose” oil on canvas 36″ x 60″

 

While some discover their passions in their teens and twenties, I never found it: it found me. At two years old, I was drawing Disney characters and the Planter’s Peanut Man on my parent’s walls.  I always knew I was (and would remain) an artist. A scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute refined my skills and focused my philosophy of finding a story in the subjects I paint—a practice I maintain to this day. My favorite subjects are those that tell a story, and the beauty of commonplace subjects inspires me.  As Plato said, “It is beauty I seek, not beautiful things.”

 

Harvest Celebration 1

“Harvest Celebration 1″ oil on canvas, 18″ X 36”

 

After so many years in front of the canvas, I am often asked to advise young painters. My advice is simple: First learn the basics and then, Just Paint!  The more you paint, the better you get. The odds are in your favor that if you paint a lot of canvases, you’ll find some gems amongst the pigment.

 

Teddy Bear Work Shoppe

“Teddy Bear Work Shoppe” oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″

 

While I love all subject matter—I truly look for beauty in even the simplest, everyday items, I find that painting a still life – any still life – offers the greatest lessons for the observant student. A still life may be the “chamber music” of painting,” and it may seem too dull for a casual painter; however, I truly believe that everything you need to learn about colors, values and composition is all there for you to see and learn.

 

Merry Christmas Shoppe

“Merry Christmas Shoppe” oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″

 

If you can truly see a vase—the subtle play of colors across a glossy surface, the reflected light within a shadow, the perfect placement of the strongest light source, you will train your artist’s eye to see the shifts in light, shadow, and tone in a bowl of fruit, a field of flowers, even the human face.  I tell my students, “If you can see a vase, you can paint a face!”

 

Apple Pie Harvest

“Apple Pie Harvest” oil 24″ X 30″

 

Another popular question is, “How do I choose my subjects?” Well, sometimes I am inspired by a season, as with many of my Christmas paintings. My childhood memories have inspired many of my kitchen paintings, where friends and family will often see real items from my mother’s and grandmother’s homes like a mixing bowl, and handmade quilted pot holders.

 

Walking Rt 66

“Walking Rt 66″, oil on canvas, 22″ X 28”

 

Sometimes, my travels provide the inspiration. This was the case with my series of paintings featuring aspects of vanishing Americana. A chain-link fence along a road on the edge of the desert in Arizona was the dumping point for cast-off shoes and became the focus of my painting Walking Rt. 66, while an old gas station ready for the wrecking ball but still bearing the sign FOR SALE—a poignant story of how hope springs eternal–was immortalized in a recent work titled Excellent Business Prospects.

 

Excellent Business Prospects

“Excellent Business Prospects” oil on canvas 22″ X 28″

 

On a trip to New Mexico, I captured some of the adobe dwellings that are starting to disappear in the face of natural elements and progress in Adobe Near Taos where a brilliant blue sky contrasts dramatically with the sun baked adobe. These three paintings are part of my new collection titled: VANISHING AMERICA.

 

Adobe Near Taos

“Adobe Near Taos II” oil on canvas, 24″ X 24″

 

This new series also includes a nod to the romance of rail travel titled The Scenic Limited. Using new age technology (the internet), old memories, and some whimsical “artistic license” I researched vintage luggage and train stations and then imagined how the Red Cap stacked all the luggage askew and even left his cap on the cart!

 

The Taming of the West

“The Taming of the West”, acrylic on canvas, 20″ X 20″

 

In some respects, this latest collection is a continuation of my ARTIST IN SEARCH OF AMERICA collection, in which I traveled several thousand miles throughout our beautiful country in the early 70’s, seeking a true picture of the people and places of America. In 1976, this collection of Americana was designated by the city of San Jose, California as an official Bicentennial event.

 

Retired with Honors

“Retired with Honors” oil on canvas 30″ x 40″

 

In the early nineties, I signed with Bentley House Fine Art Publishers (now Bentley Global Arts & Bentley Licensing). Through the years, they have challenged my abilities and imagination endlessly… from fine art teddy bear still lifes to gardens to florals to motorcycles to all sorts of poster-style paintings; I’ve  done them all!  And my work is now published and licensed worldwide!

I never imagined that I would have the career path I have had or that I could support myself with my art. See what happens when you dream big!

 

Comments

  1. That is such incredibly gorgeous work, what an inspiration!

  2. Lisa Kirmse says:

    I adore your view and vision of things! Admiring your work opens up new views to what I might find in my own world.
    Such an inspiration to all who find you!
    Disappointed your 2016 calendar is not available this year!
    Blessings to you in all your endeavors
    ~Lisa K

  3. V. Larsen says:

    Janet I must express my delight upon viewing your pieces of beauty, I also have had much pleasure in completing several of your puzzles. Vicky is my name and Preston’s girlfriend is my daughter, Sara. We both love your work and look forward to completing more puzzles.

    • Dear Vicky,
      Thank you for your kind words regarding my paintings.
      I have spent a lifetime finding beautiful subjects to paint that other people have passed by , not noticing their beauty.
      I endeavor to tell a story in most of my work. In many of my paintings, I “hide” a mouse.
      He is YOU he is ME, He is a metaphor of a quiet observer to what is happening in my paintings.
      Thank you again for your lovely comments.

      KIndest Regards,

      Janet

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