Sunday, September 29, 2013

Altered Book - Do you know what it is?

An altered book is any book that has been transformed by painting, drawing,  gluing, sculpting, cutting, piercing, folding, bending, sewing, etc. into a piece of art.  My Art 3 students create an altered book each year based on the theme of their choice. Sometimes there themes are personal like a trip they have taken, family holidays, dreams, bucket lists.  Some others choose subjects like historical events, countries, cultures, social issues,  a play on words, or musical themes.  I assign different lessons for each two page layout which include concepts, techniques or new materials.  I have never created a book myself, so my students have challenged me to complete one this year. Here is my first entry.  The first assignment was to give a visual explanation of the chosen theme and include a quote.  My theme is about my recent trip to Turkey and Greece.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

There are so many varieties of eggplants!

I love long three day weekends!  Who doesn't?  We ran to the farmer's market and I found these wonderful eggplants.  There were so many different kinds to choose from.  I have been looking for white ones but can't find them.  I'll have to grow them next year.

Comma, Colon:
8" x 8"
Oil on panel


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday Morning

So I got up this morning with the intentions of making fig preserves with the 3 quarts of figs we have picked. But Pete brought in a beautiful eggplant from the garden an laid it on the counter. I have been meaning to paint one for weeks, but we keep eating them. So I grabbed the new eggplant (and a green apple); threw it on a yellow cloth and whipped out the paints. I told myself to paint as quickly as I could - keep it loose and spontaneous and Voilà!

"Saturday Morning"
6" x 8"
Oil on Panel

To purchase:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Last Painting of the Summer

I have to go back to work tomorrow.  I have painted quite a bit this summer and hope to continue the momentum.  This is a painting of my granddaughter Emma on the 4th of July. I worked from a photo that I took at my daughter's house.  They had a huge party in their cul-de-sac with lots of neighbors and friends and family of neighbors. My daughter has no idea who this other little girl is.

"Fourth of July Poppers"
6" x 8"
Oil on Panel 
Not for Sale

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Friday Painting

"The Red Chairs"
6" x 8"
Oil on Panel
I am painting frantically, trying to get as much done as I can before I go back to work in 11 days.  This is my living room before I rearranged it.  I wanted to capture the glow of the lamp and the shine on the wood floors.  This one came together fairly quickly.  Now I want to do another interior. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Spotlight is on Me!

Wow!!! I am so honored to be the Spotlight Artist of the Week at Daily Paintworks, an Internet art gallery with the artwork of over a thousand artists.  They have posted an interview with me and are giving away one of my paintings.  Follow this link to take a look:

Thursday, July 25, 2013


This little car tried to run me down on the sidewalk in New York City.  He was a little guy who thought he was pretty tough (Napolean-esque). He decided he wanted to park on the sidewalk where I was standing and just zipped in there.  I snapped his picture, and now I have immortalized him in oil paint. He was pretty cute, so I guess I can't stay upset with him.

6" x 8"
Oil on Panel

To purchase this painting;

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Okay, so I have moved away from vehicles with fins (temporarily), and have chosen something much smaller and less gas guzzling.  This spunky little orange thing was sitting in front of Republic Coffee in Memphis a few weeks ago.  (Best iced coffee in town! Love to see the cream slowly curli-que it's way through the coffee.)  This little darling was loaded with stickers.  I think one was a Betty Boop, but I decided to leave them off, because I wanted to make sure it looked like a Vespa.  If I were 20 this would be my ride.

"Very Vespa"
6" x 6"
Oil on cradled canvas panel
To purchase this painting: 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fins! I can't get over them.

This is a 1960 Cadillac.

"Fins Were In"
Oil on Canvas
(Gallery Wrap)

I have this obsession with fins.  I love the geometric shapes they create on the canvas- both positive and negative shapes.  I also love mixing all of the reds.  Elvis used to drive a cadillac like this, but I think it was pink.  Here in Memphis he used to give them away.  There are many stories about him being at a car dealership, shopping for a car.  While there, he would buy a car for someone who happened to be on the lot that day. He was very generous.  Wish he were here to buy this painting!

To purchase this painting please go to:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Back in the 1950's Again!

I am finally painting again.  School is out and we are back from our wonderful trip to Alaska.  I expected it to be cool, but it was not. It was warmer in Alaska than it was in Memphis.  And speaking of cool, here is my latest cool car.

"A Good Year for Turquoise"
10" x 8"
Oil on Gessobord


This is a 1955 Ford.  This one was more difficult than the others for some reason.  I had trouble with the color.  I think I need to buy a few more tubes of paint.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rust is the New Black

Rust is the New Black
Oil on Panel
6" x 6"

I have been collecting photos of old cars and trucks for quite a while.  They are so much fun to paint with their rust, sagging parts, chipping paint, dents,  and almost cartoon like personalities.  They all  look like they could star in the next version of "Cars." Rust, also now known as patina, is so IN.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Forever Young

Forever Young
6" x 12"
Oil on cradled panel

I love red cars! This fun looking car is a classic - a 1959 Ford Skyliner with a retractable hard top.  I love red cars.  Wish I had this one.  (This is a repost.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shark Week

I can hear the music from "Jaws" and the fins are breaking the surface of the water. But. . .  the fins are red and turquoise.

"Shark Week"
11" x 14"
Oil on Gessobord
Email me if you have questions or are interested in purchasing this painting at

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Turquoise Car

Remember when????

1957 Chevy Bel Air
11" x 14"
Oil on wrapped canvas
$250 (includes shipping and handling)

Hate to admit it, but I remember these cars.  What were they thinking when they designed those fins?  They are so cute and funny.  This painting is bigger than I have been painting recently and forced me to use a bigger brush.  I enjoyed it.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scratchboard Tutorial

After posting my scratchboard work last week, a few of you ask me for a some instructions on how to create a scratchboard.  More. . . . .

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ste. Genevieve, Mo

I assign scratchboard projects for my classes every year.  Scratchboard is a board that has a layer of white clay covered with India ink.  When you scratch it, you create a white line. I have taught my students techniques, critiqued their work, help them work through problems.  However, I admitted to one of my classes last year that I had never done a scratchboard.  (Can't believe I did that!) So they challenged me this year to do one and even gave me a due date. Well, I finished it this week, only a month late. (Boy did they have fun with that!!) While I was working on the project, I kept asking myself why I didn't choose something a little easier.  Anyway, it is finished, and I am pleased with it.  I will let my students critique it next week.  I know that my seniors will be completely honest with me.

Ste. Genevieve
8" x 10" Scratchboard
$250 (includes shipping and handling)

      This is from a picture I took in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri several years ago. Ste Genevieve is a very old town on the Mississippi river founded by Frenchmen that had traveled down the river from Canada.  It happens to be the home of some of my French ancestors.  One of them was Nicolas Janis and was the reason my parents named me Janis.  There are many old French style homes in this village including  the Nicolas Janis home  built around 1790.  
      This house is a newer home ( probably 1940's?)  I saw it as we drove into the town. I love the way the light is shining on the front door and was a great inspiration for a black and white scratchboard.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Every Car Should be Red

"The Car Show"
Oil on Panel
8" x 10"

Another weekend painting.  I stayed in my pj's all day until it was finished.  Whew, this one was difficult, but fun.  This is a 1948 Ford V8 Deluxe.  Isn't he cute?  He needs to have his own TV show.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's winter so Janis must be painting!

"Orange, Orange, Fork, Fork"
9" x 12"

Finally painting again.  I need more time off from work.  I have so many ideas for paintings swimming around in my head.  I started (barely) this one in a class I took from Carol Marine in Houston last November and have finally finished it.  The stripes scared me to death, but they ended up bing pretty easy. The smell of oil paint is in the air, and I am in the mood to paint. But too bad, I have to go back to school tomorrow!!!
If anyone is interested in the painting please email me at