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This week Lucky Compiler is showcasing the wonderful artistic renderings of Jane Lewis’s experiences and imaginations through the feature, ‘Surreal and Infinitely Possible – The Art of Jane Lewis.’ A snippet of the interview is presented here,

Jane Lewis’s Il Seragglio depicts a boat gently floating on the waters of one of the many canals in Venice. It seems that the boat is a part of a grand procession, with itself decorated as a dragon–like rooster–headed gondola. The vessel carries two men, a monkey with a small mask in hand and a Dalmatian. A girl with a nice hat watches with a somewhat languid curiosity from her window–seat of an ancient building in the backdrop. The faces of both the men on the gondola are covered with masks. No one is sure what emotion they are trying to hide behind their pretences. Jane Lewis’s portrayal of her own time is thick with plots and sub–plots. And as viewers try to peel one layer to dig deeper into the story another layer appears beneath posing a further set of riddles to be solved. As always with any great work of art the audience too becomes a part of the enigma and engages into a mental game with its creator.

Oil, watercolour or pastel all media have their own eventful history and artists use and reuse them on canvas blending them with their own imagination. How important the contribution of medium becomes in this form of visual storytelling?

My principal working media now are oil paint, pastel and conte crayon. All three have a sensuality that suits my working methods and my subject matter. There is a discipline to pastel painting, limits to its physical application. For example, only a certain surface build–up is possible before the pastel crumbles to the floor, and fixing alters its appearance so must be done sparingly and judiciously, if at all. Conte is difficult to erase so requires a sure hand and focused imagination. I like to work within those restrictions. It has its effect on how an image is realized.

Oil painting on the other hand is boundlessly versatile, as well as having an intrinsic beauty and eventual grace in its ageing. Perhaps fatal qualities for me because of the temptation to rework endlessly and build slowly with layer upon layer of paint. I feel that it links my own visual story–telling by a thread woven through centuries of oil painting.

‘All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography’ – how much of this is true for Jane Lewis?

My work is all about myself and my responses to the world and my inner world. This is why I dislike commissioned portraits, which I have had to do sometimes to earn money – when I choose my own models or have a relationship with the subject it is a different matter. My pictures contain a narrative. I can’t tell you where it began or how it will end. My fantasies, obsessions, fears and dreams are in there. I feel that painting should create another world rather than simply reflect what we ordinarily see.

Il Serraglio





Image Source: The artist website.