February 26th, 2020
My husband, Charles, and I impulsively moved to Ste Genevieve, MO, two years ago. We had visited and loved the historical small town atmosphere, perhaps because we'd never lived in a small town. It was time to slow down a bit, and I had a feeling that good things would happen here. We found a perfect house to fix up, met lots on interesting people, got two cats, and settled in. I joined the Ste Genevieve Art Guild (not knowing anything about it) and jumped in to their many community minded activities, even hanging their group shows. After my solo show at Melange, I was invited to be one of the artists at the new and impressive Silver Sycamore Gallery of Fine Art here in downtown Ste Genevieve. I love it! Stop by if you are in the area. It will be worth your time, I promise. We will soon have a National Park designation and headquarters for some of our historic buildings. And, I'll be around. We are planning to stay for quite some time. :)
January 21st, 2019
I rarely paint commissioned pieces. It just doesn't work for me to start with a preconceived notion (especially when it's someone else's notion). However, when my daughter-in-law, Tara, asked me to do a painting for her granddad to give her grandmother for Christmas, well... He wanted something that illustrated his wife's favorite song, "Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World," (a song that always makes me cry when I dance to it). The painting is not exactly my style, but sometimes we just need to forget ourselves and have fun. And, it was fun! I couldn't stop singing the song (yes, I know all the words) for a week (yes, my husband is long-suffering). We won't mention how many times I tried to do a realistic/unrealistic rainbow. Anyway, several layers later, this is what appeared (couldn't get a good photo, but this gives you an idea...look closely and you'll see song notes/lyrics and several bluebirds).
August 15th, 2016
My painting couldn't have found a better home. I love to paint, and I love good red wine!
Ron and Susan Bunnell (Bunnell Family Cellars) selected my water color collage, "Celebrate!" to grace the label of a special memorial wine bottle.
The limited edition wine was a collaborative effort in memory of Bill Huddleston who was well respected in all facets of the wine industry. Ron, Bill, and I were classmates at Kingsbury High School in Memphis some years ago back in the last century.
The wine and the original painting will be auctioned August 20th at the SRVS Fundraising Gala at the Memphis Hilton. Ron and I will be there celebrating, signing, and toasting old times and old friends (hopefully along with some other KHS alums). All proceeds from the sale will go to Shelby Residential and Vocational Services, a charity which was close to Bill's heart.
"Celebrate!" has much sentimental value to me since it marked the beginning of a new phase of my painting a few years back. I have never wanted to sell it, but now find it exhilarating to "let it go" in this way. I am thrilled because it seems to have been waiting for exactly this.
August 22nd, 2015
The other day my husband Googled my name and found a pleasant surprise. A poet, James Bettendorf, published a poignant poem and used my painting, Suffer the Children, as the title and illustration. Please check it out at: http://archive.feedblitz.com/8753/~4815098
First of all, it's uplifting to know that people all over the world are viewing my creations via the world-wide web. Secondly, it's a reminder that you never know how something you say or do might affect someone else. Thirdly, it's a lesson in creativity breeding more creativity.
Mr. Bettendorf's words say exactly what I was feeling when I painted this, but I could never have expressed it so beautifully!
August 10th, 2013
It all happened so quickly, I didn't get the chance to put the Unicorn Show into my events.
Greely Myatt organized (well, sort of) a show of forty artists, each exhibiting his or her take on
unicorns. My painting was "The Unicorn Looks Out Her Window, Pleased With Her Recent
Condo Purchase." Perhaps it was inspired by a recent move to a tenth floor condo in
downtown Memphis. :) There were paper unicorns, wooden unicorns, ceramic unicorns,
sequined unicorns, siverware unicorns, fanciful paintings, serious paintings, carousel unicorns...
Hundreds of people showed up for the lively opening.
It just goes to show you...we all still secretly believe.
January 16th, 2013
Groucho Marx once picked up the phone and quipped, "Room service? Send up a bigger room!"
This came to mind as I recently moved into a larger studio at Marshall Arts. I loved the huge window
in my smaller studio, but my paintings were feeling cramped and longing to show their individuality. Now,
a skylight illuminates them as they show off, displayed more artfully. And, I've found a freeness in the open space,
painting with more energy and abandon. Plus, it's enlightening to sit and look, taking in which masterpieces really
reveal my passionate intentions, which paintings don't quite.
One of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss, once said, "You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have
to learn a lot, by yourself, sitting alone in a room." So now, I wonder, will I think greater thoughts and gain
more expansive knowledge, now that I have a bigger room?
Image: Two friends enjoying my new space :)
January 14th, 2013
This painting is tiny, and the Asian feel of it brought back memories of a petite Asian woman named Hahn. Like me, she was also the wife of a professor in the journalism department at the University of Mississippi. One night we all gathered and I'm not sure whose idea it was, but everyone told their most vivid memory of the Vietnam War era. There were intriguing stories from those who had fought, those who had protested, those in the National Guard who'd watched the protests from their posts, those who lost loved ones, and those who will never be quite the same. However, the most unexpected story came from Hahn, the only one among us actually from Vietnam. First, she told a rather ribald joke that had been standard among the Vietnamese people during the war. Then, she told of her idyllic childhood in a village there, and later her escape from Saigon with the airlift. However, the thing that struck me was that, unlike the rest of us, she referred to the war as The American War. It was habit, she said, that's what all the people in her village called it.
Image: The American War
Janice Nabors Raiteri
April 1st, 2011
When my husband and I ripped up the old linoleum floor in the kitchen of an 1860 era house we rehabbed in Lawrence, KS; we found layers of old newspaper (apparently insulation over the original flooring). I couldn't bear to throw all those 1935 newspapers out, so saved them in big plastic bags to do something incredibly wonderful with them...some day. So far, this is the only 30's era collage, but there are plans for many more. What strikes me when I pull these old papers out is the similarities between these newspapers and the ones today. There are numerous ads for pills and secret diets to help us ladies reduce, and just as many for potions that will make us look movie star glamorous within ten days. Girdles to hold us in, brassieres to push us out. Sketches of men and women in all-the-rage outfits coax us to get to that store asap. Then there are the appliances, cars, and big ticket items with payment plans. Even the society page doesn't look much different. Of course, the classified ads haven't been politically corrected. I gasp as I read "white only," "colored man wanted," or "young ladies only." And the news -- Roosevelt's wrong, Roosevelt's right, taxes are too high, prices aren't what they used to be, what is this country coming to, Hitler's eliminating his competition, and oh my, Eleanor gave another speech, just stirring up trouble. Over seventy-five years have passed, yet it seems all we need to do to update these papers is to change the names.
Image: Broken Story, 1935
Janice Nabors Raiteri
January 7th, 2011
A few weeks ago, I was driving my five-year-old grandson home. He was quiet for a few minutes, then said, "Hey Mama J, I look out one window and see the moon, then look out the other and see the sun." Something about this stuck with me. I began to write about it a couple of times, but got side-tracked. Then today, I mentioned Alexander Calder and his mobiles. While searching for images of his works, I ran across this:
"In June 1922, Calder found work as a mechanic on the passenger ship H. F. Alexander. While the ship sailed from San Francisco to New York City, Calder worked on deck off the Guatemalan Coast and witnessed both the sun rising and the moon setting on opposite horizons. As he described in his autobiography:
'It was early one morning on a calm sea, off Guatemala, when over my couch — a coil of rope — I saw the beginning of a fiery red sunrise on one side and the moon looking like a silver coin on the other.'
The H.F. Alexander docked in San Francisco and Calder traveled up to Aberdeen, Washington, and took a job as a timekeeper at a logging camp. Remembering the vision at sea as he gazed at the beautiful mountains, he wrote home to request paints and brushes...and decided to move back to New York to pursue a career as an artist."
All because he'd seen the sun and the moon...and those Washington mountains!
Image: Red Mobile, Alexander Calder, 1956
November 18th, 2010
I keep "The Art Spirit" in my studio and often flip to any page, knowing that something worthwhile will appear. For example,
from the letters of Robert Henri almost a century ago:
"A work of art is the trace of a magnificent struggle...The mind is a tool, a clear way to and from the soul. An artist should
not be afraid to use his tools. He should not be afraid to know...You must not see your subject, but through it. Reveal the spirit,
so that the good things grow better. There is always a new surprise each time you see them."
From the ramblings of Janice Nabors Raiteri almost a minute ago:
"My favorite works of art are the ones that draw me in to tell me a new story each time I look. Like good wine and interesting
people, they grow better with age...and need no explanatory documents. No artist's statements, please! Let the work speak for
itself and leave me alone with my delightful daydreams and wandering wonderings."
Image: Snow in New York, Robert Henri, 1902