‘Bossy’ - that was the word Jana Milne used to describe her paintings when confronted regarding the beautiful vibrancy that is so unique to her rather vast and diverse collection of work.
The word is suiting because the contrast within her pieces literally commands your attention. Demanding and elegant, her work ranges from bold flowers to prairies grasslands. She is probably best known for her work in portraying prairie grain elevators. A subject matter that stands out and is often still commissioned for.
“I found early that you're not going to please everyone and yet, I think because of my background, I do try to make my work quite diverse because I am trying to please more people or appeal to a wider audience,” remarked Jana.
Diverse is indeed the correct word, from subject to size, Jana paints across the board. But although she remains varied in what she produces - and she certainly produces a lot - each piece remains true to the style of her.
“Really any painting I paint, it doesn't matter what the subject matter is, it's a challenge. I put in the colors that I love and I try to boost reality in all of them, make them more cheerful.
“I think what I'm trying to do, when you have one of my paintings in your home, every time you walk by it, I want you to smile or to feel warm and fuzzy.
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“I think that's an underlying theme in most of my paintings."
Her consideration of audience extends beyond the boundaries of her canvas - literally - as she continues images to wrap around the sides of the canvas eliminating the need of a frame.
“[For] some of my collectors, not having a piece of frame on it actually makes it friendlier with the other paintings around it.
“It's lovely to hang one of mine that's painted all the way around almost has a sculptural feel to it next to a framed piece.
“When you first start a painting, you have all of these hopes and expectations of how it's going to turn out and you think you know what it's going to be like when it's finished.
“By the time it's finished, it's so completely different than what you envisioned.
“Sometimes it's better and sometimes it's perhaps not as good [to you], but to somebody else, somehow it speaks to that. It's very interesting.”
It is incredible the considerations she takes when she is involved in her work. While she strives to give a 'warm fuzzy feeling' to her audience, she is trying to find something that she can connect with herself as well.
“I want to keep looking at it, studying it, capturing it. It also speaks to my clients or to my audience, so we have that in common.
“If I painted it and none of it would sell, it would sort of take the fun out of it.
“It's lovely to see people appreciate your work and be excited about taking it home and hanging it on their walls, you know? In their homes.”
Remarkable considering she turns out 20-30 paintings per year. In the past, she has had an even higher volume - and with her range, she has yet to lose interest.
“I haven't gotten bored of it yet. I'm always amazed that I've painted so many that I don't get bored. It's a new painting every time.
“It's choosing colours. You can just choose one different colour and it takes you in a completely different direction. That goes with every painting, I think."
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