Jeannette Martin – Artist’s Statement
I have always been interested in exploring not the shocking and new, but the mysterious qualities of the familiar. I hope to make the viewers of my paintings aware of something they may already know but perhaps were not fully aware of. I want to present my subjects in all their particularity but still reveal something universal, letting the viewer tap into his own memories and emotions.
I grew up in and around New York City. I studied painting at Bennington College and City College of New York. Later, at the Art Students League, I was lucky enough to take anatomy for artists with the brilliant lecturer Robert Beverly Hale. I have shown my work at numerous galleries throughout New England and have run a small gallery in Maine for several years.
My approach to painting is an attempt to express the inner life and mystery of my subjects. When planning an oil painting, I start with composition, doing a series of thumbnail sketches and a tonal study. Then I do a tonal work-up of the final piece before applying color on top of that. For still lifes and landscapes I mix and arrange the colors in light, mid-tone and dark batches and paint directly. For skin tones I begin with a grisaille under-painting in grey or terra verte. After it dries, I use medium to slowly layer the color in lights, darks and mid-tones.
I approach still life in a meditative way. The discipline of looking closely at shape, color, and line leads to a deeper understanding of the significance of the everyday things around us.
My recent portrait work has involved tackling larger portraits. I am excited by the challenges of a larger canvas and by the practical demands of portraiture: how to achieve a good likeness while revealing an inner quality of the sitter. I’m happy with my recent portraits of children, including a portrait of Chief Justice John Roberts’ children. Children embody both the mystery and universality that I strive to capture in my work.