A Question of Why and When – Insights into Janis Sanders


“Fancy words like visceral. The same and different at once. I paint because I feel the beauty so deeply, I must do my best to convey the moments I have seen.”  ~ Janis H. Sanders

Janis Sanders has been painting since he was young. With time and effort he found success and was able to name “artist” as his vocation. Now, he makes it look easy, but it wasn’t always this way.

“In the beginning, I applied to a prestigious art organization. One of the questions posed was, ‘Why do you paint?.’ This was followed by a full page of blank space awaiting my reply.  I just didn’t have that much to say,” says Sanders.  “After careful consideration I simply wrote, ‘I must..’  The application was rejected. Now, years later, I am proudly a member of that organization. I will tell you though, I never changed my original answer to the fateful question of why I paint. Still and simply, I must.”

Growing up in upstate NY opened Sanders’ experiences and imagination to the wonders of the great outdoors. The big skies with billowy clouds in the summers pervaded the skyscape. Sanders always held a sense of wonder for the beauty and magnificence of Nature herself and never intends to improve her work, just share it.

“Near the end, the small finishing touches on a painting become the most important. It may be just a tweak, a tiny bit of color, a pastel shade or a deep rich shadow. My instinct tells me the right place,” says Sanders. “These tiny changes harmonize with the previous hours of work, and the piece begins to hum. Without them something indefinable, but nevertheless crucial, is simply lacking; wanting and incomplete.”

The choice to walk away from a piece of work is one of the hardest decisions to make. If there is always a bit to add or a hue to alter, when is a painting ever complete? When does an artist know he has done all he can to share his vision? Janis Sanders answers this with no hesitation.


“I am done when I have poured all my emotions of that first glance that stopped me and swept me away in the first place.  Recreating a particular scene into paint, without second-guessing myself, is difficult as it is. I won’t deny that. Yet, when I am sure of myself and my vision and my emotions, I can stop. There is a knowing catharsis, a deep feeling that I’ve done everything I possibly can. It is my best.”


We at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture are proud to showcase Sanders’ best. We encourage everyone to take time this fall to wander into Kennebunk and view this incredible work in person. Sanders’ show will run until October 22, and the gallery is open every day from 10am to 6pm. If you can’t make it in, please view the work online at www.maine-art.com

To read more about Janis Sanders and his work at Maine Art in Kennebunk follow this link.  Janis Sanders – Stories and Insights.

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