Growing up in upstate NY opened my experiences and imagination to the wonders of the great outdoors. Big skies with billowy clouds in the summers pervade the skyscape, giving you a sense of wonder at the beauty and magnificence of Nature herself. Winding country roads lead you along and through acres of farm country, laden with weathered and mostly still working and in many cases large farmsteads, family farms where lots of people have their hands in and on the Earth and provide us very directly from farm stands as well as the local farmers' market weekly at the fairgrounds, with our staple foodstuffs. Man's integration and interdependence with nature was clear to me at an early age with the immersion in the agricultural environment a stone's throw from home. This early foundation and appreciation of both the bounties that surround us in the natural environment as well as the diligent hard work that shapes our lives individually and collectively laid a groundwork for a large part of my belief system of our place in this world.
Painting for me is both an extension and outgrowth, and a form of expression of this love of the land that I roamed as a boy and young man through the cornfields near home or the idle summer afternoons spent gazing at the wondrous forms the winds shaped for our joy and pleasure if we simply took the few moments time to look up at the skies, to reach for the skies with our soul in the process, literally and metaphorically, and be completely in and of the moment, chewing on a stalk of wild grass picked from a field along the way, tasting the bittersweet juice.
I try to convey this sense of place, of The American Place, whether it is a farm pasture field with a working barn or a lobster shack along a wharf at the rugged rocky coast of Maine or a once fish shack weathered that now serves as a summer residence at the water's edge for some lucky person or family on the soft hot sandy beaches of Cape Cod. I try to convey that moment of joy and presence through the scenes of my paintings, without intention for nostalgia or sentimentality, realizing though that those elements are inherent in those ancient subjects, giving our imaginations a bit of free reign to roam like the clouds, wondering who has lived and worked here and how their lives were along the way, how different and how the same as yours and mine. -- Janis H. Sanders