Where were you born and where do you live now?
My father was in the Army, I guess you would consider me an Army Brat. My mother was French and he met her on the subway in Paris. He fell madly in love with her and married her. She was one of the first war brides to come over on the ship to the US. After 6 years of living in the US he was then stationed in Frankfurt, Germany for a year, where I was born.
Tell us about your education.
I went to College of San Mateo, where I got my AA in French and transferred to San Jose State University, receiving a BA in Speech Pathology and Audiology. I never used this degree except to teach my son Blake with Down’s syndrome to speak. I ended up working for 15 years selling lumber wholesale. After Blake was born I decided to pursue my dream to become an artist and went back to school for two years taking only art courses at Gavilan College in Gilroy.
I also believe that education comes in all sizes. Not wanting to go the academia route by pursuing my BFA, I decided to study privately, in groups and workshops, taking classes in color, life drawing and oil painting for 15 years. I still go to various art workshops, always believing I am a student with an endless amount to learn about my craft.
What is the one book you will regret never having read?
My first thought would be reading the Bible, but I did that and I recommend that you don’t unless you have someone help you interpret the book, too much fire and brimstone. I probably would like to go back again though, to reread it in depth.
What is your favorite ingredient?
Salt. Salt is needed in most anything you cook, and probably the most under appreciated ingredient.
How did you get interested in art?
I have always been interested in art. I am a colorist and my first recollection with color at 3 years old, was the box of 64 Crayola crayons. My sister would love to draw, although six years older than me I would love to draw like her. Later in high school I was always chosen to do the school murals for the proms. It just came naturally to me.
After my father died when I was 9 years old, life became very practical. My mother didn’t believe in art as a career; it was not a way to support oneself. She always taught me to prepare myself for the worst and choose a job that you can always depend on to provide you with your needs. It was only after I had my son Blake did I realize that I needed to follow my dream, even though there were no guarantees for success.
How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
I love to paint in series and still do, but I feel now I am looking at my art as a business. I have done quite a few commissions and actively sell my art. As far as my craft, I do believe that my color is getting more exciting.
What do you consider to be your greatest success?
My first greatest success was to be the first person in my family to graduate from college. Then I would say that being one of the first women to be in the Lumber wholesale business and always being number one in sales. And thirdly, completing my #paint52 project in 2012, where I painted 52 paintings in one year, which came to over 15,000 square inches (Read about it here). I am now currently doing another challenge for the year 2013 to paint 20,000 square inches (Read about it here).
If you could ask yourself one question, what would it be and how would you answer?
What’s your favorite swear word? No just kidding.
I guess I would ask, “What is the most significant thing that has happened in your life that gave you the most growth as a person?”
And reply, “When my son Blake was born with Down’s Syndrome. He has taught me so much about life and myself. Here is a post about that.
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Thank you, Janet. Everyone else: Please enjoy Janet Vanderhoof’s (@JanetVanderhoof) handpicked gallery for TOE: