The Naples Art District (NAD) showcases different member artists, to provide an in-depth look into their work and who they are as artists. NAD highlights artists through their weekly Artist Spotlight! series. Every featured artist shares about the artistic skills and techniques they use to create art; they are excited to connect with the public and encourage greater consideration and love of fine art.
This week’s featured artists are Janice Lutton and Barbara Groenteman. Janice paints in oils and creates mixed media/collage pieces, while Barbara paints in watercolors.
Janice Lutton has been an artist for years, and her journey has had some interesting stops along the way to becoming a professional painter. She has been an English teacher, homemaker, and clothing designer and manufacturer of a national women’s clothing line called Canvasbacks. But it was only after all of those endeavors that Janice decided to take up painting more seriously. After selling her enterprise in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she enrolled at the Milwaukee Art Institute in 1996 and started a new endeavor as an art student. She has been studying, observing, and honing her artistic techniques ever since. “My rule number one is [to] make it interesting!” she says. “Make the image feel more real than what the eye sees!” Lately, Janice has been painting abstractly using oil, cold wax, oil sticks, and textural additives. By working in many layers of thick and thin, transparent and opaque elements, and by using tools such as brayers, squeegees, and pallet knives, Janice finds that a composition emerges and invites changes. She says, “Adding and taking away is an intuitive process, scraping away layers with blades or solvents. The under layers become as important as what is on the surface…analogous to life itself.” Janice notes that “a picture may be worth a thousand words, but abstract art is like poetry.” The beach, everglades, and the ocean in the Naples area are the inspirations for her colorful paintings, whether figurative or abstract. Besides painting, she finds time to practice piano and play for a small performance group in the Naples Music Club, to play tennis most days at Cambier Park, and to enjoy quotidian activities like cooking, walking on the beach, and keeping in touch with friends, especially during this pandemic. Otherwise, you can find Janice creating masterpieces in her new Shirley Street studio and gallery space in the Naples Art District.
Barbara Groenteman is also a painter, but her medium of choice is watercolor. She has a background in graphic design; before relocating to Naples, she was a graphic arts creative director and photographer in New York City. She has had an eye for the aesthetically pleasing for a long time, but has focused in more recent years on using watercolors to express what she sees around her in nature. “I visit botanical gardens, the Everglades, parks, and zoos that give me the inspiration for the animals and foliage I love to paint,” she has said. A transparent watercolor artist, Barbara paints tropical foliage, botanicals, and wildlife in a style called contemporary realism. She began painting botanicals from her personal gardening experience and has added the tropical subjects along with Florida wildlife and beach treasures that have inspired her since moving to Naples in the early 2000s. To create her original watercolors, Barbara uses the highest grade of lightfast transparent pigments on special archival paper from England. She starts by taking a photograph and then sketching her subject, before carefully layering in the pigment, building up wet-in-wet layers. Look for Barbara in her Naples Art District studio and gallery at the Artisans Plaza, where she spends her time painting and teaching private watercolor classes.
The Naples Art District (NAD), located in Naples, Florida is home to the largest concentration of working artists in Southwest Florida. The District accommodates studios and galleries of member artists, which are open to the public. It provides a place for professional artists to create and share their art, as well as offer educational workshops and art lessons. NAD is known for presenting special events and open houses to share fine art with visitors from the local community and around the world. A calendar of events, classes, and workshops is available online for anyone interested in meeting and learning from NAD artists. Contact the Naples Art District online or by phone at 239-249-1977 to find out more.