Touched By Fire Artist Profile: Janie Grice

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Janie Grice is a graduate of Haliburton School of the Arts in Visual and Creative Arts. She was a professional singer for eighteen years, and came to visual art in her 50’s. She has shown at numerous local studio tours, outdoor art festivals, and local member shows. She was a founding member of Art Array, a collective that showed in Toronto and Collingwood galleries. Her work hangs in the Mathilda Swanson Gallery in Clarksburg, Ontario and in design stores throughout the Georgian Bay region.
In her own words
“The invitation to submit my artwork to the Touched by Fire Art Show and Sale landed in my inbox through an Akimbo website eblast. When I saw the link to the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, I immediately knew that I was an insider with this group. Not only did I have a diagnosis of Bipolar II, I knew I had some expressive work that fit the context of the show. I submitted two works, and my painting “Change” was accepted into the show.
Two things about my experience with Touched by Fire stand out for me. First, this was the first time I’d been accepted to a juried show, apart from tent festivals. That was exciting enough. It felt appropriate that I was accepted by my peers, and I felt encouraged to continue expressing my emotional life through my paintings. Second, this was a very honest painting, and I think that is important for every art form. 
The image selected for the show was of a volcano erupting. When I painted it, I was enraged about a major betrayal in my life. Many troubled months later, I see it as a metaphor for my reactions in relationships throughout my life.
My art is often an expression of what is going on in my consciousness, whether I am aware of it or not. What’s interesting is that I don’t see until I am finished what it was that I was painting about. I start with materials and colours, and the way they form themselves results in something I am working through subconsciously.
For instance, I found some beautiful shells that I wanted to incorporate into a painting. I started building up the surface, adding colour and finishes. I did two of these. When I was done, I realized I had portrayed the birth and death of my daughter. They were perfect symbolic depictions in every way.
Creating visual art is largely a solitary pursuit. When my brain chemistry is working against me,  I must choose how to deal with it. I find it hard to create anything at all when I am depressed, but if I push myself I can get started. Once a painting is started, it pulls me to stay in relationship with it until it is finished. Other times I am in high gear, bursting with many more ideas than I can physically execute. That is when I must make an effort to organize, document and prioritize. 
Through my experiences I feel I have something to offer younger people, as I have been a singer and artist as long as I have had bipolar disorder. I have also learned to have some balance in life, to chart a course for myself and to monitor and help myself through the challenges. Touched by Fire offers the opportunity to openly share with other artists the realities of living and working with a mental disorder. Through this exchange, we can begin to see ourselves as valuable visualizers, educators, reminders to the world of our human complexities and shared challenges.
In 2013, I launched a new venture called Jane Custom Art. I wanted to narrow the focus of my products and create an identifiable image. I use all the skills I’ve learned in school, workshops and life to market and sell my products. My customers are both end-users and designers. 
To see the work Janie submitted to Touched By Fire in 2013 and read her statement visit
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