It is said that art is the discovery and subsequent expression of your subconscious minds, the dark matter that constantly forms who we are.
For Sooke resident and artist Janet Thorn, this approach to art is her mantra and her way of discovering what lies buried deep in her heart and mind.
Her interest in the subconscious goes further then that, however.
“I work as a physiotherapist and as a counsellor, so it’s very congruent with my interest in the subconscious and the very evolution of ourselves,” she said.
“I have a lot of faith in the struggle, in the grit in our lives, and how it transforms us.”
Thorn also raised a peculiar question: can emotion, feeling and thought become art?
“Very much so. I let the brush choose a colour and make a gesture. I continually layer and layer and allow for chaos to happen. I then look for surprise, for the mystery,” she said.
As a professional dealing with the inner workings of the mind, she pursued studying expressive forms of therapy, even during her time as an instructor at University of British Columbia.
“The school was working with their minds, but I wanted something that was going to work with their hearts and help them with the stress,” she said.
Thorn’s method, which is mostly done through oils and watercolour, discards technique and employs the free-flowing river of one’s imagination.
“I’m not pre-thinking anything, it’s just an active imagination,” she said. “My whole process is about expression. I’m not interested in product, the outcome, just the evolution of self.”
One of Thorn’s pieces was done while on a five-day hike to Lost Lake.
This was against the norm of using photographs to paint or create scenery, instead taking a more natural approach.
“Photographs don’t interest me, because I don’t want it to be in my head, I want to be working from sensation, I want to feel the weather, I want to smell the earth, I want to experience the colours, the shift in light, that’s what interests me,” she said.
Thorn is also a volunteer, board member and past committee chair for the Sooke Fine Arts Show for many years.
This year, she’s one of several artists who will be displaying their art pieces at the Sooke Fine Arts Show, which starts Friday (July 22).
As far as painting goes, the love for it doesn’t begin or end with an art show.
“I know I’m in an image I’m enjoying when I start with the chaos, it goes into a struggle, then it works through into some form of resolution.”