“The wonder of the world, the beauty and the power, the shapes of things, their colors, lights, and shades; these I saw. Look ye also while life lasts.”
Janice Neill Dean, a Mississippi based artist, has adopted this quote as an expression of her philosophy and says that “artists exist to interpret the wonders of this life for those who do not see as clearly.” Her delightful botanicals and natural science illustrations highlight the beauty that is often overlooked in the world and allow the viewer to experience a moment of serenity. She says, “I would like people to know that my chosen genre is not a merely decorative, shallow form of art to be dismissed as lacking originality or seriousness, but rather an ancient, functional, scientifically accurate depiction of the wonder that surrounds us if only we look. As an artist I have taught my eye to touch and my hand to see.”
Dean says that art has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. “I have always thought of myself as an artist. My paternal grandmother was a painter, and I thought I should be one too. I drew on the bed, colored on the walls, spent much of my early school days sketching instead of paying attention to instruction. In high school I served on every decorating committee, created stage sets, and illustrated the cover and transition pages of my senior class yearbook, of which I was also editor. My college major was art, and I would have actively pursued a career in fine arts had reality and a financial recession not intervened. I became a teacher and school administrator instead. But, all my life I have been an artist.”
“The arts enrich our souls. They teach us truth and beauty. They allow us to participate in creation,” she says. Truth and beauty both shine in her works, with subjects of flora and fauna from her native Mississippi and specimens found in her travels routinely appearing in her pieces.