Janine Etherington

September - October, 2021

Although I’ve been a painter for decades, in the summer of 2019 I hit a bit of a wall when a series of medical issues arose both in my family. I remember one particularly stressful day trudging into my studio feeling like I hadn’t any emotional bandwidth at all to embark on any creative venture. Still, it felt right and good to be in my studio, so I decided just to lay single colors of paint (like icing a cake) on these tiny blank canvases that had been kicking around my studio. The activity was all about the action of spreading paint and color without any real thought or discernment. It ended up being very meditative and grounding. I left my studio that day a little less burdened, a little more joyful, and a lot more in the moment. As the stack of these canvases grew so did my curiosity as to how they related to each other and how they fit together. Light sifting into the studio and landing on these small blocks of color created new shapes and tints in their shadows and prompted more combining and recombining of these compact elements. Stacking and tilting woke up my love of geometry (I enjoyed math as a kid and geometry was always thrilling to me) as triangles and parallelograms appeared. At that point I moved from using small gallery wrapped canvases to small but deep cradled panels that had crisper edges. More to play with, new forms new surfaces and ever changing light effects.
My work develops intuitively, helped along by the endless possibilities in combining and recombining the square panels, sometimes laid flat, sometimes set on edge, sometimes stacked. Once I've oriented the square elements, I return to the assemblage as a whole and go back in with new lines and shapes to add to the developing story.