Watch this short video as Janice explains the process and motivation behind her work.

Artist Statement

In my early 40’s, I got through two years of cancer treatment with lots of support and love from friends who sent me hundreds of get-well cards. One day as I was re-reading the cards beside my bed, I got the idea to create a collage, hoping to imbue the art with the wishes and prayers from the writers.

It was deeply gratifying to make this art. Watercolor painting had always been my avocation, but these mixed media collages somehow captured both the subject but also all the emotions in the cards. I started selling the work and could barely keep up with the demand.

After a clean bill of health. I took a leap of faith and began a professional career as an artist, first in the Philadelphia area where I had just moved with my husband and four kids (yes, four of them). In 2015, we all moved back to the Boston area, allowing me to re-visit the city artistically. 

Some of my early works were self-portraits that illustrated me as a bald chemo patient contrasted with the healthy and rosy me today. Now I focus on my favorite places in Massachusetts: in Boston, along the coast, and in the woods.

I also create commissioned work for hospitals, corporate clients, and individuals who want to capture a special place to celebrate a milestone birthday, wedding, anniversary, retirement or another event.

Many people around the country donate their cards to me, and so through this process, the recipient and sender of the cards become part of the art, and many separate, beautiful pieces become a cohesive whole.

Artist Statement

In my early 40’s, I got through two years of cancer treatment with lots of support and love from friends who sent me hundreds of get-well cards. One day as I was re-reading the cards beside my bed, I got the idea to create a collage, hoping to imbue the art with the wishes and prayers from the writers.

It was deeply gratifying and also pleasing artistically. I copied the collages to make thank you cards and people loved them.

Watercolor painting had always been my avocation, but these mixed media collages somehow captured both the subject but also all the emotions in the cards. I started selling the work and could barely keep up with the demand. 

After a clean bill of health. I took a leap of faith and began a professional career as an artist, first in the Philadelphia area where I had just moved with my husband and four kids (yes, 4 of them). We are now back in the Boston area. 

Some of my first works were self-portraits that illustrated me as a bald chemo patient contrasted with the healthy and rosy me today. Now I focus on my favorite places in Massachusetts, in the city, along the coast, and in the woods.

I also create commissioned work for hospitals, corporate clients, and many individuals who want to capture a special place. Many people donate their cards to me, and so through this process, the friends and strangers that gave me the cards become part of the art, and many separate, beautiful pieces become a cohesive whole.

How I Make my Work

My ideas for a new piece of art usually emerge when I am walking, running or rowing. Sometimes I see an incredible view that I want to capture, like the sun hitting a hillside or the reflection of a bridge on the water. Other times a friend asks, “have you ever thought about doing such-and-such place?” and I start thinking about it and researching it on line.

Every piece starts with a photograph, usually one I have taken myself and then sometimes augmented by images I find online. I begin to sketch out the composition in pencil on paper and then I paint these paper sketches to get a sense of how the shapes look in color.

The next step is to create a sketch and under painting on canvas. Because I am familiar with the subject now, I work very quickly to lay down the basic colors. I take a photo of the painting so I can refer to it to once everything starts to get covered up.

The pieces are created from back to front. I start the background: the sky, hills or faraway buildings. I rifle through bins and bins of cards looking for the family of shades I will use for these areas. My entire studio is filled with cards, arranged by color.

I start cutting and pasting. I try to work quickly and not over-think it.  I use a mix of glues to get the right tacky consistency that will hold the pieces down, and several different types of scissors.

Click for a slide-show sample of how I made my Boston Marathon piece.

Sometimes I take white cards that have handwriting on them and paint them a variety of colors using acrylic glazes so I can incorporate script.   

Once the background is in, I work back to front, always thinking about what pieces will need to be under other pieces. Cutting, pasting, searching for the right shade, I create a huge mess in my studio! Everyone once in awhile I step back and evaluate– and usually I have to re-do an area. 

I like to work in some secrets — a face, a dog, an angel, a stamp, a greeting.  Or the striking textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Or famous women.

When the piece is finished, there is a fairly long process to preserve it. I apply several layers of a thick plastic gel topcoat. When that is dry, I brush on three coats of varnish. These coatings protect the art from UV light, make the finish the same across the cards, and allow the piece to be framed without glass, so the viewer can see the texture. 

Each work can take me many weeks to complete, but I enjoy the process and hope the viewer does too.