Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Feature: Janet Means Belich

Hi Everyone,
Janet Means Belich

This week I'm featuring Janet Belich.  I just love her work.  I first noticed her work during the Japanese art auction and she auctioned off "Snowy Hydrangea", too bad it had already sold because I would have loved to have that in my collection.  I love the delicate feel and the way she crops her composition.  Her paintings are just beautiful.  Someday I hope to meet Janet in person.   

"Snowy Hydrangea" watercolor by Janet Means Belich
 How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

Few people know this but I invented encaustic painting. I say that because at about five or six years of age, I had a really old, ugly, metal desk lamp in my room and when I was supposed to be asleep, I was melting crayons on it. The smell always gave me away, though. Seriously, like many have said before, the journey began at a very young age. It was just always assumed I would do something in art but in those times it always meant teaching. That's what my degree is in, art education. It was a very, very good education from Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. They had a very tiny art department but it covered every aspect of studio art as well as art history.

The "journey" has taken several "detours" due to raising a family. My first job out of college was in a framing shop that sold art supplies. There were many times when women came in who had been art majors and wanted to start painting again after having a family. I made a conscious decision that would not happen to me. I never gave up painting. I always did it when ever I could. But it's only been the past five years or so that I've gotten back to that "highway". I have a very good friend that pestered me to join a co-op and that was just the kick I needed. It was about the same time I was juried into the Baltimore Watercolor Society, one of the oldest in the nation and the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society. I started a blog and pretended it was a website. The internet has been the best/worst thing to happen ! The interaction & networking of artists is so incredible. Somehow, Jane Freeman found me and now I'm a member if her Artcolony blog. What a delightfully supportive group it is and I thank her so very much.

 Where were you born?

Greenville, Pennsylvania

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

We've moved several times and I love to travel so I've seen quite a few places. Where we live now in Maryland is a nice mix of rural and urban areas. It is becoming more crowded but still it offers access to museums and events that not everyone enjoys. Some of my favorite spots though would be Copenhagen, Denmark , Kalmar, Sweden or Geneva, Switzerland.

watercolor by Janet Means Belich
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

Landscapes have always been my main interest from the very beginning. I love trees. I love the positive and negative shapes that they make. But that doesn't mean I haven't strayed to other things. Being a member of the co-op gave me renewed appreciation of seeing abstract elements in realism. An other dear friend commented that she thought I would be know for my Indian corn paintings. The jury is still out on that.

Could you talk about your painting techniques?

I love the opaque paints. For a time I used only gouache but I used them as one would the transparent. Now I use both but not necessarily together. The fascination for me has always been the process. I love to see the paintings evolve and watch the depth build. I layer colors to reach the darkest value possible to feel that one could go back through the painting forever. For that reason mine don't have the beautiful luminosity that some watercolors have. But I think ones technique is always evolving.

watercolor by Janet Means Belich
 You seem to really enjoy texture in your paintings is there a common theme throughout your works?

As a theme…hmm…I'm not sure there's an intentional one. The only thing in common to all of them is that I still have a boat load to learn.

watercolor by Janet Means Belich
How did you arrive at your current style?

I think a style is like handwriting. Once you learn to make the letters I'm not sure it changes too much. There are always aspects that show through a persons work that tells you who did it. So arriving at a current style wasn't really a deliberate destination. I look at some things I've done and exclaim, "Geez, have I learned nothing at all over the years ?". Some may agree whole heartedly.

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Alway's been & alway's will be Winslow Homer, but also Sargent.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist?

Painting is so solitary. I find it really hard to work if there is something on my mind that interferes with that percentage of concentration that I need. I try to have positive attitude and thoughts. Maybe that's an other reason artists get a bad wrap sometimes. We try to shut out the real world & problems so we can concentrate on what we're doing at the time. My favorite things are the furry critters that keep me company, a Shetland Sheepdog & two black cats.
watercolor by Janet Means Belich
Do you have go-to paints/colors and brands, what are your favorites?

I've always used Winsor/Newton paints but Jane Freeman introduced me to Daniel Smith which I like too. I'm constantly looking for my perfect red. I'm not sure what it is but if I find it, I'll let you know. Always on the palette : Alizarin crimson, Antwerp blue, Winsor violet, Olive green, Winsor blue &my new favorite Quin gold.

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

Well, dreaming really BIG here…AWS & NWS signatures ! More travels to plein aire paint. I can't think too big…I've been very fortunate.

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Network with other artists ! We can help each other so much. Show your work to everyone that has a pulse.

"Jersey Girl" watercolor by Janet Means Belich
 What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

"Being able to draw come about by drawing".

A painting should look as good up close as it does from back there.

watercolor by Janet Means  Belich


Chocolate or vanilla?…Seriously ? Vanilla ???

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat? …Mountain retreat but it's got to have a lake or stream.

Book or movie?…yep.

Favorite author?…Barbara Kingsolver

Favorite movie?…Sound of Music

Romance or comedy? comedy

Favorite ice cream flavor?…peppermint stick

Night owl or morning person?…morning but I need my nap too.

Cake or Cupcakes?…cake


  1. Wow, Janet's paintings are fabulous. Thanks for sharing this with us, Carrie.

  2. I always look forward to your Friday Feature.! Janet is definitely a wonderful artist. I especially like "Snowy Hydrangea"..beautiful piece...A great interview as always, Carrie.

  3. No Friday is complete without your Feature, thank you. Just loved Janet's work.

  4. Another wonderful review...Janet's work is beautiful. Enjoyed meeting a new artist to follow and liked seeing her thoughts. Thanks Carrie!

  5. Carrie...thanks for featuring Janet's work...she is a wonderful watercolorist and friend. I'm one of the fortunate ones to have an original of her Indian corn. Thanks for introducing her to your following.

    PS: Your Ball fruit jars are "to die for"...

  6. THANK YOU CARRIE ! This is such an honor for me and I am very grateful. Thank you all for the generous comments. I guess now I better update my blog instead of slacking off !
    Thanks again !!

  7. What a great interview. I am also a big fan of Janet Belich. She not only is a fantastic artist, but she is a nice person too. I learned some new things about her...melting crayons over a light when she was little? So funny but so Janet. Your paintings are very lovely.

  8. She is so talented. The "Snowy Hydrangea" watercolor is amazing. Thank you for sharing this.
    xo E + J

  9. What a talented lady! I LOVE the top one, and the corn too. Of course they are all superb, but those are my favorites :0)

  10. Her work has a nice delicate touch to it. THanks for sharing her!

  11. Thanks again Carrie. I'd love to meet you one day as well ! Let's do it !

  12. Janet your work is fabulous. You not only surprise me as an artist but also as a wonderful carrying person. I'm for ever grateful to have you in my circle of friends. Great interview.

  13. It is so nice to see one of our Art Colony artists here of Janet's caliber! So glad to read this interview, Carrie!

  14. Just fantastic, love her and her work.

  15. Very happy to see Janet featured here, wonderful work, wonderful interview