by Jan Heaton
Then: I was standing next to my mom at the age of ten, carving well-spaced rows with a hoe in the thawing Michigan spring soil, aided only by our hands and a spool of string for line. Eventually, we’d scatter the seeds and watch with impatience, daily, as the sprouts emerged and grew into intricate patterns.
Now: The past year, I’ve been painting a series based on my weekly excursions to the farmers markets in Austin—initially recording my impressions in watercolor on small 4” x 4” heavy 300# cotton paper. While at the markets, I often look for the vegetables that we grew as children, yet also seek out the mysterious and almost magical varieties of watermelon radishes, maroon carrots, fennel and golden beets that were not familiar to our family garden—ever mindful of the seeds, the patterns and the process that bring these edible treasures eventually to our table.
The first paintings were small but were used as studies for the larger paintings (some 40” x 60”) to come. Many of the paintings are abstract but are influenced by the form, color and patterns I observed and studied. A market bag’s contents would be sliced, cut, chopped, diced and sketched before the painting began. My objective is to capture not only what I observe, but to simplify and abstract the subject matter and record the essence of a fruit or vegetable with minimal marks. My intention is not to impose a specific message to the observer; I look at produce differently and hope my paintings will allow others to see a familiar object in a new way.
A sampling of sketches from Jan Heaton’s “The Market”
Jan Heaton is a third-generation visual artist. In Austin, she represents her artwork by appointment. Her work is also represented by The Hunt Gallery in San Antonio, Elizabeth Gordon Gallery in Santa Barbara, Studio EL in San Francisco, Soho Myriad (Atlanta, Los Angeles and London), Art + Artisans in Houston and Kirchman Gallery in Johnson City. Stay tuned for a date in the Fall of 2014 for Jan Heaton’s “The Market” solo exhibition in Austin, with an opening event presented by Edible Austin. See more of Heaton’s work at janheaton.com