“A long time ago a newsboy brought a blank newspaper for me to draw on every week so I guess that’s how it all started.” Turns out that simple but kind act early on was pivotal in Janice McMurray’s emergence into the art world. After graduating with a BFA from West Virginia University, Janice headed to Atlantic City where she spent two summers drawing portraits on the boardwalk for Louis Artist Village. “That was when I was reckless and my eyesight was better!” She eventually landed in Richmond after her husband was hired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and they have stayed ever since.
Janice continued her artistic education, eventually teaching art for a retirement community which inspired her to write and publish the book Creative Arts With Older People. “I have taught art and always been interested in art, and studied art therapy for a long time.” This pursuit led Janice to printmaking, and eventually her discovery of mixed-media and collage – her true love. Janice’s subject matter can range from abstract landscapes, to biblical references, and women.“I’m attracted to so many things and I’ve got a stash of papers and things that appeal to me, I could make a collage everyday.” Like in her piece Tomorrow Will Be My Dancing Day, an abstract acrylic on acetate panels which she used to create a three-dimensional frame. “I was inspired by watching people dance and the name just seemed appropriate. I did a couple and that one I liked best.”
Always restless and searching for her next project, Janice is brainstorming a new series of work. She is currently planning a graphic novel, which will tell a story in three to five images. “Being an older women, I wanted to tell a story about how a woman with gray hair can go everywhere and she solves crimes. Because with her gray hair nobody even knew she was in the room. I believe it to be true!” While she is still configuring the book, she is excited for others to read the story.
Through her many lessons in art and life, Janice has found a few truths. “Art is integral to my life, it’s what keeps me going” – and she doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon.