Interview with Janette Hayhoe: "It's a little like music. You learn the notes and techniques..."
SP: When did you decide you wanted to become a professional artist?
JH: The realization came well before embarking on painting full time. I still combine it with teaching. I think the year during which I studied in France was pivotal in launching a full time career in painting.
SP: Do you only paint portraits?
JH: No, I paint the traditional subject range: landscapes, portraiture, figurative, and still life. I have a particular fondness for still life.
SP: Before you start painting, do you approach painting landscapes or portraits differently?
JH: The same principles apply to both. It's a little like music. You learn the notes and techniques; then use those with slight variations to achieve your goal.
SP: How do you prepare for a project?
JH: I try and paint mostly from life, which I think allows that direct interpretation between the painter and the subject. It's based on very close observation of nature and trying to translate that directly rather than through photographs, which is one translation, and another step away.
SP: Do you paint commissions?
JH: Yes, I do. Mostly for portraits, but I also paint other types of commissions as well. A portrait commission is a very specific thing. To me it's very important to get the likeness and catch the vitality of the subject’s character. It’s nice if I know them, or get to know them as I am working.
SP: Do you paint for your own personal enjoyment?
JH: Absolutely, every painting is a challenge and a chance to learn and improve. I find the process completely engaging and fulfilling.
SP: What were your thoughts initially before going on Star Portraits?
JH: I’ve watched some of the episodes and think it’s a fabulous concept. It's so rare that fine art, especially portraiture being a more traditional artform, gets this kind of exposure. It's pretty exciting to be a part of.
SP: What was it like to be on Star Portraits?
JH: It’s been a lot of fun. The whole cast and the crew on the shoot were fantastic; they made me feel very at ease. It was a great honour to meet Craig Kielburger and be able to contribute in a small way to the amazing work that he does. What an inspiring person he is.
SP: Did you face any challenges having to finish your portrait in two weeks?
JH: Yes, it was quite challenging. Working in a traditional approach, the work in approached through various stages of drawing, under painting, then final pass. It was tight to fit everything into two weeks, but it’s a good challenge.
SP: Any future plans?
JH: Right now I’m working on a MFA and will carry on painting and teaching. One of the things I love about painting is you are always challenging yourself. I believe visual art has a significant role to play in our society and an artist needs to be conscious of their voice. Through my work I hope to encourage the viewer to enter a more contemplative space and find beauty in simple things often overlooked.
Janette's portrait of Craig Kielburger
Janette Hayhoe is a Toronto-born oil painter who works in the contemporary realist style. Her work seeks to pay homage to the tradition of fine craftsmanship through careful rendering and attention to detail. Janette has a B.A. from Queen's University, a diploma in design from The International Academy, is currently working on an MFA and has studied drawing and painting in the traditional “atelier” style in Canada and France, acquiring knowledge of time honoured, old masters’ techniques.