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Archive for Thursday, November 5, 1998

FRENCH FARM INSPIRES PAINTINGS

November 5, 1998

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Artist Kathryn Jankus Day says her latest works are "representational, but not in a realistic way."

Artist Kathryn Jankus Day can link her interest in painting and drawing to her grandmother, who lived in Pennsylvania and had breast cancer.

"She had to find a way to exercise her arms, so she bought some paints and started painting," Day said. "She had a talent that blossomed. Her house was always filled with artwork, and I was hooked."

Day's parents encouraged her artistic leanings by sending her to art camp when she was 13. But the teen-ager's interest flagged after she left the camp because no one was available to provide direction for her talents.

"When I was in my late 20s or early 30s, the flames started and they've kept going," Day said. "Once you find how much art adds to your life, you can't live without it. If I'm frustrated or down in the dumps, I start painting and it makes all the difference."

Day holds a bachelor's degree in art history from Washington College in Chestertown, Md. Her works are typically large oils and acrylics, but for "Small French Watercolors," her current show at the Lawrence Public Library, she has completed about 15 smaller works using watercolor, pen and acrylic.

All of the paintings -- done between early July and late September -- depict a farmhouse and its surroundings on the estate of the 16th-century writer Michel de Montaigne, just outside the village of St. Michel de Montaigne in southwestern France.

Day and her husband, writer Robert Day, spend three months each year in France. The rest of their time is split between homes in Ludell, in far northwestern Kansas, and Chestertown.

Her paintings have been shown on the East and West coasts as well as throughout the Midwest.

Day, who cites the influence of Vincent van Gogh, says that her paintings are "representational, but not in a realistic way."

"I'm never really satisfied (with my work)," she said. "I agonize over it. I haven't cut off my ear yet, but there are days I think about it.

"The best way to paint is to look at what you want to paint and walk away from it," she said, repeating her grandmother's advice to her. "Otherwise, I have a tendency to put too much detail in."

-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is jbiles@ljworld.com.

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