Art Writing

In 2009, I participated in a Women’s Canoe Trip from Pelee Crossing to Dawson City. There were fourteen women including my mother and I. Mom stepped in when my close friend and travel partner had to back out at the last minute due at a family emergency.  I wrote this in gratitude for the experience and as part of the exhibition planned to follow.

The Art of Paddling – Pelee Crossing to Dawson City, June 30 – July 14, 2009


Janet and partner Lucille paddling the Yukon River, 2009

Paddling the Yukon River is very much like creating an abstract painting. It requires showing up and being willing to play full-out but it also requires “getting out of my own way” – out of my head with all its distracting voices.

As we paddled our way downstream, I felt myself letting go of old ideas and attachments – making space for new ways of being in the world. Being forced to simplify made responding to the river and off-river challenges easier.

The River Goddess is a seductive and engaging muse – generous in doling out gifts and rites of passage too. I found myself rising to each new dare, sometimes stoically but increasingly with a fiery passion.  As with most good paintings, a balance of chaos and order is required and I found myself silently bellowing, “bring it on!”

And the River Goddess smiled, “and so it is.”

Mom and I rafting on the Yukon River

Paintings often look back to the masters that came before them and we looked to our leaders too. Lin and Jill, the wisdom of your steady guidance made the journey so very rich. Thank-you for your many, many talents – for your generous and compassionate critiques and responses to our needs.  I always felt safe and well cared for and that is a priceless gift.

Many of the most fascinating contemporary paintings I’ve seen are collaborations and I feel so blessed to have shared this milestone experience with each and every one of you my sister paddlers.
Adventure cups were given to each paddler for daily  happy hour celebrations.

Adventure cups were given to each paddler for daily happy hour celebrations.

Mama Bear – I can hardly believe we did this together. You have always been my heroine and I’m so happy to have shared this particular experience with you. You may only wear a size 61/2 shoe but you leave awfully big bear paws to fill!  I love you with all my heart. 

Lastly, I want to thank my good friend and travelling partner Dolores. You are the reason I am here today and able to say I am a paddler. I felt your presence every step of the way and I can’t wait to share a paddling experience with you.

When Lin gave out the adventure cups I wasn’t sure the Warrior cup was a fit for me.  I should have trusted what I am so quick to tell others – that “I always have everything I need”. I am proud to drink from the Warrior cup now.

There is an African proverb that says, “we make our paths by walking them.” Thank you all for sharing my path.

Janet Stanley

Press Release for 24 x 12 Exhibition Curated by Harold Klunder, Flesherton Art Gallery, Flesherton, ON, 2004






Curated by Harold Klunder

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Hans Hoffman, American Abstract Expressionist, 1880-1966

Clearly, the influence of artist and art teacher Harold Klunder has touched the lives and work of the 12 artists showing together at the Flesherton Art Gallery this fall. For several years, a group of artists in the broader Dufferin County region have been soliciting the mentorship of this Dutch born Canadian artist.   Twelve of these committed to 3 separate weeks of painting planned to culminate in a group show in Klunder’s hometown of many years, Flesherton.  The name of the show, “24X12” stems from their plan to work with Harold to select 2 paintings from each artist to show.

Well recognized for his significant artistic vision, Klunder is also a gifted teacher in the true sense of the word.  He shares his personal quest for authenticity with a unique talent for guiding students to their own strengths and visions in a cooperative versus competitive environment.  Like ‘The Alchemist’s’ author, Paulo Coelho who claims, “for the warrior, there is no ‘better’ or ‘worse’; everyone has the necessary gifts for his particular path”, Klunder insists that the power lies within the individual to create unique work.  Artists working with Harold Klunder find themselves delving deeper into their own psyches to mine the wealth of ideas they inevitably find there.  Each of the artists in “24X12” shares a passion for painting and a thirst for exploring the medium in depth.  It’s no wonder they were drawn to Klunder whose “lifelong infatuation with the voluptuous physicality of pure pigment has established him as a master Canadian painter.” (James D. Campbell, 2000)

October 22 – November 22, 2004, Opening Reception: Friday October 22, 7:30 to 10:00 pm Flesherton Art Gallery, 22 Collingwood Street, Flesherton, Ontario NOC 1E0.  519-924-3560 


Yukon Art Expedition, Country Routes Article, December 1999 

Canada’s Yukon Inspires Artists from Orangeville and Area

Story by Janet Stanley

There are strange works done, on a Canoe North Run,

By the souls who dare wield a brush.

Their pallets are crowned and the colours abound,

In a whole new kind of Gold Rush.

With marker for paddles, their sketchbooks the straddle,

Adrift in their seats in the wild.

They stare and they gaze in a glorious haze,

As the Yukon bewitches its child.

Except from The Creation of Art Yukon.  By Janet Stanley with all due respect to Robert Service.   

Canada’s northern wilderness has been stirring the poetic heart of travelers from around the world for centuries. Every year, thousands make the trek to the pristine shores and mountain ranges of the land of the midnight sun. 

This year, eight visual artists from the Orangeville and surrounding area were privileged to travel with artist and wilderness guide Allan Pace, owner and founder of Farmhouse Pottery and Canoe North Adventures.  As anyone who has been there will tell you, it is impossible to visit this magnificent arctic land without being deeply touched and even transformed with awe and gratitude. 

Arriving in Whitehorse August 5, the group relished 10 spectacular days of sketching, painting and photographing the breathtaking and often remote vistas. Beginning with the historic Miles Canyon, they journeyed up through Kluane Park and the Haines Junction stopping to paint at Lake Kathleen and then on to Dawson City and the Dempster Highway.

The undeniable highlight of the trip was a savoury day of painting in the glorious and snow-covered mountaintops overlooking Kluane Lake.  The exhilarating helicopter ride up set the stage for the dazzling display of sunlight and ever-changing cloud cover that enveloped the mountain. Surely this is the resting place of the angels.

No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands till long enough for the photographer to It has chosen.  Minor White

Julia Cameron writes in her book, The Artist’s Way, Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using it is our gift back to God.  In a celebration of the joyful task of attempting to give back, the clay pots, paintings in oil, acrylic, chalk, water colour and mixed media are on display and for sale at Farm House Pottery, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until December 24th, 1999.

Participating Artists: Allan Pace, Carla Pace, Jim Stewart, Kai-Liis McInnis, Dolores Greco, Janet Stanley, Kathleen Davis-Baas, Anne Naylor and Hal Henry.

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Giving Back


Giving and sharing are the foundation of my practice and I'm delighted to be able to support organizations like the Unstoppable Foundation which strives to ensure every child has access to education.  Over the years I have donated works of art in support of several hospitals, survivor groups, environmental and gallery fundraisers like the MacDonald Stewart Art Gallery now known as The Art Gallery of Guelph.