Through Her Eyes
By Jeanie Casison | Photos by Noah Rosen
Artist Jane Waterous captivates the imagination with colorful and whimsical works at the One&Only Palmilla
“Everything that matters happens when people come together,” according to internationally renowned artist Jane Waterous. While most of the creative spark takes place in her studio on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, her vibrant pieces can be found all over the world, gracing galleries, foundations, corporations and the homes of Hollywood A-listers, Fortune 500 executives, athletes, politicians, royals and avid art collectors. These days, select works from her signature series “Gatherings” continue to delight everyone who encounters the inspiring three-dimensional paintings at the One&Only Palmilla in San José del Cabo, Mexico.
Connection, joy and wonder are prominent themes in the “Gatherings” collection, and anyone glancing at the sculpture-like figures jumping from the canvas can’t help but feel a sense of awe, happiness and curiosity to know more.
Unlike other contemporaries whose art draws on darker subjects, Waterous’ work celebrates life, movement and the everyday moments that make it all worthwhile. “All my work is positive and the “Gatherings” series in particular has to do with the human connection. Anywhere people come together for whatever reason is an inspiration. I hope that my art brings the magic to someone’s environment,” she says.
An Ongoing Journey
Originally from Canada, Waterous has been drawing and creating art since she was old enough to hold a pencil. “Art has been in my heart since I was very young. When I was four, I would sit down and copy a Rembrandt.” she recalls fondly. Her natural gift led to her study fine art in university, before working as an art director, and going back to school for film at New York University. Eventually, she moved to the Bahamas and has been painting ever since.
As for seminal experiences that help to shape her work, Waterous has many but recognizes travel as quite impactful, whether it’s exploring Asia, Europe, Mexico or elsewhere. “There is absolutely a connection between travel and art. Different regions have different styles. Some styles transcend culture and speak to people no matter where they are. I consider myself a universal artist, and my work is very global.”
Along with connection, there is another element evident. “In the Gatherings series, many points in life have directed it, but love is a constant theme throughout. I am always surrounded by family and friends, and by love, and I want to pay that forward in my art,” she says.
With all of her diverse styles, Waterous demonstrates an ability to capture the human spirit on different levels. For instance, the “Into the Blue” series featuring kids and adults jumping from the end of a dock stems from cherished childhood memories. On the other side of the spectrum, “Morse Code,” created after a conversation with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, Waterous reinterprets notable speeches, songs and poems with striking patterns of dots and dashes, and starts a provoking dialogue in a unique and subtle way.
The recent collaboration with the One&Only Palmilla came to be when Managing Director Peter Bowling invited Waterous to do a show after originally being featured at the One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas. “I was excited and honored to do it. It was very successful. The people there are extraordinary and the staff is phenomenal,” recalls Waterous on her positive experience.
Given that connecting with others is so important to the artist, having “Gatherings” at the One&Only Palmilla seems rather fitting. “I can’t say enough about my time in Mexico. The people are authentic, genuine and endearing. I loved the property. Peter is brilliant and an inspiration,” she says.
Reflecting on her time there, Waterous recalls relishing the mornings to observe the tranquil surroundings. “I would wake up every day, go to the balcony and watch the sun rise and the whales in the distance; and the fishing boats, that could inspire a whole series itself. The boats riding in with the waves and tides, easing back into the ocean. Everything about the place is inspiring, every person, every gathering. I loved every minute of it, not just as a visitor but as an artist.”
Always evolving, Waterous is working on a few projects at the moment including new sculptures, but what she is currently most passionate about is her work with Lalela, a foundation in South Africa founded by Andrea Kerzner, that is committed to providing educational arts for at-risk youth to spark creative thinking and awakening the entrepreneurial spirit. “What I am most excited about right now is heading up a group with Lalela. I’m overseeing the summer program that involves hundreds of kids making self-portraits and full body paintings, and we’re going to install their work throughout Cape Town and unveil it on Nelson Mandela Day.”
In the same way that Waterous is inspired by people, places and connection, it’s not difficult to be drawn to her, whether it’s seeing her work for the first time or just engaging in friendly conversation. She is an artist of depth, and an exciting one to follow – so until the next gathering.