I enjoy the meditative qualities of creating mosaic art, but I am also drawn to the great versatility and challenges of the medium. I tend to create a story for each of the mosaics that I create — a story that is written in my mind as the creation progresses. Much of my work is abstract or surreal in nature, but I also create semi-representational art. I tend toward ambiguity in my pieces, and I enjoy it when folks share their personal reactions to my creations.
Glass has great appeal for me because its reflectivity changes depending upon the lighting and the angle of viewing. Different glass has different reflective qualities, and the challenge is to find the most effective combinations. I use an assortment of materials, analogous in some ways to the pallet of a traditional canvas artist. The combinations of colors and textures of glass can spark my creative process, along with the shapes that I can create.
Science and the natural world is a starting point for many of my mosaics, although I often take reality and tweak it. I enjoy interjecting humor into my work, and I sometimes try to come up with playful titles. I also may use this medium to make serious comments on our world or the environment, and I pay attention to the emotional content and work to elicit certain feelings.
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Jane Russell was born in San Francisco, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she and her husband raised two children, who have so far produced four lovely grandchildren. Prior to falling in love with mosaics, she worked as a school psychologist. While she enjoyed the work, she was quite happy to retire and pursue other interests, especially after some years of working while also caring for her ailing husband, who died at an early age.
It took her a few years of exploring to find something that really spoke to her, but find it she did in 2010, when she decided to make a gift for her then boyfriend, now husband. She took a class in mosaics, got hooked, and continued to gain skills by taking a number of workshops from an assortment of mosaic artists. She first publicly exhibited her work at Burning Man 2013 and her “Fire Dance” mosaic was subsequently featured at the Burning Man headquarters in San Francisco.
Jane’s training in psychology explains her delight when observing reactions to her work – she views her mosaics as a sort of “ink blot” test. She appreciates the patience required when creating mosaics, finding the process somewhat meditative.
She has exhibited her work in California at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Berkeley; Snapshot Mosaics in Oakland; Diablo Fine Art Gallery in Walnut Creek ; and Martinez Gallery in Martinez. She has also exhibited work at the Contemporary Mosaic Artists juried Summit Exhibition in Ashland, Oregon.
Her work is currently on exhibit and for sale at the Placerville Art Gallery, 352 Main Street, Placerville, California. The gallery is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Gallery phone: 530-295-1100. She is also available to work on commission.
Jane remarried in 2014, and currently lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area.