Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jane Champagne Famous Artist,Author Teacher, Mentor and friend

Many people come into our lives.   Some leave a lasting impression.  Jane Champagne was such a person.   Jane was a Canadian, watercolour and oil plein aire painter.  She is the author of "Painting the Backroads of Ontario" and other books. I have studied with Jane for several Summers.  We painted in the town of Southampton, Ontario, in countryside surrounding Southampton and in the Saugeen Indian Reserve.  I own one of Jane's original watercolours which I treasure. I was with her when she painted it, so it has even more value. Jane had the most delightful cottage painted in cobalt blue with vivid red and trim. Her decor was shabby chic long, long before it was popular.  The floors sagged and there were books everywhere. Conversation was always interesting. The garden overflowed with Hollyhocks, delphiniums, phlox and perennial flowers of the English variety. She was a marvelous cook and could whip up a meal in a flash.  Jane lived in Paris France for serveral years as a young woman and we always teased that she had the French sense of style and joie de vivre. Another book by Jane is:  .Painting the Ontario landscape: A practical guide to working in watercolour on location (Paperback) by Jane Champagne (Author)

I last painted with Jane in the Autumn of 2007, when I was invited by Jane and members of the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto to a weekend at Southamton, at the Chantry Inn. Jane forever one who loved to promote others, nominated me for the Arts  Letters Club and she was beaming with pride that I had been juried to exhibit at the Florence Biennale. Jane had had numerous surgeries for skin cancer and had been feeling unwell for some time. She pulled herself together, all 6.0 feet and we both quietly slipped away from the group on Sunday morning and went to Aran Lake and painted together. It was a brisk, sunny October day and we had a wonderful time and both of us were very pleased with our paitings.

When painting outdoors, Jane always encouraged me to slip off my shoes, take some deep breaths and connect with "mother earth" before painting.   I told her, under no circumstances should she ask me to do this on our last session as it was quite chilly.  She laughed her hearty laugh.   Jane was always positive and I never heard her gossip or be malicious.  She was larger than life and a beautiful woman.

picture of Helen Tilston painting at Aran Lake in 2007 


Sadly, Jane died in the Spring of 2008.  I miss her very, very much.   I feel God blessed me with the opportunity to spend this last one time painting with her in 2007.  Till we meet again Jane, I will continue to paint, pray for you and thank God for the joy of knowing you.

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