“Byways” by artist and Beaver alumna Trintje Jansen

Run: September 20 – October 11
Reception: Thursday, October 11, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Artist’s Statement
I don’t usually work from observation. I like maps and aerial views, so I sometime trace maps as a starting point and then work with color and composition as I wish. My seascapes are based on real places as starting-off points, then I improvise. Because they are unglazed, I can change my pieces radically with paint even after they are fired. My sister, Caroline Knox gives me the titles for my work.

Three artists I admire are Milton Avery, Albert Pinkham Ryder and Charles Simmons.  In Milton Avery I admire the open landscapes and use of color. I am drawn to Albert Pinkham Ryder’s meditative seascapes. I admire Charles Simmons because when I was a little girl I built little villages with sticks and found materials in the grass, and his work reminds me of making those villages. My work is unlike these artists, but I appreciate what they have contributed to my work.

More about Trintje Jansen
Trintje Jansen was associate professor of art education at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design for 26 years. She is currently an adjunct professor at Mass Art teaching a course called “Drawing for the First Time” through Continuing Education.  She majored in painting at Boston University and later received a master of art education from Antioch University.  She participates in the annual South Coast Artists Open Studios by opening her studio in Westport, Mass for the weekend event, and has an annual sale in December in Somerville, Mass.  Her work is represented in private collections including those of Corita Kent and Henry Horenstein.


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36 Responses to “Byways” by artist and Beaver alumna Trintje Jansen

  1. Peter Stack October 1, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    what tools did you use to create your artwork ?

    • trintje jansen October 17, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Hi Peter,
      I use a rolling pin to roll out a slab of clay, I then cut it to a rectangle with a knife.
      I make a little frame cutting more strips and score the frame with a needle tool, then join it to the slab with a wooden tool. I build the houses, hills, trees, etc., on top of the rectangle by hand.
      After the clay is fired I paint on it with acrylics and a brush. That part is the most fun for me.

  2. Kent Ellertson October 1, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Where are these placed, what landscape they are the made after?

    • trintje jansen October 17, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Some of my pictures are of real places and many of them are out of my head. I live near the ocean on a tidal river in southeastern Massachusetts, so some are views I can see. I also, as in the piece called “Androscoggin,” I trace parts of maps off nautical charts. Then I use these as a basic composition, but allow myself to change anything I want so the composition is one that I really like.
      I am strongly influenced by nature and how beautiful it is, as I am sure you can see.

  3. Rachel Feldman October 1, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    What made you decide to do a beach theme?

    • trintje jansen October 17, 2012 at 10:51 am #

      Hi Rachel,
      I love beaches and water and how they make me feel. They are, perhaps a metaphor for freedom and summer and sun. I spend time walking on beaches whenever I can. It is important for an artist to find what he or she is passionate about and wants to express, and in my art I think (and hope) one can see what I feel strongly about.

      • Rachel Feldman October 22, 2012 at 9:18 am #

        Your response was very inspiring and I really liked how you described how they are a metaphor. It really got me thinking about how I can incorporate meaning and symbolism in my own artwork. Does every piece that you have done have some sort of external or hidden meaning?

        • trintje jansen October 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

          Hmmm, Rachel. I have to think about that. I love the moon for one thing, perhaps because everyone sees it. I have a full moon party every June to
          watch the moon rise. I love water because of the light on it and how it changes and how it lets you float on it, and the silly things that people do in it like in the floating pictures. That reminds me of childhood. The maps started out as places that I know and changed into ones I don’t know so I can be freer with them and think of them more as abstract paintings, or painting that I can do anything I like with because I don’t know what is really there.
          What is the content of your artwork and have you thought about how you might inject more meaning into it or find meaning in what you have already done?

  4. Matthew Lapuck October 1, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Why the beach theme?
    This made me think of the mood of the morning light and laded out like a road map!
    What did made you think to lay it out like that?

    • Trintje Jansen October 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      Hi Matthew,
      I like what you said above about the morning light and the piece being like a road map. It is important to me to get feedback like that about my work. I have
      always liked maps and views from above and from airplanes. I also like topographical maps. As far as the beach theme, I have always lived near the water and I like what happens when water and land meet.

      • Matthew Lapuck October 22, 2012 at 9:16 am #

        Thank you for replying to my post, I think I can see the resemblance of a Topographical maps.

  5. Joseph Cohen October 1, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Why are all the pieces of art of water landscape?

    • Trintje Jansen October 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      Hi Joseph,
      This is a good question. As a matter of fact there is one piece in the exhibit, the little one in four pieces of dunes that has no water. I have had several people say I should do more pieces without water and I think I will do that. I just like
      seascapes in general, so that is why I make them so often.

  6. Charlie DeLorey October 1, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    What was your inspiration for these pieces? Where was the inspiration from? To me, these look like Cape Cod, somewhere with a seascape and swimmers.

    • Trintje Jansen October 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      Hi Charlie,
      Most of the pieces were made in Westport Mass, which is very much like the Cape. There are two rivers in Westport, so I incorporate rivers and marshes into my work. And people float along the rivers just as they do in my pictures. But, most of my work is out of my imagination, but referring to what I see.

  7. Maxwell Alva October 1, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    where was your starting map located

    • trintje jansen October 19, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      Hi Maxwell,
      This is a good question. My earliest maps are off nautical charts. I take little pieces of them and develop them into paintings. They started out as places I know, but a friend suggested I use nautical charts from places I do not know, because I would feel more freedom in painting my work. He was right. I got a nautical chart of the Androscoggin River in Maine and my work changed. I hope my art work will continue to change and evolve.

      • Maxwell Alva October 22, 2012 at 9:21 am #

        Thank you very much for your response Trintje.

  8. Henry White October 1, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    This reminded me of Cape Cod. What place were you thinking of when you made this?

    • trintje jansen October 19, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      Hi Henry,
      Westport, where I live, is very much like Cape Cod, but with rivers, so I am not surprised that my work reminds you of Cape Cod.

  9. Theo October 1, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Was there a place or places that inspired you while making these pieces?

    • trintje jansen October 19, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      Hi Theo,
      Yes, a good, much-asked question. I live in Westport, MA where there is lots of water and rivers and sand and rocks and ocean. A lot of what I do is out of my head, but occasionally I do something of a specific place. But, I don’t do the specific ones literally. I still use my imagination.

      • Theo October 22, 2012 at 9:18 am #

        I find a lot of what I do in class or outside of school is also inspired, yet the actual product is originally from my imagination. Occasionally I’ll try to write a story with a piece of art, which I do often in my sketchbook in class..

        • trintje jansen October 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

          Theo, that is funny that you say that about art telling a story because years ago a friend of mine called my work “narrative pottery,” sort of a joke, but I think my
          work is definitely narrative. You can imagine yourself in it. Another person called it “little worlds,” which I also like.

  10. Alea Laidlaw October 1, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Every piece had a different tone and mood yet I liked how the different pieces connected to each other. Did you create these pieces within the same period of time or over a couple weeks?

    • trintje jansen October 20, 2012 at 10:59 am #

      Hi Alea,
      What a perfect comment for an artist to hear. It seems as if you could recognize my work even when it expressed various moods or places. My work takes a long time because I have to build the clay, then build the landscape, then fire the clay, then paint on it with acrylic paint. The work was created over about three years. The most recent, the ones that are more like maps were created in the last year.

      • Alea Laidlaw October 22, 2012 at 9:24 am #

        Thank you for your response. I wanted to ask how did you stay motivated by this project and do you think you developed or changed your paintings as you worked?

        • trintje jansen October 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

          Hi Alea,
          I have to admit that I am often motivated by pressure. If there is a deadline,
          I will finish by that time. I like challenges. I can challenge myself to do new work, to think of new ideas. Because I knew when I had to finish everything that would be included in the Beaver exhibit, I worked hard on making new work. The map pieces are very different from my previous work. I used the exhibit as a mandate to do new work.
          I know artists who work on certain days every week, but since I teach as well, I tend not to work on my art every week.
          Thanks for making me think about this.

  11. Chloe October 1, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Do you paint from imagination or do you use some sort of model?

    • trintje jansen October 20, 2012 at 11:02 am #

      Hi Chloe,
      I paint mostly from my imagination, but sometimes I take a real view and distort it. One of the paintings in the exhibit is of the view out my window, but I made it more from the air so I could include the cows that I know are there, and I made the farmhouse lower down in the picture because I thought it would look better that way.

  12. Mollie Devins October 1, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Each piece of artwork was strongly defined by water or the gateway to water. I enjoyed watching how each picture progressed through the gallery, it reminded me of a flip book.

    Why do you show each piece of artwork in different perspectives/views?

    • trintje jansen October 23, 2012 at 10:56 am #

      Hi Mollie,
      I love your phrase “gateway to water,” and your idea that the exhibit is like a flip book. I think I make different views because I love maps, so I make views from the air, I like making art as we see the world, on our level, and I like (as in the people in the water), like to make the viewer feel as if he or she is right in the picture. Maybe on some level it is an expression as well of different points of view that always exist.

  13. Remi Shore October 1, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    What was your inspiration?
    How did you make it, and how long did it take?
    Did you reference something while making it? (Like a map)

    • trintje jansen October 23, 2012 at 11:03 am #

      Hi Remi,
      My inspiration is mostly nature, what I see around me. In addition to what you saw in the exhibit, I have made a series of garden pictures with rows of growing things. I love the colors that come at different seasons of the year. I do look at maps, but then I simply work on the piece as I would any painting. I allow myself to change anything I want in order to make a stronger painting.
      Each piece takes a long time, because I roll out a slab for the piece, make a frame and then build the ground, houses, etc. Then the piece is dried and fired and I begin painting. This can take a long time. It is hard to decide when it is finished.

  14. Mr. Ingenthron October 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    Trintje Jansen is going to visit our class on Thursday, October 11th, and we plan to generate and post a conversation responding to some of the student comments below. The concept of “where ideas come from” is an essential part of our class and department curriculum. Please join the conversation, we would benefit from hearing your perspective.

    Thank you

    Mr. Ingenthron
    Visual Arts Faculty

  15. Peter Ricci October 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Great story

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