Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
Caroline Spalding
Features Correspondent
11:13 AM 30th June 2020

The Artistry Of Lancashire: Janette Cross

Janette Cross would be the first to describe her work as ”random”. Whereas most artists will adopt a particular style, technique or subject matter, Janette appears to really indulge her creativity by pursuing whatever tempts her fancy. Similar to many artists, however, Janette’s art is very much a personal response.

Sometimes her work could be described as abstract, figurative, even surreal. Her focus is on the use of colour – colour can express so much, so that to some extent, the subject matter becomes less important. She uses mostly acrylic paints, and has in the past experimented with acrylic pours (as we saw last week with the work of Mark J Ratcliffe). She creates prints using the technique of lino cutting. Lino cutting is essentially a printing process – creating a template from a design cut into linoleum and using the lino to make prints using inks – Janette uses the process to print on paper, fabric, card and canvas.

Janette draws inspiration from the joy art brings her in the “good times” and the peaceful distraction it can provide in the not-so-good times. Usually working as a support worker for adults with learning difficulties, she has, since April, been on furlough and has taken the time to add a number of paintings to her portfolio. Art has also provided a form of therapeutic support during this period of uncertainty – and she knows she is not alone in this response to challenging times.

Collection of Janette's acrylic work
Collection of Janette's acrylic work
In the near future Janette hopes to channel her creativity into the provision of art therapy courses – ideally overseas. She has completed three art therapy diplomas and a diploma in cognitive behavioural therapy to equip herself for this endeavour. Whilst the concept of using art to cope with personal issues is not new, it would appear that lockdown has certainly broadcast the message of art’s therapeutic potential to a much wider audience.

Janette has lived her whole life in Lancashire and in some indefinable way believes that the county has an innate influence on her work. There is a huge variety in the style, subject matter and technique of active artists in Lancashire but believes there is a shift towards more “personal art” i.e. commissioned portraits and also the growth of “art commodities” - the sale of cushions, tiles and crockery. For Janette, she sometimes feels that art plays an important role in the modern world, at other times it sometimes appears to have less impact on the prevailing zeitgeist. But ultimately, Janette believes that art should be used to connect people, effect change, allow for the expression of individuality and emotional response.

Art can also provide escapism. Janette concedes her “random” style might impair her work’s recognisability to the wider world, but it simultaneously doesn’t restrict or curb her imagination by setting the boundaries of style into which a piece must fit. It also helps Janette to avoid being “stuck in a rut” – the visual artists’ equivalent of writers’ block. She holds deep regard for the work of Salvador Dali – perhaps best known for his ‘dripping clock’ images. His surrealist work conveys what Janette describes as “mind-blowing ideas and creativity; it communicates freedom” and it is that freedom that art so wonderfully allows us to explore.

Whilst not yet a ‘professional’ full-time artist, Janette is making steps towards establishing her presence in the art world more firmly. She would have been exhibiting last month had it not been for lockdown; but hopes that next year she can once again show her work at the local pavilion, located within Ashton Gardens in Lytham St Anne’s, which is known for the shows it puts on.

Janette has also shown and sold her work at other art fairs in the region. Much of her work, so far, sells thanks to word of mouth, and she receives commission requests through Facebook. In usual times her art pops up at many local fairs and shows held in community centres and as part of events, more often than not advertised locally. Janette has set up a Facebook page, where her work can be viewed, admired and purchased: She also advertises upcoming fairs and exhibitions in which she is taking part via this platform and her page – she can also be found on Instagram @janettesart. Janette intends to establish a dedicated website in due course, so watch this space.