Q & A with Janette K. Hopper and Charles Kernan by Nydheri Brown

I wrote Visible Spectra artists, Janette K. Hopper and Charles Kernan, and they were kind enough to answer some questions for me. Before I even knew they were married, I saw a connection between their pieces, because the settings—the trees and waterways—were similar. I’m really inspired by how they use art to speak for the environment.

Ten percent of the profits from this show go to Cape Fear River Watch!

NB: How do you scope out your location for taking your photographs or paintings? Are any of the locations chosen to make a statement, such as landscapes that are not being protected?

JKH: I am inspired by what I see and the light at the particular moment. Some [pieces] I paint plein air and others I finish in the studio, or create in the studio but inspired by colors and effects of clouds, etc. that I have seen and recognize in the paint.

I really appreciate any wild places as I am inspired by the beauty and quiet that I find there. I hope that people will also appreciate the beauty of nature and the landscape because then I hope they will want more parks and to protect the environment.

The idea of giving a percentage of the profits of this show to the Cape Fear River Watch is wonderful because it will help give a voice through my art to protecting our source of water and also recreation and renewal.

I hope to give a voice through my art to encourage everyone to get involved in aiding in the conservation and stewardship of the earth. I did go to a location on the Cape Fear River to inspire several paintings and I just walk around and get inspired by a particular view.

CK: Locations for photography are not normally chosen beforehand (unless you count sunsets).  They are found almost accidently as I explore nature.

NB: (To Charles Kernan) For Sun Rays, how did you get the outline of the rocks to be so dark? Is the contrast due to lighting or did you use a special technique or camera setting to achieve this contrast?

CK: The camera was set to properly expose the sky.  The rocks are underexposed so they are dark, almost black.

NB: (To Janette K. Hopper) Why did you name the painting River Poem?

JKH: My paintings are influenced by the Romantic Movement in Art where the artist believed that their feelings and moods were reflected in the art… It was not just a surface picture of a particular place, but showed a sense of place or a place in the heart to be recognized by the viewer. This painting has that feeling of awe, feeling and grandeur sought out by the painters of that era. It is a double language just as a poem.

NB: Is the tree in Under the Oak (painting by JKH) and Reaching Madrone (photograph by CK) the same tree?

JKH: The oak tree in the painting is inspired by a particular oak next to the Cape Fear River near Fort Fisher. Each tree is so different… Each tells the story of its life. Colors are influenced by light and so the surface color becomes influenced by that…Imagine if I painted four trees at different times of day. Each one would be different colors. Monet did that with hay stacks.

CK: The Reaching Madrone tree is on Orca Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.  I came upon it while hiking and thought the red and green bark contrasted with the water and hillside [and thought that] would make a nice photograph.  Fortunately I was correct this time.