"As I made this transition from the business world into a full–time painter’s life, I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron — a book that changed the way I thought about my creativity.Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes also had a huge influence on me. It was there that I read the Handless Maiden folktale,which echoed the quest I was on to discover what I was meant to do. I suppose most women can find elements of their own lives in the Handless Maiden story.
"As part of my quest to become a painter I even changed my name. I was born Shirley Jeanne Robinson, but had been called Jeanie by my family as a child. I decided that to go forward as a new person I wanted to reclaim what that child used to be. Imagine how hard it was to get everyone who had ever known me as Shirley to start calling me Jeanie — including my husband!
"I paint to explore the significance of ideas, memories, events, feelings, dreams and images that seem to demand my closer attention. Some of the themes I investigate emerge first in the poems I write. Literature, folktales, and myths often inspire my exploration of the feminine archetype. My figures often bear the scars and imperfections, that, to me, characterize the struggle to become.
"In my work I use oils, acrylic, pencil and thin glazes to create a multi–layered surface that may be scratched through, written on, or painted over to reveal and excavate the images that feel right for the work. In reclaiming and reconstructing areas of the canvas, the process of painting becomes analogous to having a second chance at your life, this time a little closer to the heart’s desire."