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Photo: Tasha Tolliver


We are very excited to present our first Art Opening of 2018!  “Dual Expressions” is a collection of more than 60 paintings and photographs by abstract artist Janie Pinney and photographer Liz Clayton. When Liz & Janie discovered a shared passion for using flowers as inspiration in their art – they joined together in a unique collaboration and created a stunning body of work available on April 2nd!
PH: How did you team up for the concept of “Dual Expressions”?
JP:  I heard Liz speak for a garden club meeting at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens last year, and was so drawn to her beautiful photographs. Many had abstract qualities, and I thought a joint show juxtaposing photos with paintings would be fun. I’m thankful that Palette is making that happen. Liz thought of the concept “Dual Expressions”.
LC:  I’ve got to give Janie all of the credit for getting us together.  I happened to be giving a presentation on flower photography and she was in the audience. I didn’t meet her then, but several weeks later, she contacted me to see it she could possibly paint some of my flower photographs.  Janie also proposed the idea that we might do a show together. We met, and our personalities and artistic styles clicked immediately.
PH: Has anything surprised you about this collaborative process?
JP: It was great to have such interesting references. Once I got started, a stream of consciousness started to flow, and I had to work hard to narrow down all the perspective ideas. I found myself wanting to do several versions of each of Liz’s photographs.
LC: Not really. Never having done something like this before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
PH: Describe how your creative energy was the same or different for this particular body of work?
JP: I approached each painting with an open mind. It helped to spend time with each photo taped on the studio wall so that I could see it often. I let them marinate for a while and ideas would evolve and change over time. This work was less spontaneous in the beginning and evolved as it progressed.
LC: Compositionally,  I look for simplicity among chaos.  My favorite subjects include landscapes, flowers and  abstract macro (close-up) photography.
PH:Do you have a favorite color to use in your paintings or a color you avoid?
JP: I love all blues, but these paintings are bathed in shades of pink because mother nature loves pink! I rarely use black, but make it work with other colors.
LC: Although my flower photography is very colorful, that’s not what draws me in.  It’s more about light, lines and shapes.
PH:What’s your advice about how to be creative?
JP: Don’t get stifled by following rules, and learn how to trust what moves you.
LC: I think it is especially important to allow time to experiment and try new ideas and techniques.
PH:Do you have a favorite flower?
JP: I love peonies but I don’t have a favorite flower to paint. I tend to gravitate to flowers with loose construction.
LC: I gravitate to tiny flowers – ones no larger than your thumbnail. Many of these are flowers that you might normally walk past without really noticing. I also love flowers with interesting centers, my current favorite is the Chocolate Vine.
PH:Describe your garden, if you have one.
JP: It’s always a work in progress. Each year I take some things out and add a few. My peonies are all placed together in a bed and I love the drama that they create when they bloom. If only they lasted longer. I really enjoy learning about gardening and floral design.
LC: I don’t have much in my garden that I photograph. But I find plenty of subjects to shoot in parks, botanical gardens, forest floors and neighbors’ yards. One January, so desperate for subjects, I once brought my car to a screeching halt next to a highway to shoot a dandelion puff.
PH:What is something you do to relax?
JP: Practicing yoga, meditating, or painting.
LC: I love hiking in the mountains with friends and sharing a meal afterward.
PH:Do you have a favorite thing you’ve created?
JP: I honestly don’t have a favorite, but rather try to find something valid in each painting I create.
LC: Currently my favorite photo is what I originally thought was a “throwaway.”  It’s a simple, black and white photo of a winding country road leading to a lone pine tree.
PH:What are you currently reading?
JP: Anxious For Nothing by Max Lucado.  A good artist friend recommended it.
LC: I’m currently reading Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford
PH:What is one thing about yourself that might surprise even your closest friends?
JP: I almost always cheat during Lent.
LC: Some of my good friends don’t realize that I’m an introvert.
PH:Describe the last trip you took that you were truly inspired?
JP: Just last week I attended a painting workshop with an artist from Colorado, Ken Elliott, and eight women. Ken was incredibly inspiring, and I learned equally from each of the other participants. It’s wonderful food for the soul to share the love and appreciation of making art.
LC: A few years ago I spent a month in eastern Washington State photographing the Palouse.  It’s a gorgeous 3,000 square mile region of rolling hills. Some say it’s a little like Tuscany, but instead of vineyards, there are wheat and canola fields.
PH:What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
JP: I like to paint once I’ve attended to necessary daily tasks. Music is a must while working, and I look for inspiration in every day experiences and rituals. I’m not prone to painting at night, but have found myself lingering in the studio late when something about a painting seems to bother me.
LC: I have a very hard time doing a final edit on the photo . . . there’s always one more thing.
PH:How has your style of painting changed over the years?
JP: I think I’ve gotten more spontaneous and less self conscience in my approach.
LC: My work has become more abstract and less mainstream.
PH: Thank you Janie & Liz for giving us a little glimpse into your creative worlds! And sharing “Dual Expressions” with us – we can’t wait for the show!



Art has always been an important part of my life. If I had to label my current painting style, I would say first and foremost I am a colorist. Color is often the first catalyst which drives me in the beginning of a painting, and the rest tends to fall in line. I find daily influences from people, images, experiences, and nature; and my recent focus has had an abstract approach with occasional floral references. Oils are my preferred medium, but I love to experiment with different forms of mixed media to create layers, texture, and depth.

I have learned so much from workshops, teachers, and fellow artists over the years and am always looking ahead to build upon that knowledge. I think allowing space to be vulnerable has been an important aspect of growth for me, and I want to continue to push myself in order to progress. There is relief in letting go of certain rules and boundaries as it makes room for experimentation and expression.

I am beyond fortunate to have a wonderful husband and three daughters who I adore. They are constant sources of encouragement . I am so excited to continue to explore with abstract and traditional painting in hopes of evoking some sort of a connection that would be compelling. It’s a wonderful way to lose track of time and as Picasso said….”brush away from the soul the dust of every day life”.


Liz was born and raised in Virginia. She has a master’s degree in engineering and she was once told by a supervisor that she wasn’t very creative.   Years later, Liz realized he was wrong — she was just in a career that stifled her creativity.

Liz has always loved the solitude of the outdoors — the mountains, the beach or even her own backyard.  It is not surprising then, that as a photographer, she gravitates to flowers and landscapes.

When Liz started photography about eight years ago, she thought that pictures of flowers were basically “throwaways”. Her mindset was that flowers are naturally beautiful, so anyone should be able to take a good photo. It wasn’t until she happened upon an image of yellow lilies by Canadian photographer Ursula Abresch that she saw that, if done well, flower photos can be special and unique — and sometimes extraordinary. Since then, Liz has crafted her technique into something she calls “flower portraiture.”  She takes the same care in photographing a single bloom as a traditional portrait photographer would with a person.

As Liz developed as a photographer, her work has taken on a more ethereal and painterly style. She experiments with subjects, perspective, lenses, camera settings and editing techniques.  When she looks through the lens, she tries to look beyond what’s there, and envision what the final photograph could be.  In recent years, Liz finds herself being drawn to more abstract photography — seeing the world as lines, shapes, and patterns — and not as specific objects. She says it’s her way of bringing order to a very chaotic world.

Janie Pinney paintings and Liz Clayton photography will be shown at Palette Home Richmond the month of April, and available for purchase beginning April 2nd.






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