Our first phase of Art on the Trail, a celebration of Landscapes inspired by the LHT, has come to a close. Now, it’s time to celebrate those inspiring contributions from local artists – professional and amateur, across various media, each creator taken with different scenes along our 22 miles of trail. Currently, we are accepting new art featuring LHT Flora and Fauna. Keep creating, we can’t wait to see your work. And, be sure to check out previously featured artists in our gallery for inspiration.
Janet Waronker, courtesy of the artist
Meet Janet Waronker – a Hopewell Township resident and retired art therapist and art teacher. Janet grew up creating art and now focuses on created and teaching watercolor painting. She loves the LHT, especially the big skies at Pole Farm, where you can see horizon to horizon.
LHT: Can you share a biography or Artist’s Statement?
Janet: I grew up in Philadelphia and completed my BFA at Tyler School of Fine Arts in painting and art education. I taught art in a Philadelphia public elementary school after graduation. Later I completed graduate school at Drexel University in creative arts therapy, shifted careers, and moved to the Princeton area for work. I’ve been living here the past 35 years. The past ten in Hopewell Township.
Over the course of my career, I have maintained a psychotherapy private practice, and regularly led group counseling and creative arts therapy groups. I teach yoga at Princeton Adult School and watercolors at Arts Council of Princeton. Since retiring, I enjoy devoting time to art-making, taking workshops, and painting with artist friends.
My paintings have been included in many area juried shows over years. Three pieces are currently in online shows at Garden State Watercolor Society and Phillips Mill Art Association.
LHT: How long have you been creating? What inspired you to start or restart creating art?
Janet: I feel like I always drew and painted. My parents were very supportive of my art interests and wanted to nurture my skills. Growing up I got to take wonderful art classes through a public school-sponsored Saturday program and at the art museum. I’m very grateful my parents were behind me when I applied to art school.
My engagement with painting was sporadic after collage, but took off after I moved to New Jersey. The love of painting and drawing got a reboot when I took adult classes and discovered excitement in learning watercolor. I was inspired by studying with wonderful local teachers, Elizabeth Lombardi and Marge Chavooshian particularly. Watercolor has been my medium of choice for the past 25 years. It continues to be both a challenge and joy.
LHT: What is your preferred medium or media?
Janet: Watercolor has been my medium of choice for the past 25 years. It continues to be both a challenge and joy.
Mercer Meadows, November, courtesy of the artist
A beautiful summer morning painting in the shade of a tree need the water, watching others (minding their physical distance) fishing, walking and biking, a peaceful respite from these Covid-19 days, watercolor completed at Rosedale Lake, 6/25/20, 9×12”, courtesy of the artist
LHT: Is all your artwork inspired by nature?
Janet: Very much so. I get out and walk in natural settings and experience the rhythms and changes of the light in landscape, the skies, the trees, and those memories inform my work directly and indirectly. I’m inspired by nature and have a definite emotional relationship to it. Those experiences are infused in art-making process. Painting on-site is my favorite way to work; but I sometimes finish it up at home. In colder weather, I’m indoors working from memories, photos, and sketches. I’m especially grateful I’m able to spend time in open spaces and connect with nature. During these past six months the LHT and paining have been a balm. An art focus during these difficult times is a gift.
LHT: What about the LHT inspires you? What are your favorite segments?
Janet: I love walking on the trail, paying attention to the changing trees, sky, and earth. I feel connected to others and to something greater than myself. It is a joy. I particularly like when I get to a spot when the sky in wide open and you can see from horizon to horizon. Sometimes, at sunset, you can see the setting sun in the west and full moon rising in the east over the farm from the Pole Farm walking down the hill toward the red barn. I paint near the lake at Mercer Meadows and at the Lawrenceville School.
Gossip (on Shirley’s Farm), Ringoes, courtesy of the artist
LHT: How did you discover the LHT?
Janet: When I moved to Hopewell Township, I discovered the trail on a tour of a newly opened section near the red barn and tree farm on Cold Soil Road. I was hooked. I found an entrance a mile from home and my favorite routes go through Mercer Meadows, Maidenhead Meadows, the Reed Bryan Farm and the Pole Farm. The trail is a treasure. We are so fortunate to have so much space preserved for us to roam.
LHT: Do you have advice or messages for other artists (adults, kids, novices, pros) encouraging them to get outside and create art inspired by the LHT?
Janet: From my own experience working with adults learning watercolors, I encourage students to sketch outside and start small. It can be overwhelming.
My advice to self is to pay attention, relax and breathe! It’s only paint! I find it is important to focus on the creative process, not on how it should look. Give the inner critic a rest, connect with nature your natural playful curiosity.
Farm Store at Terhune’s, courtesy of the artist
Lavender, courtesy of the artist
Daisy Fleabane, courtesy of the artist
Cape May Point Park, courtesy of the artist
Janet Waronker, courtesy of the artist
Red Sunset, courtesy of the artist