(revised May, 2013. Go to Recognition + Awards, and News-Events pages for current information and updates)
I am Janet Mach Dutton. I was born the oldest of 7 children. I spent my childhood in the
suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. At the age of ten, I was
in a car accident that killed my mother and 2 siblings
an appreciation of life for me at an early age). My father remarried when I was twelve, divorced before I was eighteen and passed
away in 1991. He was my best friend. I am sorry he is not
here to share in my success and my life.
At fourteen, I won a scholarship to a summer art camp at Kansas University. My dad put me on a train (alone) in Detroit, I
train terminals in Chicago and was picked up in Lawrence, Kansas at 1 am and taken to campus (this would never
today’s world). In high school, I was awarded “governors choice” and my artwork was hung at the state
capitol’s office. I graduated
fourth out of 246 in my high school class , voted “most likely to succeed” and “most honest”.
I saved baby sitting money
to buy a Sears sailboat ($200) and spent whatever free time I had in the
summers sailing on Lake St. Clair. I held
jobs as a waitress, seat belt factory sewer, US postal carrier(on foot) through the fish
fly covered streets, and student cook. I
graduated with honors from Michigan State University
after transferring from Eastern Michigan University, and continued on
to earn a Masters Degree in art education, got married, and
after one year working as a advertising assistant at a
Woolco store in Williamsburg, Va., took a teaching job with Bendle schools
(Flint, Mi suburb) teaching arts and culture
to 6-12th grade students. I also taught some community classes in pottery and silk
to adults in nearby communities.
During my teaching years I was 9th grade class and student council sponsor, JV girls
speedball coach (never knew what
speedball was until I read the rules book), and JV girls basketball coach. One of those girls I
twenty years later became my sister-in-law. During that time I also was a member of the Grand Blanc Arts
Guild and served
on the board of Flint’s Left Bank Art Gallery where I sold my pottery and serigraphy. Just before I retired in 2000, one
of my students
came back to give me a hug and thank me for teaching him how to draw. He had come back to Flint to get his GED, after spending
years as a successful tattoo artist in San Francisco.
Some things I learned about life: live today, knowing that there may not be a tomorrow (not in excess, but to its fullest). Experience life using all your senses! Find and enjoy the special talent that you have been given. My joy is in SEEING and TOUCHING. My talent is interpreting information and sharing it through my art media. Hopefully you will experience the CHARACTER I observe on an everyday basis. I find it surprisingly when it is least expected, so I am always with camera ready to capture the moment.
In 1989, I met my present husband after answering a personal ad in the newspaper. I sent him a list of the ten ideals I wanted from a man, the most important one. was I wanted a BEST FRIEND. He replied (told himself he could fake most of my ideals), took me to dinner, ran me (not to my knowledge) through a series of tests (food, interests, adaptability, teenagers, adventure etc.). I must have passed, because eight months later we were married. We blended Jerry's four children to my three to make a "Brady Bunch". Since turning 40 and marrying Jerry, we have shared a new world filled with awesome experiences. I have learned to downhill ski which has taken me on trips to Switzerland, Italy, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, and Canada and to snorkel (practiced in the bathtub first) and scuba dive. I made over 130 dives taking underwater pictures in the Caribbean and Coral Seas, Great Barrier Reef of Australia, New Zealand's eastern coast, Mexico, and Hawaiian Islands.
Jerry’s kids: Gretchen, Michael, Todd, Robin
Janet up from a dive
Janet with koala In
Sailing foul weather
+Jerry New Zealand
We retired from our jobs in 2000, after sailing the great lakes for 10 years in a Morgan 30' ill- equipped-ocean-racer and moved all our "stuff" to Cape Coral, Florida. I decided to take up watercolors as my new art medium because it would easily travel. My first watercolor class was in Flint, Mi with Jim Ames just before changing our residence to Cape Coral, Florida. During this same time period, we bought a 50 foot ketch rigged sailboat, "Begin Again", and spent months in the Florida keys waiting for the weather to come around so we could cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. Instead of going to the Bahamas, we had friends from Canada who invited us to cruise around the west end of Cuba. We sailed close to five months, enjoying the ports of Jamaica, Southern Haitian waters, and the Cayman islands before returning to our back door in Florida.
In 2002 we sold the sailboat, bought a motor home and toured the New England coast and the Midwest. That's when I began to paint! Since then I have continued to paint when and where ever I can. We have sailed on the Alaskan intercoastal, Nile, and Yangtze rivers; crossed a Tibetan river in a yak-skinned boat; walked the great wall of China; snow mobiled Yellowstone National Park; canoed through cattle and bats in Belize; swung from vines in the trees of St. Vincent island; ate mahi mahi (they called every fish they caught mahi mahi) on banana leaves on the beach in Dominica; lost our dinghy and wrestled with a 6 foot lobster(not kidding) in the BVI's; hiked to remote ruins(Tikal) in Guatemala; abseiled 400 meters into the lost world of New Zealand..and spent 3 hours in waterfalls, full wet suits, crawling through narrow passages on hands and knees, climbing vertical walls to get back to the surface. I have touched a glacier in Alaska, rode a camel on the Sahara desert, backpacked Europe, mistakenly took a boat to Ischia instead of Capri, rode the canals of Venice in a gondola and the cable cars of San Francisco, dove the kelp beds in Monterey, got seasick and aborted a dive in Curacao (ate a local pizza with raisins and fish there that was wonderful!) caught a 44 LB halibut in Alaska, a 4 foot lesser hammerhead shark in Florida, a 45 LB striped marlin in Hawaii (watched the whales breech.when we weren't catching big fish), ate Peking duck (sliced head bones and all) in Beijing, toured light houses from the water in Maine, ate dinner with a moose, hugged a koala in Australia, got bit feeding a pelican on my dock in Florida, swam nose to nose with green turtles in Hawaii. stopped in awe to look at a lot of sites..wore a lei every day for 4 months, ate dim sum in China town, Honolulu, and drank a royal mai tai on Wakiki Beach every Sunday afternoon while we watched the surfers and beach goers. We will continue to stop long enough to smell the flowers along the way!
Janet in Egypt
Janet and Jerry at the Great Wall of China
I won my first award in 2003, ft. myers, florida (one year after i started painting) for the painting of a Lionfish. My brother-in-law, a retired artist/professor from Ottumwa, Iowa, gave me the best advise ever. " Paint 100 paintings as soon as you can." Good advise since i have found that wonderful things happen to my paintings each time i complete another 100. During our eleven year stay in Florida, I accumulated a total of nine watercolor signature memberships including NWS, TWSA, and WW.
Just after purchasing a summer place to park the motorhome in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in 2011, my husband discovered he was allergic to mold so we packed up our Florida belongings, sold the lot in N. Carolina and relocated to the DRY city of Tucson, Az, where we are currently residing. I joined the local Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild (SAWG) and the Arizona Watercolor Association (AWA). I am still looking for a gallery to represent me. I LOVE to paint....and the journey continues.....