Scene & Heard

Space: Janet Sweeney’s artistic frontier

SPRINGFIELD — Space. The final frontier. 

These are the voyages of art enthusiasts enjoying the space-themed paintings at the Willamalane Adult Activity Center. Instead of participating in the Second Friday Springfield Art Walk, WAAC is featuring one artist who is showing through Jan. 17. Lovers of space and all things celestial will get to enjoy Janet Sweeney’s art at the Island Park Gallery during that time. 

Sweeney has been painting galaxies and space for over 50 years. She believes art is in her genes as her mother and sister were also artists. 

“I used to lay outside on a lounge, in the summer months, just scanning the dark starlit skies. You eventually feel part of the vast expanse above you,” Sweeney said. 

Sweeney’s “Deep Space” can also be seen at WAAC. 

When Sweeney first started out creating her art, she used to sketch and plan. She says she used to “paint in a box,” but now paints with more freedom. 

“Ever since I started painting on large canvases, I start with an idea of the subject, and paint whatever flows on to the canvas,” she said.

A few fun facts about Sweeney:

• This 88-year old artist has lived in Springfield since 1967. 

Sweeney’s “Burst of Energy”

• Back in the ‘80s, Sweeney and her husband used to rent a duplex in North Springfield to famous author Theodore Sturgeon and his wife Jane. 

•  Sturgeon wrote science fiction novels as well as “Star Trek” episodes, including the famous “Amok Time” from the original series. Diehard Trek fans will remember the Kirk-Spock battle to the death in the Vulcan mating ritual from this memorable episode. Sweeney owns several of Sturgeon’s novels. “I have several signed paperbacks, etc. that I treasure,” she said. 

It seems fitting that an artist who paints space would have once lived next door to an author who wrote about space.

For Sweeney, artistic expression comes in all shapes and forms. 

“I believe we all have a God-given gift,” she said. “It may be gardening, art, writing, or even mechanical. There is an inner pull to use one’s talents for the benefit of mankind. It would be boring if every one of us knitted. We have different talents and should use our special gift.”

Although many of the paintings in Sweeney’s show focus on stars, she uses many of the same cloud techniques in her sky, landscape, and nature paintings that are also on display. 

In addition to being the featured artist at WAAC, Sweeney is also a member of the Emerald Art Center. One of her pieces received the most votes for the People’s Choice Award in November and will be on display during the month of December. 

In February, the Island Park Gallery will be joining the Art Walk once again with artwork of local Springfield artist Ellen Gabehart.



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