While living as a child in Germany, Jane was introduced to some of the world’s great museums. However, nothing captured her attention as much as the Andrew Wyeth painting, The Milk Shed. She was transfixed by this beautiful work hanging at the Birmingham Museum of Fine Arts, in her hometown. To this day, she can still recall the quality of light passing through the layers of pigment.
In Shea’s early twenties, she drove to Wyeth’s studio in Chadd’s Ford, PA. Her intention was to tell him how he had inspired her to become an artist, but ultimately felt too shy to knock on the door. Instead, she plucked a blade of grass from his lawn—which Shea still has today.
In Jane Shea’s career as a painter, she worked primarily in gouache in which she uses a dry brush technique to build up the pigment. Now having immersed herself in the study of the ancient medium of egg tempera, a whole new world has opened for the artist. She has found that light will pass through the color and may use as many as twenty layers in a single work.
Jane strives to paint this light that she first saw in Andrew Wyeth’s painting when she was nine years old. Whether it is the old world shimmer of the Tuscan countryside, the brilliant spring greens of the South, or the incredible light New Mexico---this is the light that Shea attempts to capture. She chooses to paint what touches her; the quiet beauty and dignity that one finds in the faces of old people, abandoned automobiles, weathered adobe churches, sagging barns and stately trees. These are Jane Shea’s cherished subjects.