Jane Eckenrode drew a picture of her father at the age of 6, at about the time her parents enrolled her in her first art class. As a child, she and her dad spent time together walking in the woods and fishing. She still has the cigar box of natural treasures she collected as a child – rocks, shells, and animal bones. “At 12 or 13, I drew a picture of a deer while it was eating apples,” she remembers.
Jane has been exploring the intersection of art and nature ever since.
Jane earned a BFA in painting from the Tyler School of Art of Temple University, and pursued graduate level studies in sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University.
“But,” she notes, “I was always interested in biology. I got lucky, after studying art I had the opportunity to work with scientists.”
Jane combined her formal education as an artist and personal interest in natural sciences in her 30 years as a museum exhibit designer. She has created sculptures of elephant seals, giant beetles, rocks, trees, and sculpted water surfaces for walk-through dioramas and immersive shows at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung, Taiwan, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, and Walt Disney World in Orlando.
In 1996 Jane moved to North Carolina to work as a project coordinator for development and design of exhibits for two new buildings for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, the largest natural science museum in the Southeast. Exploring the state with science educators and researchers, Jane developed a deep appreciation for the landscapes, native flora, and fauna across North Carolina. “I worked with teams of educators and scientists developing the stories that we wanted to tell and figuring out how to tell them,” she explains.
Jane Eckenrode will return to the Chatham Studio Tour the first two weeks of December. She will participate in a group exhibit with other notable Guild artists.
“My inspiration is from my Chatham home near the Haw River,” she notes. “I take walks in wild places with a sketchbook and binoculars.” For the past two years she has practiced direct painting to develop forms and colors on the surface without sketching in lines first. “I work with watercolor, gouache. and watercolor pencils in a nature journal out in the field.” In the studio Jane composes landscapes in oil paint on panels and canvas.
Her work sells from $20 for small matted prints to $3000 for large paintings and $5000 for significant sculptures.