Art has been a part of my life since I was young. While studying for my BFA at the University of Hawaii I had a professor who stressed that as artists we should try to break with the “should be’s” in life and step out to explore our individuality in art. I believe that his class had a great impact on me. I remember a visiting artist asking me why I wasn’t in printmaking instead of photography. My response was “because I’m a photographer”. I became intrigued with manipulation of images both in the camera and the darkroom.
After many years away from art, I now have the time to explore the medium again. It has not been an easy path but the wise words of a friend helped me to take the plunge. “Do what you enjoy and not what you think other people will like”.  I feel that over the past few years I have been on a journey to find the art that is an expression of who I am.
I started taking traditional images of scenery and nature but quickly became bored with the subject matter. Since photography has shifted from film to digital, I now utilize PhotoShop as my canvas and have found that I enjoy altering my photographs as I did in the darkroom. What started out of boredom suddenly became an exciting process and usually leads to a serendipitous end product. I frequently am in awe of the designs that are created through this process.
Reflection Series
This series is an evolution of my interpretation of nature. The series is very graphic and abstract and plays off the mysteries present in our world. By using graphic elements of nature and manipulating them in PhotoShop, I create complex, abstract designs usually with a central focal point. In the process of making each image I am fascinated by what nature gives me. One person wrote, "In the Reflection Series, Janet creates a deeper study in the wonders of nature.  Each piece is not only stunning but mysterious and complex - drawing the viewer into an active appreciation and exploration of the work before them."
Illusion Series
More recently, I use the textures, colors and designs found in nature and, as an abstract painter, add elements to create interest, I use the tools in PhotoShop to add and adjust my canvas to create a final piece that has illusionary qualities that move me.
I hope that through my work I can move others in someway and was thrilled when someone commented, “I love the unusual technique used to create these unique pieces and the resulting symmetry. I find myself always trying to figure out what the original image was and am delightfully surprised when I learn the source. It’s wonderful to be engaged by art in this way.”

Artist on a Journey | Janet Scura

                                                                                                                                           By Beverly Waggener

Janet Scura was born and raised in New Jersey. After graduating from nursing school she married and moved to southern Florida. There, she became immersed in the “flower child” movement and dabbled in all things Bohemian. Another move to southern California peaked her interest in art. Her artistic awareness blossomed while working with batik but her interest in photography evolved over time.

After moving to Hawaii In the mid seventies, she enrolled in a photography course at a Community College and became intrigued with the pinhole camera. The fascinating and surreal results the camera created captivated her. One of the images she developed contained a mysterious and unexplained background figure, which some thought appeared to be a Hawaiian “night walker” (A Hawaiian legend claims that Hawaiian warriors from the past walked their trails at night). This incidental occurrence was her inspiration for future artistic endeavors to look beyond the obvious in her art.

Janet went on to earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photo design with a minor in art history from the University of Hawaii. She was especially interested in aboriginal, surreal and abstract expressionist art. For a period of time she used an old Brownie camera which was able to take multiple exposures on a single frame. With this camera she was able to produce surreal images by carefully calculating the placement of her subject(s) in the frame during each exposure.

Darkroom work became a favorite part of creating images and she experimented by placing multiple layers of glass approximately 4-6” apart under an enlarger. On each layer Janet strategically placed cut-up, rejected negatives and made exposures through the multiple layers. The overlapping negatives produced unusual and astonishing results. Janet added touches of opaque photographic paint and used a partial sepia toning to create various shades of blacks and browns in the resulting prints. This process resulted in abstract, celestial-like imagings with substantial depth of field.

To this point, she worked solely in black and white photography and concentrated on the design elements within each image she created.  

She sustained her interest in art and photography while continuing her career in health care and obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Health Administration at the University of Hawaii. Additionally, she developed an interest in expressionistic abstract painting in Hawaii. She found it interesting and inspiring when people would point out unintentional and inadvertent images in her paintings, such as Madam Pele found in the Hawaiian volcano paintings.

Upon her retirement as a health care professional, Janet moved to a small town in Colorado, where the beautiful natural environment stimulated another aspect of visualizing the inner beauty of nature in photography. She joined a local art guild and like many artists in the area spent several years studying and focusing on landscape photography.Janet took hundreds of stunning sunsets in this mountainous sanctuary.  

Collector and friend Patricia Leon wrote, “We love Janet's photography of Colorado. She captured an unusually beautiful   moment in the sky that was sadly the remains of a huge fire. The oranges and black created a stirring mood that works well with our collection.” Janet’s passion and dedication to her art has always gone past the boundaries of standard landscape photography and she is able to show nature on a whole other level.

In time even her sunsets with the foreground silhouetted became more abstract and “artsy”. Janet enjoyed documenting the beautiful scenes around her but she felt that this did not excite her passion for expression. Janet told me that she always admired the paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe and on hikes and park visits she began to explore close-up photography of nature. This also gave her a new appreciation for color in her art. She considered this time and the images she produced her “Journey” series for she was truly on a passage to find what spoke to her and the beauty she could share with others.

Janet grew more interested in showing the intricate designs found in nature and after learning PhotoShop and other editing software she started exploring how to make others more aware of nature’s intrinsic beauty. “Reflection” series explores a close-up look at design features found in nature. By stitching multiple editions of her close-up images, Janet was able to create wonderful new images. Most of the images in this series have a center focal point and brings to mind mandalas.  Janet describes them well, “I believe that many of these images have a meditational aspect to them.” She feels that sometimes it takes pushing the image to show the wonderful patterns of nature. As a patron observed, "I have a lovely spiritual-toned piece by Janet Scura that I hung in my office. I find myself studying it often to reflect and relax. Her work is stunning”.

Her daughter described her work, "In the Reflection Series, Janet creates a deeper study in the wonders of nature. Each piece is not only stunning but mysterious and complex - drawing the viewer into an active appreciation and exploration of the work before them." and one collector noted “I love the unusual technique used to create these unique pieces and the resulting symmetry. I find myself always trying to figure out what the original image was and am delightfully surprised when I learn the source. It’s wonderful to be engaged by art in this way.” 

Recently, Janet has ventured back into a more abstract direction. She continues to use her images shot in nature and applies elements and techniques found in PhotoShop to enhance the design, movement and depth of field within each piece. Her most recent works are found in her latest three series. Janet’s "Abstract Work" strategically places sections of photographs within a frame, altering some and adding design elements to create a dynamic image. Her “Spin on Nature” series takes manipulated photo images and spins them within PhotoShop. “I need to evaluate each initial image to see if there will be more interest when spun. Occasionally, I need to rework the original to add more elements to make the final piece successful.”

In the latest series, "Wheels of Wonder" Janet further works spun images to create what she previously did with her nature photos by stitching multiple copies of the same image. Janet explains “What I find with these images creates an almost illusionary piece that just excites to my core."

Over the years, Janet has shown her work in galleries in Hawaii, Colorado and San Diego and has received multiple awards.


Janet Scura
3887 Pell Place - 217
San Diego, CA 92130
Janet Scura received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in PhotoDesign with a minor in Art History from the University of Hawaii in 1988.  
Lab technician, University of Hawaii Photographic Department
Assistant Research Coordinator for documentary “Strangers in Paradise”
Graphic Artist - “Hawaii Report” HSTV
Environmental Room Designer for Hawaii Independent Video and Film Expo at the Honolulu Academy of Arts
Books Published: “Reflections”, “Reflections - Nature’s Designs”, “Reflections - Abstract/Illusions”
Janet begins with images she has photographed in nature and utilizing PhotoShop combines and alters them with digital design elements to produce unique, abstract works of art.  She is always intrigued by her final results. She treats her final images as photographic and prints directly on aluminum or acrylic face mounts them.
Exhibitions/Gallery Representation
Exhibit “From Our Lives”, First Unitarian Church Gallery, Honolulu Hawaii
Sangre de Cristo Art Gallery, Westcliffe Colorado
3rd Street Gallery, Westcliffe Colorado
Exhibition “Private Show” Bay Club, San Diego California
Off Track Gallery, Encinitas California
Xanadu On-Line Gallery
Conrad and Beverly Waggener, Pueblo Colorado
Patricia Leon, San Diego California
Joanie and Mike Liebman, Westcliffe Colorado
KZLR Radio, Westcliffe Colorado
Wendy Hager, San Diego California
Chris and Jessica Fosse, Seattle Washington
Jennifer Tankersley, San Diego California

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