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Jane Petschek

Jane primarily works in printmaking (intaglio or etching), drawing, and watercolor every now and then. She joined RWS in December of 2019 and was thrilled to find a printmaking studio that has parking. Her prints are mostly landscapes, seascapes, and some travelscapes. Jane is a trained biologist who had a scientific career before turning to art. For many years she taught developmental biology at a university in southern Ohio and did research and trained master's students and taught courses. “I was always interested in how organisms developed from a fertilized egg to a living being, all from the cell interaction and genetic regulation. It was an intellectual challenge and I liked that.” What she didn’t like so much was the commute. Her husband was teaching physics and doing research in Cleveland, and after nine years of commuting 250 miles one-way every week they decided it was time for change. During those nine years, Jane and her husband had adopted a daughter and she was about to start school when they decided to relocate to Cleveland permanently. Jane ended up leaving science after taking a teaching position in Cleveland that wasn’t what she wanted. She enrolled in an interior design program at the local community college at the start of their kitchen remodel, and as a part of the program Jane had to take studio art classes, which she had never done before. She took drawing, visual design, color theory, portrait drawing, and life drawing and found that she enjoyed the art classes more than the interior design classes. “It had more intellectual depth and history and there was an opportunity to be creative. It was a challenge, but I had good instructors who were helpful and encouraging, and I made an effort to learn how to draw and make art.” Jane’s work started out simple and she enjoyed the process as they became more complicated. The economy had just crashed when Jane received her new degree and even established interior designers were out of work, so a friend invited her to take a printmaking class. “It was a way for me to combine drawing, do plein air sketches, and learn some new skills with printmaking.” Etching was a natural fit for Jane considering her background in science. She appreciates the technical physicality of the process, in part for the breaks between each stage that give her time to think about how she wants to develop the image. Printmaking is a mode of personal expression and a way for Jane to be creative. Her scientific mind could easily translate the experimentation process–how you start with a question, form a hypothesis, design experiments and carry them out, tabulate the results and do it again–to printmaking with all of the repetition. When the technicality of printmaking got too burdensome, she would go out with her paint brush and paint watercolor in a very loose way. From a young age Jane loved the outdoors and was interested in biology. “The natural world is fascinating to me and I guess as I make art, these prints, I’m celebrating the beautiful spaces that we live in. It’s a personal statement of how I feel about a place.” Sometimes the inspiration comes from the pure beauty of the place. Jane was born and raised in Saco and has family history in the area. When it was time for her and her husband to relocate, returning to Maine and the ocean was a natural choice.

She’s been making prints for ten years now and is starting to consider the next direction she wants her work to take. She considers creativity a human characteristic, and one of her favorite pieces is a small, hand-crafted marble figurine called “The Stargazer” in the collection at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The piece is 3-4,000 years old and is almost modern in its design. “There aren’t even arms–there’s the suggestion of arms–and the figure is gazing toward the heavens and you know somebody made this.” When Jane studied art history she found it very interesting that early humans found ways to be creative. “All of those cave paintings…and they’re discovering new sites that go back over sixty-thousand years. If I wasn’t doing drawings or printmaking, I’m not sure what my creative outlet would be.” Jane currently has two happenings. She’s a member of Rivertree Arts Center in Kennebunk and has a piece in their Second Annual Highlight Community Art Show that opened at the end of May and runs through the end of June. She also has a solo exhibit of black and white landscapes in the taproom at Belleflower Brewing Co. up now through the end of July, with a grand opening on Friday, June 3rd. Contact Jane via email at


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