Janice Mason Steeves

Rockwood, Ontario Canada

Click images to enlarge

Janice Mason Steeves has been a full-time painter for over 25 years. Painting in oil on birch panels, her personal style is characterized by a strong sense of composition and the use of light combined with a love of pattern and texture.

Graduating with an MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Manitoba, she held Clinical and School Psychology positions in Manitoba and Ontario before leaving the field to focus on painting. Further studies were completed at the Ontario College of Art and Design where she graduated with an Honours Diploma in Drawing and Painting and was the recipient of the Nora E. Vaughan Award. She has exhibited annually in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and in the U.S. for 25 years. Her work is included in numerous corporate and public collections both in Canada and internationally including, among others, The Government of Ontario Art Collection, The Schulich School of Business, York University, CIBC World Markets, London, First Gulf, Intrawest Corporation and the Senvest Collection. Janice is represented by five Canadian galleries. Her home and studio are in the country outside of Guelph, Ontario Canada. 

Evening on the
Lake of Dreams


My work is a celebration of life. I’m interested in the concept of a personal quest like the mythological search for Shambhala or the Holy Grail -- the inner search for meaning, peace and wholeness -- and the idea of pilgrimage -- a transformational journey to a sacred center. Inspired by the various travels and pilgrimages I have taken, I search for the essence of the journey, or the “Spirit of Place” and aim to find an image or symbol that would express that Spirit. In doing so, I remain open to the Muse, to the unexpected ideas that come to me and I delight in exploring new directions. I rely on intuition to lead the way. 

Janice in Tibet
My interest in waterlilies began many years ago when I owned a cottage on Georgian Bay in northern Ontario, where I would paddle my kayak to the end of the bay into a small lagoon that was filled with native white waterlilies (Nymphaea odorata) and yellow pond lilies. I spent many hours drifting around and photographing in that lagoon and I devoted three years to painting these waterlilies.  

Later travels took me twice to India, where I learned about the sacred lotus and its importance in Hinduism and Buddhism. Although I never saw lotuses growing in India, I did see lotus buds that were presented as offerings to Shiva at temples in the south of India. When I came home from India, I was interested to learn where I might see lotus growing in Canada, and I contacted a garden writer at the Toronto Star newspaper to ask for assistance. She put me in touch with the owner of a private water garden on Lake Erie and the friendly gardener invited me to visit his pond the following summer.

I was absolutely stunned when I visited this garden and saw the lotuses in bloom. I had no idea of the size of the flowers or their spectacular beauty and I fell in love with the ‘Mrs. Perry D. Slocum’ variety. I have a long-standing interest in peonies, particularly tree peonies. I had travelled to China and Tibet (on another form of pilgrimage), in search of wild tree peonies and had also visited and photographed the spectacular collection of tree peonies at Linwood Gardens near Rochester, NY USA. I was taken with the resemblance of this particular lotus to the blowsy look and enormous size of the tree peonies.

From the Mudan (tree peony) Series

From the Lotus Series

When I asked Dr. Jim Waddick, the American botanist on the Peonies of China trip, where I might find out about water gardens in the U.S. and around the world, he put me in touch with Kit Knotts and the Water Gardeners International website, where I printed off the entire list of water gardens worldwide. I decided I would aim to see as many of these gardens as I could, and began last summer with three gardens ... Perry’s Water Gardens in North Carolina, Lilypons Water Gardens in Maryland, and Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. This trip provided inspiration for the current exhibition of my paintings in Montreal entitled, “Evening on the Lake of Dreams”. 

I don’t know where this lotus/waterlily pilgrimage passion will lead, but with something like 325 water gardens on the Water Gardeners International list, I’d better get going!

Janice at Jardin Majorelle,
Marakesh, Morocco


Janice Mason Steeves
travels the world in search of beauty to inspire her paintings.
Cover story of
WGI Online 4.2

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