Janelle McKain

Janelle McKain


Born and raised in Nebraska, USA, McKain has a Bachelor’s degree in K-12 Art Education with an endorsement in Gifted Education from Kearney State College and has been teaching art for the past 29 years in public schools across Nebraska. Currently, she is Department Chair and teaches Drawing and Advanced Drawing at Millard South High School in Omaha, NE.

McKain works mainly in graphite but enjoys watercolor painting as well. She is also involved in collaborative drawings with other international artists through The Exquisite Corpse and The Antipodes Project. In all of their complexity, nearly all of McKain’s drawings are unplanned. She begins when she feels inspired and lets the images and shapes emerge without constraints.

Despite her busy teaching career, McKain always has a drawing or collaboration on the go. “I draw because I enjoy it immensely; it is soothing to me, not unlike rocking a child in a rocking chair… and this sensation…keeps me coming back to the drawing table over and over again. I enjoy the mystery of what is unraveling before me, and each drawing appears full of personal imagery that has no obvious answer. This is what inspires me; this is what fuels my work. Breathing and drawing are of equal importance to me.”

McKain’s work has been exhibited in group shows, has been featured in numerous magazines, and will be included in the upcoming book “Imagine the Imagination. New Visions of Surrealism” in November 2009.

Artist Statement

My images are of dreams – they are of memories, intimate and personal. My world is one beyond the conscious mind. As I draw I experience a type of spirituality akin to a trance, or meditative state of mind. I believe that one can obtain this state without the use of any mind-altering substances or drugs through diligent practice and dedication to one’s inner creativity and self-expression. I allow my subconscious to control my work and I am seldom compelled to over-intellectualize the symbols and hidden meanings. My intuition tells me to allow for an open-ended response and to allow for ambiguity. Not until the entire drawing is completed do I fully understand what is being said. It is this purging of my soul, that I am addicted to. For me – to draw is to breathe. I cannot survive without it.