Janet Kasnett Manuta is a local artist and art educator in southeastern Arizona. She has been teaching art for over 40 years, first in the Washington, D.C. area, then in Upstate New York, and most recently in Seattle. She and her family relocated to Sunsites, AZ in October 2020.
She expresses her love of the outdoors with hand-painted cut paper collages, inspired by the artist, Henri Matisse. She works to create an energetic balance of positive and negative space with organic shapes derived from nature. Her intention is for each piece to evoke a feeling of rhythm and balance where patterns of color and shapes invite the viewer to experience a personal connection. For example, she has experimented with tea leaf stained papers in her series of teapots and tea cups. Most recently, the light and shadows of the Cochise Stronghold have engaged her in new directions.
Here’s a link to an article about her art education program at Hope Lutheran School in Seattle: https://hls.hopeseattle.org/think-outside-the-box-with-art/
She also created the illustrations for the book This Is What’s Up, Doc — The Unauthorized Biography of Bugs Bunny.
Janet begins by painting sheets of drawing paper with acrylic paint, focusing on creating different color palettes for each collage. As she starts cutting out shapes, or “drawing with scissors,” (without any pre-drawn sketches), different themes and designs evolve from her imagination where visual images she has experienced have left an impression in her mind.
With her recent move to the desert southwest, Janet has begun to enjoy exploring the natural beauty and history of this amazing area. The unique natural landscapes and native plants she is discovering have inspired her Desert Spring series.
Each piece may go through many changes and revisions, until a feeling of balance between colors and shapes has been achieved.