A MAS Update: Jane Ryder


The Midwest Artist Studios Project has spent the past three years traveling the Midwest interviewing 24 artists from 18 cities/towns. This project has been such a joy to create and to see how these artists have touched the lives of art students through online interactions, emails, and social media.

One of the areas we pride ourselves in is staying in touch with these artists and hearing what they are up to these days? For the next two-months the MAS Project will be spotlighting one of our 24 artists by sharing with you what they are doing in their studio as well as in their communities. 

All three of our MAS publications are now available online.

Click here to buy your copy today!



2014 MAS artist from Iowa

MAS: In what ways have you benefitted from your participation in MAS?:  

JR: It’s been nice keeping in touch with the MAS crew. I’ve benefitted most from the Skype conversations and critiques I’ve had with Frank’s students. It’s a pretty amazing thing to see how students interpret your work with their own voices. And equally wonderful to see the art they create based off of your project.


MAS: In what ways has your work and/or working environment changed since your MAS interview?

JR: The art center where I had my studio had to move for financial reasons. So, I haven’t had a studio outside of my home in a while. We haven’t opened up the new place yet (although it is in the works and should happen within the next few months!).
My work has changed quite a bit. I decided I was getting too tight with my approach and decided to loosen up a bit. The new stuff has a more flowy and gestural feel (although it’s not gestural by any means, just less rigid). I’ve been drawing a lot, pen and ink stuff. Designing t-shirts. Trying to have fun. I’d like to start a new body of paintings soon.


MAS: What is one thing you wish you’d said in your original interview, or what is the one thing that you hope the MAS audience remembers about your and your work?  

JR: I wouldn’t change much about my interview. One exception, I said how important it is to have a studio outside your home. Having a studio outside your home is great but sometimes out of your control (as I learned with the relocation of our art center). I’ve been doing just fine creating works in my home. So, the studio is where the heart is and that can be anywhere.

As for the MAS audience. I want them to know how important it is to constantly be on the search for inspiration. Carry a sketchbook, take notes, savor those tiny moments of beauty and then make some art about it. We worry about artist blocks, we worry about our next body of work, we worry no one will like our stuff, we worry too much. We need to remember to enjoy what we’re doing because that’s what it’s all about. Enjoyment and making a statement.

Visit Jane’s website to see more of her work.

All images copyright of the artist and used with permission.


Jane Ryder – Iowa


Today’s trip takes us to Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Jane Ryder


janeryderBMy paintings are a right-brained approach to observing, dissecting, and recording the objective subject matter found in the lakes, rivers, prairies, and forests of south central Iowa. As my intimacy with the land surrounding me evolves, so do my approaches for depicting the complexities of varying terrains and the plants and animals that occupy them.

Each of my gouache paintings is a fictitious ecosystem that has been broken down into a series of vignettes. Each vignette describes the decay, growth, and interaction between the flora and fauna of that imagined place. Although bold colors, re- peating patterns, and flattened space make the paintings appear fantastic in nature, each scene is based off an observation.

I am constantly inspired by the complexities of the natural world. My work is an ever evolving narrative about the interconnectedness of all things and the functions of an organism in a community of plants and animals.


Jane Garrett Ryder was born and raised in the fine state of Illinois. In 2005 she received her BFA from Bradley University and went on to earn her MFA at Northern Illinois University four years later. In 2009 Ryder moved from Northern Illinois to South Central Iowa; where she can be found tromping through various muddy environments in search of fossils, arrowheads, and new artistic content. Her change from an urban environment to a rural setting has influenced her paintings in many significant ways. A deeper understanding of the interactions between man, animal, plant, dirt, water, and sun have affected the content and compositions of Ryders body of work.