First person: Native American culture inspires artist

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Jayne Williams, the Pintores Art League’s artist of the month for June, said a pack welcome from a wolf inspired her favorite painting “Part of the Pack.”

Jayne Simmons Williams began drawing and writing as soon as she could put words together in elementary school. Her art is inspired by Native American culture and nature. Williams is the Pintores Art League’s artist of the month for June.

Background color: My husband and I moved to Clovis in 1972. He had a background in ranching and my background was definitely not that. Living in Clovis is a whole new genre for me and I found it fascinating and was fascinated by the new cultures and their backgrounds.

Art imitating life: Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a Native American. I would ask my mother if there was any Native American blood in the family. I don’t think there is, but I was elated to come to New Mexico because I knew I was actually going to see Native Americans. I probably became interested in Native Americans from learning about them in elementary school.

Never a blank page: My father always told me that there was never a clean piece of paper in our house, because I was either drawing or writing. My father was a self-taught artist. Before there was animation in films, he figured out he could draw stick figures in different positions on pages of a book and they would move. He would draw on his books instead of studying or reading and consequently all my books had drawings on the edges of the pages.

Midnight inspiration: I have lots of slides I’ve taken that I’m just dying to paint. In fact, I call them my children. My children wake me up at night nagging me ‘Is it my turn yet?’ And there are still a lot of children to be born.

Commercial vs. fine art: I studied commercial art in college in Ohio. It wasn’t until I moved to Clovis that I started delving then into the fine arts side of art. I think both sides of art are very important. When you are doing fine art, you also need to know the marketing side because you need to be able to market your work.

Southwestern hospitality: My mother made a wonderful comment about the Southwest. We really had to move to the Southwest to find true Southern hospitality. There is hospitality in the South, but the Southwest has wonderful hospitality.

— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Liliana Castillo