Jane Seymour on Retiring Her Pointe Shoes, Staying Busy, and How Painting Changed Her Life For Good
By Bailey Powell
On Saturday, January 28th I interviewed Jane Seymour before her appearance at the Wisby-Smith Gallery in Dallas. Due to a middleman miscommunication my time with Ms. Seymour was limited to five minutes and my list of questions became very abbreviated, but we managed an interesting conversation nonetheless.
Bailey Powell: Is this your first time visiting Texas?
Jane Seymour: No, no I’ve been here many times. I’ve got friends in Dallas and I’m friends with Ben Stevenson who runs [Texas Ballet] Theater… and the Andrews, who are good friends of mine.
BP: Have you ever been over to Fort Worth?
JS: I have! Yes I’ve been over there.
BP: With the ballet, then-
JS: Yes, the ballet’s in both places.
BP: Have Degas and his ballerinas inspired you with the impressionism?
JS: They did. I’m actually thinking that- I just told Ben today that I want to paint one of his ballerinas in that style.
BP: Do you ever put on your pointe shoes anymore?
JS: Uh, I have tried. It’s a terrible mistake. (laughs)
BP: Okay, you’ve been painting since… did I see on your website 18 years ago?
JS: Twenty years now.
BP: Wow. What made you want to venture into it?
JS: Well, I started out… I, um, was going through a terrible divorce. I’d lost everything, I was about to lose my home, and everything, and I gave some of the last money I had at a child abuse fundraiser for a silent auction bid on an artist who did a drawing of my children. When the artist came to visit my house he saw some finger paintings I’d done and loved them and offered to give me free art lessons.
BP: He was an angel!
JS: He was an angel, yes.
BP: I’ve noticed a lot of red clothing in your giclee pieces. What’s the significance of that motif?
JS: Well, I did four women including myself in red dresses. Initially it was about women’s heart health, but then I really felt that red is a power color and also represents the passion, the blood, and the spirit, and so on. All the women that I painted were dancers.
BP: The Open Hearts symbolism is from your mother’s philosophy and that’s what all your sculptures are about. I was just wondering if you’ve ever considered venturing outside of the Open Hearts for sculptures.
JS: I have, I’ve done some sculptures and bronzes of my children and people I know and some figurative pieces, but I’m sure one day I will do more sculpture. I love sculpture.
BP: They’re beautiful. I’ve really enjoyed looking at them.
JS: Thank you.
BP: I feel like you’ve ventured into just about every creative medium, whether it’s writing, skin care, clothing, etc. Is there something you haven’t yet done that you’re interested in pursuing?
JS: (thoughtful pause) I’m pretty busy.
BP: You’ve done everything. You truly have.
JS: Yes, yes I am pretty busy.
Jane Seymour’s Assistant: There must be something left.
JS: You know I help design houses, but I’m not like, a designer. I love putting things together so I always work with an interior designer but I’m the one who picks out the fabrics and does the rest of it. I love designing homes. I’ve done that for many years. I do a lot of home décor so I do napkin rings and place settings-
BP: Tablescaping, as you call it.
JS: Tablescaping, as I do, yeah. I’ve also designed and could probably get into bedding now, more. I’ve got some bedding lines and I’ve got a major furniture collection that I work with. It’s all online, it’s all there. We also make movies. I’m making a lot of movies. I’ve got three movies coming out this year, so I’m pretty busy. Everything comes from the art, though. The important thing is that I keep painting. That’s where it all comes from.
BP: That kind of leads into what I was going to ask you next: Is there a favorite movie that you’ve been in?
JS: Well, I love Somewhere in Time because it was very special movie to me in many ways emotionally. War and Remembrance was very meaningful because my parents lived [through] World War II so that was kind of an extraordinary experience, and I think Wedding Crashers was hysterical and fun to be in.
BP: What’s next for Jane Seymour?
JS: Gosh, I never know. I’m booked fairly solidly with art shows, and as I said I’ve got these movies coming out so I’m going to be very involved with that. We’ve got our big foundation event in April in Malibu, my daughter’s getting married in Malibu in April, another daughter’s having a baby next weekend… Oh yes I’ve got a new book that I’m working on.
BP: What’s it called?
JS: We haven’t titled it yet.
BP: What’s it about?
JS: It’s going to be similar to the other Open Hearts books, it’s going to be part of that.