The Art of Janet Levi
When I was born there was a war raging in the world and a hailstorm raging in Allentown, PA. I only weighed 2 pounds, which explains my being vertically challenged.
My mother says I was drawing before I could walk or talk, at about 9 months and have been doing some form of art ever since.
I got married after high school, not wanting to go to the University back then. I did take night classes in drawing and painting at Lehigh University where my husband was studying. Even when the kids started coming, he would watch them so I could study. Days were for my kids and nights were dedicated to my muse.
After being married for 5 years we arrived in Panama and then with the children a little older and the blessed maids I was able to study during the day. My professors were Manuel Chong Neto, Alfredo Sinclair, Juan Manuel Cedeño and Carlos Arboleda. After graduating from what was then called La Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas I gave my muse a break and started teaching English at the Instituto Alberto Einstein. After 2 years of that I discovered that as a teacher I made a great artist! I didnt go back to painting but started studying at the Universidad Nacional and at 40 years old, in 1980, defended my thesis that is now being used as a text in the Facultad de Arquitectura.
At this point my husband needed me to help him with his fight to create the Instituto Politéctico, later to be formed into the Universidad Tecnológica.
After the University was running along smoothly I became an artist, starting out by doing needlepoint and selling the designs and later I got into quilting. Now THATS when my life changed and I became a fulfilled woman. In one of the quilting magazines there was an article about a lady that paints quilts on wood. I had taken a class on tole painting just to accompany a friend who didnt want to go alone so I knew the procedure for painting on wood. I became obsessed and painted everything in the house. My kids said they were afraid to stand still. On a trip to the Interior I discovered bateas and went flying! and have been ever since. The more I painted, the more all the elements in my life coalesced. The quilting that my grandmother and mother did came into play, as well as my Jewish blood and the folklore of Panama, the country that I have fallen in love with and adopted as my own.