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About Me

I'M Janaka Stagnaro

My journey in art began in 1984, when a colleague was drawing a dragon in the cubicle next to me. I was enviously amazed. "I wish I could do that," I said. "You can. Just go to the library and get a book on how to draw. And do it!" I hemmed and hawed and said I was no artist. However, I ignored my protestations and did as he suggested. And I drew a tiger. Fireworks went off! Somewhere along my educational career I was taught I was not an artist, and that only artists make art. A short while later I was off to serve in the Peace Corps in Cameroon, West Africa. I brought some supplies, a couple of books, and began teaching myself how to draw and paint. Here is my first watercolor.  

In 1993, I began my formal training in the arts while studying to be a Waldorf teacher, an educational system for children that incorporates art in all aspects of education, in which I have been teaching for 25 years. Not only have I incorporated art as part of my spiritual path, it is also my mission to remind people of the creativity waiting to blossom forth.  

For the most part, my work is contemplative or visionary in nature. I attempt to merge the infinite and the finite together, as well as the seer and the seen. I hope my work, both visual and written, help people heighten or alter their perceptions of the world around and within. 

"I have been looking at your stunning art. It is so deep, straight out of the depths of Deep Soul. And, then other pieces, the Spirit in them is so alive that I am breathless upon feeling the impact of them. You are a brilliant, sensitive and emotional artist. There is something intensely alive or visceral, something extremely organic and connected that is expressed in your beautiful paintings." --Robin Easton, author of Naked in Eden

I hope you will enjoy what you see here. Please make sure you sign up for my newsletter so you can see new and old works, and read my writing. Commissions are available.

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While technically self-educated in the realm of art, I have studied the works of many a master. Major influences are Van Gogh, O'Keefe, Nicholas Roerich, Group of Seven, Marsden Hartley and many more. However, the greatest inspiration is my connection with God, All That Is, Consciousness, Great Spirit, or whatever Name you want to call the Ineffable One. And this connection is what my books are all about.


I like to work in a variety of mediums, which primarily include oils, watercolor, pastels, colored pencils, charcoal, and graphite. I may use photographs or sketches, but most work will just arise out of a play of colors, light, and shadows. 

career highlights

My work has been represented by galleries in Corvallis, Oregon, and Palm Springs, Salinas, and Carmel in California. I am an author of nine books.. Three of the books are for the young child, written and illustrated by me. Two of my adult books are illustrated as well.

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