Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A charity that was near and dear to Janice

Several of you have asked about the possibility of making a donation to a charity in Janice's name. There is a continuation school in Santa Ana that serves at risk youth that both Janice and I have been involved with for several years, and we would love for donations to be made to them. They do an incredible job with some of the toughest kids in Orange County, and have remarkable statistics for success in walking youths out of poverty and into healthy productive lives. To make a donation and to read more about them, please go to www.tallersanjose.org for details. We would ask you to consider doing this in lieu of flowers, as this was a very important organization to Janice.

Many thanks,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Memorial Service for Janice set for Saturday, October 10

Hello friends, it's Jon.

There will be a memorial service for Janice at The Episcopal Church of the Messiah, 614 N. Bush Street, Santa Ana, 92701 at 2 PM on Saturday, October the 10th. We will have a reception celebrating Janice's life at our home in North Tustin immediately following. La Chiquita, one of Janice's all time favorite Mexican restaurants will be catering. Margaritas, cervesas, and sharing stories about Janice will be the order of the day.

The church is a beautiful building, built in 1888. We have had a long association with it and Father Brad from the many years we lived in French Park. Our son Kevin married Monica there, and two of our grandchildren were baptised there as well. Janice was on the volunteer board for Helping Hands, one of several outreach programs sponsored by the church.

Parking at the church, and at our home is somewhat limited. I would suggest that if you can carpool with friends, so much the better.

We will look forward to celebrating with you all then.

Peace be with you-


You can get directions to the church at their website, www.messiah-santaana.org
We will provide driving directions and a map to our home at the church.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Janice Lowry Gothold March 30, 1946-September 20, 2009

Last night at 6 PM my beloved wife Janice completed the last part of her journey and quietly slipped from this world into the next. She was 63 years old.

She was at home in our bedroom, surrounded by the people she loved-including all three of our sons, our daughter in laws, our grandchildren and her best girl friend Katy Jo. She went calmly, quietly and without pain, which had been our solemn oath to her and something I am very proud to say we were able to fulfill for her. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was playing softly on our stereo, an album she listened to pretty much daily.

For the past few days she had told us that there was a cowboy in the bedroom with us, silently smiling and watching over her. She did not know who he was, but she could tell by his face that he was kind and she was not afraid. We told her that it was all right, we trusted him, it was OK for her to go with him and we are all going to be all right. When our time comes, we all know who to look for to take us to see Janice. And I'm sure by then she will have the afterlife totally wired, and we'll have the best looking piece of real estate in heaven.

The hole she leaves in our hearts, and in the world, is immense and quite frankly, I don't think will ever be filled. It seems that the brightest stars just can't burn with such intensity for overly long periods of time, and we have to enjoy and savor each moment with them as they pass through our orbits. Janice was the sun in our families universe, and it will be a long while before we can right ourselves and move on. That is truly the hell of it-for such a little person, she has left enormous shoes to fill.

We want to thank all of you-friends, family and loved ones for all the support you have shown us these past few months. It has taken a village, and we feel very blessed to have had a village as large and caring as you all are.

This will not be the end of this blog. We will be posting details about a memorial service, as well as keeping you posted on what Janice's plans for her final resting place are, which I promise you is classic Janice.

We also have an artist's legacy to keep alive and I hope that all of you out there will continue to post your memories and stories about her. She will never truly be gone as long as she is still in our hearts, and too few people in this world know about all of her amazing gifts as an artist. Sometimes a tragedy is what it takes to push an artist's work from a career into a legend, and dying at 63 at the peak of your art making prowess certainly qualifies as a tragedy to us. My daughter in law Carri says Janice is the Frida Kahlo of the United States, and I sure as hell agree with her. Time will tell if the rest of the world will come to the same conclusion. Yes, time will tell.

The picture in the sunglasses was taken on August 23, 2009 when her bother and sisters were visiting us. The other one was taken on September 6, 2009 and is the last portrait of Janice and I together. Fittingly, she looks a lot more composed and put together than I do.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Here is a link for a film about Janice

Many of you might not have seen this little film that was done as part of a series promoting creativity in the city of Santa Ana. It has been running on public access TV stations, primarily in Orange County.

I think it captures Janice really beautifully, and it was shot in her first Santa Ana studio shortly before she moved around the corner into her new loft. She occupied that studio for over 10 years, and you can really feel her essence in every nook and cranny.

I think you will enjoy this.


Janice to be featured in Where Women Create Winter 2010 issue

Early in 2010 be on the lookout for the Winter issue of Where Women Create. There is a beautiful 8 page article that features the first published photos of her new studio loft in Santa Ana, as well as the text being written by Janice herself. We have seen a PDF preview of Janice's article, and it is one of the finest articles done on her yet. See http://www.wherewomencreate.com/magazine.html for more information.

Here is a post from Mark Ryden

The photo was taken at the opening of Mark's Tree Show, 2007. Jon, Janice and Mark.

Dearest Jon and Janice,

Your e-mail came in while Marion and I were visiting Seattle. I am shocked
beyond words to here the news. I find myself at a total loss of knowing
what to say. I am so so sorry. I can't imagine how hard this must be for
you guys and what you must be feeling. How are you handling it all? How is

Janice, I don't know if I have ever told you just how much of an impact you
had on me at Art Center. You and your art set my creativity on fire back
then. I remember the first day of your class when you had us make masks.
You made art such fun! When you first showed your amazing dimensional
assemblages I was forever transformed and inspired. It is hard to describe
the feelings your art gave me. When ever I use a hot glue gun the smell
brings me back to those days of making art late at night in a delirium of
creative ecstasy! You would tell me how much more rewarding a life of making
fine art would be than doing commercial art and rendering strawberries. It
took me ten years to finally follow your advice but I thought about it the
whole time I was doing commercial art! (I guess it's ok to also tell you to
that I had a total crush on you back then too!)

I also want to thank you so much for your support and coming to my shows. It
is always so nice to see you guys.

Please write back to me if you feel up to it. I would love to hear how you
are doing. It must be really tough to correspond with everyone. I will be
checking in on the blog.

I send my love and best thoughts to you guys!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Family dinner with grandkids

All three grandkids are in the front row. Left to right, Savanah, Nigel and Ashton

Family outing, August 23 2009

Back row, left to right: Daughter in law Monica, sister Joanie, Brother Bob
Front row, left to right: Janice, son Kevin, sister Judi

Three sisters

Left to right, Judi, Janice and Joanie, taken August 22, 2009

Here's a handy little tip for you newbie bloggers

If you double click on any of the photos in Janice's blog, they will come up very large on your computer screen. That way you can really see her magnificent artwork, as well as her smile.

Janice's first international one person show in Oaxaca, Mexico

In March of this year, Janice and I were in the middle of a series of tests on her liver that would ultimately lead to her cancer being diagnosed in early April. In the middle of all that, Janice had been contacted by the MUFI Museum in Oaxaca about doing a one person show of her "Stamp People". For those of you not familiar with this aspect of Janice's art, this was something she had started doing rather informally in her journals several years ago. She would take vintage postage stamps, usually of a person, and then draw the rest of their body and perhaps an environment, using the stamp for their head. People started to see them, and they became wildly popular. Janice created quite a few of them over the years for various U.S. gallery shows, as it was a way for her to create affordable Lowry art. They sold out every time she exhibited them. Somerset Studios Magazine asked Janice to write an article about them, and the article caught the eye of Gallery director Eduardo Mendoza and his right hand man Edu Cabral when the two of them were traveling in the US looking for artists to exhibit.

The MUFI was founded with the idea of celebrating the art of the postage stamp. While the gallery showcases a wide variety of art beyond just postal works, they are always on the lookout for anyone using stamps in a modern context, so they actively sought out Janice and asked her to do a show for them.

Janice didn't really know what to expect, but we figured it was a great excuse to visit Oaxaca together, which is a town Janice dearly loves and one we had not been to together before, so she agreed to do the show.

It turned out to be quite a triumph for her. They treated her like royalty, picking us up at the airport in a private car, wining and dining us, taking us out sightseeing, and then hosting a wonderful opening reception. They did posters, postcards and magazine ads promoting the show, and arranged for her to give a lecture with a translator provided. They also covered all the costs of shipping the art, as well as framing all 30 pieces. Janice really was made to feel like what she was-a visiting, internationally recognized artist.

Janice, being the charmer she is, made friends with all the guests in the boutique hotel we stayed at (Casa Oaxaca, HIGHLY recommended!) and invited them all to the opening. They came, as did the owners of the hotel, and Janice sold quite a few of the works at the opening. As a final coda to our stay, MUFI agreed to buy the entire remainder of the show for their permanent collection, making Janice's first international show a complete sell out.

Janice had nearly canceled going to Oaxaca in order to get her liver biopsy scheduled sooner, and I convinced her that the liver biopsy could wait a week for her to do the show. Given what was soon to come, I am so, so glad we made that decision.

Here are some photos of some of the works, as well as the show opening.

Here's one from Joe Ongie

Last summer Janice and I took a trip to Ireland. We planned a little 24 hour layover in New York City on the way so we could see our friends Joe and Catherine, and Joe spent a whole day playing hookey with us all over the city. A highlight for me was a show of J. C. Leyendecker originals at the Society of Illustrators, which completely blew my mind. I think we hit 4 or 5 museums and shows in one day with Joe...living the art life to it's fullest. Thanks for the memories and photo, Joe!

Hi Guys,
I just came across this shot from your (too brief) trip to NYC. It
was a fun day (and colorful) day.
Thinking of you.
Love, Joe and Catherine

A posting from Jacki Long

I wanted to thank you for your inspiration, teaching and kindness that
has honestly affected my life and work.
And, I am just a speck among the many who have benefited from YOU.
You truly are a "hero" to me.

You are in my thoughts and prayers,

jacki long

Friday, September 18, 2009

Janice to be featured in the November issue of Smithsonian Magazine

Not all of the news we received this August was grim. In fact, when Smithsonian magazine contacted Janice and let her know they wanted to write an article about her journals, well, that was really a high water mark. It is always especially gratifying when a magazine that you have subscribed to and enjoyed for many years calls out of the blue and says they want you to be a part of it.

Making it even sweeter was the fact that Owen Edwards wanted to write it. Owen has been writing about artists and photographers for many, many years, and in particular has written extensively about Peter Beard, an artist and journal maker that Janice has admired for years. Once again, here was a writer whose work Janice already owned, and he wanted to write about her! Very gratifying indeed.

Janice gave Owen a long telephone interview, and sent him one of her very special packets of goodies to inspire him. The results will be published this November, so be sure and pick up a copy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some great images from Bart Morris

Our good friend in Virginia Bart Morris sent these photos he shot of Janice and I. We spent a great weekend with Bart and his wife Kate back in November of 2007 in Baltimore. Baltimore has a surprising amount of great stuff to see, and the crab eating is truly spectacular. The shot of Ratso is from last year when Bart came visiting. Thanks for sharing, Bart!

Bob wearing his contraband Jack in the Box uniform

Joanie, Judi, Ratso and Tricia

Janice's brother and sisters made a return visit

We were very pleased to have all of Janice's siblings return to see us this month. Her younger sister Joanie was able to stay with us for over a week, which was really great. It was very comforting for Janice, and it gave all of us a chance to know our Arizona sister in law so much better. Judi came over with her daughter Tricia for a few days, and brother Bob came in from Denver for a few days as well. Lots of love, lots of Lowrys.
From left to right, Janice, Joanie and Bob, September 12, 2009.

Here is a posting from Diane Harris

After the bombing of Hiroshima a Japanese girl developed leukemia from the radiation and spent her time in a nursing home folding paper cranes in hope of making 1000, which traditionally would have allowed her to make one wish, which was to live. However, she only managed to fold 644 cranes before she became too weak to fold one more, and died shortly after. Her friends folded the remaining cranes for her. The origami crane is now a symbol of world peace in Japan. In the Hiroshima Peace Park there’s a shrine to this girl. School children daily bring 1000 crane bundles as well as art work made from 1000 cranes, which is displayed at the shrine.

Attached are some pictures I took while we were there last spring and in 2003. In one is the offering I brought in 2003, a small laminated print of a piece of my angel art.

I love that you are surrounded by colorful cranes!!!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Janice holding court

Just because Janice spends the better part of her days in bed doesn't mean she is being passive. She has her good days and her bad days, but when her energy level is up, she has had some very good days indeed.

The evening sun lights up the cranes beautifully

Wouldn't you agree?

1,000 cranes

We have three large glass sliding doors that open out into our back yard. My youngest sister Ruth has a Japanese friend that just got married. Ruth and her friend folded 1,000 paper cranes as a traditional symbol of good luck for the wedding, and after the ceremony the bride shared them with Janice. They are hanging where Janice can look at them all day long at the foot of her bed and they are exquisite.

Here is what Janice's room looks like

This was shot right thru Janice's toes, looking out over our back garden. The trees and greenery are really beautiful and a very serene view for Janice.

We are in hospice care now

Jon here. It dawned on me that we have been in hospice care since September the 1st, but I don't think we have posted that information here for you yet. Here is how we arrived at our decision.

After Janice was released from her second stay in the hospital on August 29th, we were told by her hospital doctors that they had basically done all that was in their power to slow down her cancer. We have been extremely happy with all of the staff at St. Joseph Hospital. They have been compassionate, professional, and perhaps best of all, very straight forward and honest with us. Her lead oncologist, Dr. Byun, has always told us the truth, even when it was very difficult. He told us that of course, we could continue to try more and more radical forms of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but he really felt that it would not prolong her life. Perhaps most importantly to us, not only would her life not be significantly longer, it would also be considerably more painful and unpleasant in terms of side effects if we chose to pursue more medical procedures. Knowing those kind of facts made it very clear for us to decide that the time was right to move to hospice care.

We are working with a company called Companion Hospice, and we are very happy with them. For those of you not familiar with hospice, here is the basic principal-it is all about keeping Janice as comfortable in mind and spirit as humanly possible. It is about keeping her from feeling pain. It is about letting her be in her own home, her own environment, and living on her own schedule. And certainly for us, it is a real partnership between them and our family. They have been great at training all of us in various aspects of care giving, as opposed to shutting us out of the process. Of course, if one did not have a family that could be as active in the care giving they would handle everything, but they are all about adapting to what is right for each individual family.

They operate in a team approach, and we have assigned to us our own nurse, as well as a dedicated home health aid, a social worker and a chaplin. All of these people are reporting to Janice's oncologist Dr. Byun, who is continuing to monitor her case. They are available to us 24/7, which is very comforting.

Team Janice is, as you might expect, much larger than just the folks at hospice. Her childhood friend Katy Jo has continued to live with us full time, which has been the greatest gift to both Janice and I that I could ever imagine. All of our sons and their families are here every day, and their love and support for each other and all of the family is probably our single greatest achievement as parents. And of course, good friends continue to send cards, post to this blog, and come for short visits. This house is completely filled with love, joy, support, laughter and some of the most amazing food you have ever tasted. It is far, far different from what it would be like if Janice was in the hospital, and we are all really proud of that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Janice and her three sons

This photo was taken on September 6, 2009. From left to right, Kevin, Janice, Brandon and Brent.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Janice and Ratso making each other feel better

Ratso after surgery sunning her scar

The strange story of Janice and Ratso

Ratso is our dog. She is a two year old rat terrier, and for those of you that have met her, you know that she is a real live wire. If Ratso doesn't feel well, you can really tell, because Ratso pretty much ALWAYS feels well and loves to play.

When we returned from Scotland and Janice was truly suffering from back pains, I went to the place where we boarded Ratso and brought her home. Within about 2 hours of being home, we could tell that Ratso had suddenly grown very stiff and was having extreme difficulty in walking. I rushed her to the vet, who informed me that Ratso's back had gone out, and that it was caused by some kind of unusual stress. A few shots and some ultrasonic back treatments, and she was back to her old self.

Last week, as Janice was experiencing difficulty breathing, I noticed Ratso was acting pretty strange. I got up around 3 AM to give Janice a breathing treatment, and when I was done, I went to check on Ratso. I found her sprawled on the hardwood floor, breathing very erratically and looking really bad. We rushed her to the pet emergency hospital, where they informed us that she had a diaphragmatic hernia-basically she had torn a hole in her internal diaphragm, and all of her internal organs had shifted from her stomach cavity into her chest cavity, which was choking her. They also informed me that she had an elevated enzyme reading in her liver, which, if you recall, was the first indication Janice had that something was wrong.

Ratso underwent surgery and spent several days in the hospital. She is home now and recovering nicely, and is currently on 4 different medications. It's pretty much a three-ring infirmary around here right now.

Janice has always said that Ratso is MY dog, and that she is more psychically connected to me than to her. I think recent events might suggest she is mistaken about that one.

Thanksgiving was on Sunday, September 6, 2009

Janice's two sisters were in town from Arizona, her niece Tricia was here, Katy Jo is staying with us from Vashon Island, and Janice had a hankering for turkey dinner. Seemed like an excellent reason to have Thanksgiving to us.

Grand Central Press to publish Janice Lowry monograph

Here is some great news. Andrea Harris and Amy Caterina dropped by to visit Janice a couple of days ago and told us that the Grand Central Press is planning to publish a book about Janice and her art. This was a project that Andrea and Janice had talked about doing a year or so ago, but personal issues arose in Andreas life and the book was put on hold. It looks like it will happen after all, which will be a great addition to Janice's legacy as an artist.

The photo was taken at the 10 year anniversary show for the Grand Central Gallery on March 11, 2009. Janice was one of the featured alumni who had shown there several times over the past 10 years. She was disappointed that the book on her work was not completed as originally planned for the show, but undaunted, she took matters into her own hands. She wrote, drew, designed, assembled and self published her own monograph on her life, and her self published book made it's debut that night. It was a big hit, and she sold out of every copy she had.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Diane Teske Harris asked me to post this

Dear Janice,
I've been out of touch all these years since Art Center graduation and our move to Montana. But your inspiration has lived with me, especially when I work in my journals and sketchbooks. Please know that you are in my heart and prayers.
Diane Teske Harris

The strange stroy of Ashton and Janice

It was Sunday, August 16 and my Aunt Chris and I had decided to take Janice to St. Joseph Hospital because her back pain was so out of control. I had loaded Janice into the car, and was heading out to get in myself when our phone rang. I waited for the answering machine to pick up so I could see who it was, and I heard our daughter in law Monica. She said that she and Kevin had taken our youngest grandson Ashton to emergency at St. Joseph, and that he was heading in for emergency surgery, as his appendix had failed. Their whole family had booked a week in Hawaii for a vacation, and they were supposed to leave early the next morning.

I figured I could catch up with them at the hospital, since that is where I was heading. As we waited in emergency to get Janice admitted, Chris went to find Kevin, who by now was next door at CHOC Children's Hospital, which is where Ashton's surgery was about to begin. There was a bit of confusion for Kevin when he saw us. Initially he figured we were there to visit Ashton, but I filled him in on what was happening with Mom, and suddenly we were all on the family plan.

Ashton and Janice were in the hospital for almost the same amount of days, and both had successful outcomes. If you are going to have two members of your family have to go to emergency, it's nice to have them there at the same time. You can really maximize your visiting hours that way.

The photo is of the two of them the first day they were both home. Ashton had three small incisions on his belly, and Janice had three targets on her belly that they used for her radiation treatments. The two of them will always have a very, very special connection to one another from this.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Janice feeling it in her back while in Scotland

Bad backs, pain mangaement and radiology

About midway through our Scotland trip, Janice started to feel sharp pain in her lower back. She remembered standing up suddenly while we were visiting Eilean Donan Castle at the Kyle of Lochalsh and feeling like she had pulled a back muscle. We decided to take an extra day off the road and stay put in our inn, using a heating pad and taking her prescription vicadin that we had brought along for pain.

One day turned to three, and I started to get very worried that instead of her back pain getting slowly better, it seemed to be getting slowly worse. I found a local hospital and took her to see a Scottish doctor, who prescribed her stronger pain medication. We managed to soldier through the rest of the trip, but it was a long and uncomfortable flight for her coming home.

Back in the US, her regular doctors got her on to stronger pain relief, but nothing was really eliminating the pain. She was scheduled to go in for an MRI on a Monday to see what was really going on, but that weekend I asked my aunt Chris, who is a nurse, to come and see Janice. She could see that Janice was getting dangerously dehydrated, and we decided to take her to emergency at St. Joseph's Hospital. She ended up spending five days in the hospital on various IV drips, with a pain management team working very diligently to balance her pain medication with her other basic body needs, like water, bowel regularity and not being completely doped up out of her mind. They also did the MRI and discovered that the source of her back pain was indeed the cancer. It has moved into her spine, and the bone loss was pinching her nerves. We began radiation therapy right away, as her ability to walk was being threatened.

The doctors were amazing. They got her stabilized, and she is not experiencing any pain currently. She is lucid, her bodily functions are under control, and the radiation therapy in her spine has resulted in her having flexibility that we never thought she would have again. She was released on August 20th, and we never dreamed that she would be returning on August 29th, this time because the cancer had moved into her lungs.

Liver cancer never really rests. It just lies in wait and when you let your guard slightly down, it attacks somewhere else. It's a really shitty disease.