Jan­ice C. Proc­tor

MICA grad­u­ate who went on to teach art at Goucher was known for her prim­i­tive style and use of bold hues

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Jac­ques Kelly jac­ques.kelly@balt­sun.com

Jan­ice C. Proc­tor, an artist who taught in Bal­ti­more for more than seven decades, died of Alzheimer’s dis­ease Tues­day at Roland Park Place.

The for­mer St. Ge­orges Road res­i­dent was 101.

Born in Bal­ti­more and raised in Stoneleigh, she was the daugh­ter of Thomas Ed­ward Car­son, an ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Mary­land Oil Heat As­so­ci­a­tion, and Eve­lyn Neely.

She at­tended Lida Lee Tall School at what is now Tow­son Univer­sity and earned a de­gree at the Mary­land In­sti­tute Col­lege of Art in 1932.

In 1937, she mar­ried Dr. Don­ald F. Proc­tor, a Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity pro­fes­sor of anes­the­si­ol­ogy, oto­laryn­gol­ogy and en­vi­ron­men­tal health sciences.

In 1939, Bal­ti­more Sun art critic A. D. Em­mart wrote about her works then on dis­play at the Bal­ti­more Mu­seum of Art and com­pared her style to the French painter Raoul Dufy. He said her paint­ings “Spring at Last” and “Ti­mo­nium Race Track” “have the qual­ity of clever illustration with a con­fi­dent, charm­ing light­ness of treat­ment to match their spirit.”

As a young MICA grad­u­ate, Mrs. Proc­tor taught art to young mem­bers of the Sis­ters of Mercy at the Mount Saint Agnes Col­lege in Mount Wash­ing­ton. She later joined the fac­ulty of the old Mary­land Col­lege for Women in Lutherville.

She also taught art to chil­dren at the Bal­ti­more Mu­seum of Art from1942 to 1953, where she worked with artist Belle Boas, whom she of­ten quoted: “If you have an imag­i­na­tion, noth­ing else mat­ters.”

“Her be­ing was 100 per­cent cre­ativ­ity,” said her daugh­ter, Nan Knighton Breglio of New York City. “Many of her stu­dents came from con­ser­va­tive fam­i­lies whose paint­ings would have been hunt­ing shots of mal­lard ducks. My mother opened their worlds and their imag­i­na­tions.”

Mrs. Proc­tor ex­hib­ited her works widely. In 1947, she ex­hib­ited paint­ings at the Fifth Reg­i­ment Ar­mory for a charity event to raise funds for a hos­pi­tal wing in Saint-Lo, France, in mem­ory of Mary­land’s mem­bers of the 29th Divi­sion. Her paint­ings ap­peared along­side of the works of artists Aaron So­pher, Florence Aus­trian and Ed­ward Rosen­feld.

Mrs. Proc­tor be­came head of the Bryn Mawr School’s art depart­ment and served on its fac­ulty from 1953 to 1977.

“While at Bryn Mawr, she ar­ranged the ex­chang­ing of ex­hibits with other pri­vate schools,” said her daugh­ter. “She added an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of art books to the li­brary and ini­ti­ated art as a credit course.”

She then taught adults in Goucher Col­lege’s con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment and joined the Re­nais­sance In­sti­tute at what is now Notre Dame of Mary­land Univer­sity. Her daugh­ter said she taught col­lage, acrylic paint­ing, and black-and­white com­po­si­tion.

In 1983, a Sun re­porter vis­ited her home in North Roland Park and wrote: “Janet Proc­tor likes color and she likes it strong. As an artist, she knows how to con­trol the bold hues so they don’t get out of hand.”

Af­ter re­sid­ing on St. Ge­orges Road, Mrs. Proc­tor moved to the Roland Park Place re­tire­ment com­mu­nity.

“Although my mother had mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion and was legally blind, she be­gan teach­ing art cour­ses there at the age of 90 and con­tin­ued for years,” her daugh­ter said.

Mrs. Proc­tor urged her stu­dents to pro­duce orig­i­nal and imag­i­na­tive work. “A typ­i­cal as­sign­ment was for the older stu­dents to cre­ate paint­ings based on Amy Low­ell’s poem ‘Pat­terns,’ ” her daugh­ter said.

Mrs. Proc­tor dis­played her works in seven ex­hibits at the Bal­ti­more Mu­seum of Art. She also showed her paint­ings at the old Mor­ris A. Me­chanic Theatre, the C. Grimaldis Gallery on Charles Street and at the 16 East Hamil­ton Street Club, where she was a mem­ber.

“Her paint­ings were in the Amer­i­can prim­i­tive style with a great deal of whimsy and an enor­mous amount of color,” said her daugh­ter. “Part of their charm was my mother’s child­like in­no­cence.”

She said her mother was in­flu­enced by chil­dren’s books, such as L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” se­ries and the works of Robert Louis Steven­son.

In her many years of teach­ing, Mrs. Proc­tor asked par­ents if she could keep pieces of their chil­dren’s art. In the 1980s, she staged an ex­hi­bi­tion of those works at the Bal­ti­more City Hall Gallery.

A memo­rial ser­vice will be held at 3 p.m. to­day at Roland Park Place, 830 W. 40th St., where she also or­ga­nized art shows.

In ad­di­tion to her daugh­ter, sur­vivors in­clude a son, Dou­glas Proc­tor of Bal­ti­more; three grand­daugh­ters; and two great­grand­chil­dren. Her hus­band of 69 years died in 2006. Jan­ice Proc­tor “opened [stu­dents’] worlds and their imag­i­na­tions,” her daugh­ter said.

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