Some of Jane Seymour's most loyal fans don't care that she's an actress.
They're fond of her because of what she can do with a brushstroke.
Seymour comes to North Texas this week for an exhibition of her paintings at Wisby-Smith Fine Art, 500 Crescent Court in Dallas, from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Many who attend the show will be there because of Jane the actress. They'll want to meet the star of TV's Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and of such movies as Live and Let Die and Somewhere in Time.
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"But believe it or not, there are people who buy and collect my art, and they don't even care that I act," Seymour says.
Either type of fan, she says, is welcome and greatly appreciated.
Look through Seymour's paintings and you'll see an artist who loves color and beautiful imagery. She likes to paint flowers, garden landscapes and beachfront seascapes. Her series of radiant "Open Hearts" watercolors spawned a popular jewelry collection. She wants her art to elevate, to make people feel good.
Ironically, when Seymour took up painting about 20 years ago, it was during one of the most unhappy periods of her adult life.
"I had lost everything financially and emotionally in a terrible divorce," Seymour reveals. "At first, I was in a very dark place. But as I started painting, all of these calm and serene images came out of me.
"The process allowed me to get out of my head and away from all the things that were troubling me. It allowed me to express myself, to take myself into almost a meditative state, where my thoughts were only about color and form and the energy of the strokes and beautiful images that spoke to me personally.
"It helped heal me. To this day, painting is unlike anything else that I do creatively. I love acting. I love everything else that I do. But my art is about as close as you can get to the real me as anything I do."
At first, painting was something Seymour did for herself. But as people found out about her new pastime, there became a demand that she go public.
"It started with members of the crew on Dr. Quinn wanting some of my paintings," she says. "So I made some inexpensive prints, and the crew got them for Christmas. Then they had T-shirts made with my images on them. So imagine these big, hunky guys running around with heavy equipment and wearing T-shirts with flowers on them, usually going along with camouflage pants. It was a very interesting sight."
Soon, the word got out. She was published in a book called Actors as Artists. That led to Korbel Champagne hiring her to create an image for a limited-edition champagne bottle and Discover Card commissioning a decorative credit-card image. From there, she had her first art show.
Three of her Discover Card pieces were shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. One was auctioned off for $25,000, with the money going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Now she averages about 12 to 15 one-woman shows every year in galleries all over the country.
"Part of me doesn't want to part with my paintings," she admits. "They're my babies. But when I see how happy people are to have them, I think, 'Wow, that's kind of cool.'"
Seymour's first major collector was Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise.
"He saw my art being uncrated in New York at Art Expo," Seymour says. "I wasn't there at the time. The paintings were just being uncrated. And he bought seven pieces on the spot. My art dealer ran after him and said, 'Don't you want to know who the artist is? She's an actress.' The man said: 'I don't care. She's an artist. I love my paintings.' And off he went."
Yet she has no objections if fans want to buy her art because of her acting fame.
Those fans will be interested to learn she often paints herself as characters she played.
"Some people want to have a self-portrait of me as Dr. Quinn in their home, and I'm happy to oblige," she says. "Others might want a piece of me with Christopher Reeve from Somewhere in Time. And I can't make the James Bond Live and Let Die pieces fast enough. They fly out the minute I make them!"