As a child, Jane Seymour was often dressed in white and taken to the sea by her mother.
Plopped down on the warm beach, Seymour would mold valleys out of sand and build villages in the dunes, careful fingers tracing rivers through her little world, with miniature moats to keep waves at bay.
Decades later, this memory would spread onto her canvases as a little girl in white grasping a bucket, watching the waves crest and fall.
“Going to the beach was always incredibly important to me, and I wanted to capture that innocence in children, that belief that you can do anything,” Seymour said. “That’s something that speaks to the child in all of us.”
Known for her work in “James Bond: Live and Let Die” (1973) and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” (1993-98), the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress is taking on a role not seen by the public: painter. .
Seymour, 64, who paints out of a studio in Los Angeles, will be exhibiting her works for viewing and for sale at The Mahler Fine Art gallery in Raleigh. Among the paintings: women in red, twirling in thick skirts; a mother playing with her toddler; and Seymour herself among a garden of lavender and scarlet flowers.
Inspired by ups, downs
“(The inspiration) comes from my life,” she said. “My last house in the U.K., the flowers I grow in my garden, movement and very much so dance, which was the number one passion for me.”
In brushstrokes reminiscent of the impressionists, Seymour’s paintings exploring innocence and nostalgia will be shown together with her works of more mature themes – motherhood, passion and power.
“I went through a terrible divorce (about 23 years ago), and it was a turning point in my life,” she said. “I had no money, no home, a terrible debt. I felt helpless and devastated.”
Her mother gave her advice: When you have been hurt, accept and reach out to someone else with an open heart. That advice led her to free painting lessons, and later, the design for her “open heart” jewelry collection, which caught traction with consumers through Kay Jewelers.
In the past two decades, Seymour said the fusing of her acting and painting skills came naturally. She often poses for her own paintings.
“It occurred to me that in my day job, I am hired to bring emotion to my face – and it’s a short cut for me to convey that emotion myself,” she said.
Playing many roles
The influence of her film work also is apparent on some of her canvases. The painting “Tara” echoes the golden-age Hollywood film, “Gone with the Wind” (1939), while another shows a passionate kiss between Seymour and co-star Christopher Reeve from “Somewhere in Time” (1980).
“It’s a very eclectic collection, and each one has stories and meanings behind them,” she said. “It’s of my life. Some people act and play one role and never play another, but that’s not me.”
Seymour’s acting schedule has also been full. She recently signed on as a recurring character in the CW’s “Jane the Virgin.”
If asked to choose between art and acting, Seymour said she would be at a loss.
“I can’t separate the two. It would be like asking, ‘Which child do I love more?’”