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Jane Seymour Uses Life for Inspiration

Actress will be showing her art at the Wentworth Gallery in the Mall at Short Hills on Saturday.

Those who go to see Jane Seymour's art this weekend may be surprised at what they find.

The actress and artist said in an interview most people know her for her Open Heart collection, but her work is more wide ranging.

"My work might remind you of Monet," she said. "It's a huge range. I don't do 30 of the same thing."

Seymour will be at the Wentworth Gallery in the Mall at Short Hills on Saturday from 4-7 p.m. showing off her collection of art. She'll have 80 pieces of her work on display, including watercolors, acrylics and even some sculpture.

She's looking forward to her visit to the area because there are a lot of "art lovers" in the region and Wentworth is a great gallery. The space allows people to have a complete experience of her world and experiences with her art.

Seymour said she takes her inspiration from her life. She paints quite a bit of the beach, including children, because she lives there now and she used to "dream of that one week every year when we'd get to go to the beach and build sandcastles. It's memories of my childhood."

She also does a number of portraits of a single flower, which she said is like painting a portrait of someone's face. She especially likes to paint the moment of when a flower is curling and has the right shadows.

Seymour's art came out of a difficult time in her life when she was going through a divorce 20 years ago. She said she thought she had a great life, but she found herself facing bankruptcy and felt like she was "free falling."

"Nothing made sense," she said. "My mom told me to accept everything with an open heart."

As part of a silent auction for a charity during her hard time, an artist came to do portraits of her children. He saw some of her work and asked if she was an artist. She said it was something she never pursued. He offered her lessons, and she found it helped soothe her. "I was able to cope and deal with life," she said.

Since then she's been showing her work for 16 years and has had her work included with the Olympics, which she said is a huge honor, and has paintings in the Guggenheim Museum. And now her children are involved in art, including her son.

Seymour said her favorite response to watch with her art is the emotional one. "The whole point of art is to communicate something," she said. If someone has an emotional response, she said, she has been able to communicate her message well.

Her Open Heart Series, for which she is most well known because of Kaye Jewelers, started as a series for women's heart health. It was inspired by her mother, Seymour said.

"If you close your heart, you can't give or receive love," she said.

It's become a symbol of hope and love, especially in a society where there are people who hate for the differences between each other, she said. She feels it symbolizes her mother.

Her mother had a stroke when she was 92 years old when Seymour was invited to do Dancing with the Stars, a show her mother loved. She didn't want to do the show because she was afraid of not seeing her mother again, but her mother communicated she needed to appear, she said.

She created a 3-D version of her open heart painting to wear as a necklace, which she wore during the competition. That's when she met with Kaye Jewelers to turn it into a collection.

But she wants to improve other people's lives, which is when the Open Hearts Foundation started. The organization honored a number of people who have "opened their hearts" in an effort to raise money for St. Jude's.

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