inspiration

mom life, june jewell

Mama model call

This blog post started out as a response to an email I received asking about a post I did on FB. Two days ago, on a whim, I decided to put a post asking for local WOC mamas that might be interested in having me paint them.

Over 50 women responded, some sent photos, some did not, some are white, most are not, all are beautiful.

I’m having a hard time deciding who to choose. I wish I would’ve had everyone send me photos beforehand, but was met with such overwhelming response that I have more than enough info to pick a few mamas. I am loving the outreach. I don’t usually get that big of a response from my posts, but love that this is the one that stood out to others.

All of the portrait paintings that I’ve done so far have been either of friends or women that I’ve found & asked permission from online. So many of the women that I’ve reached out to in the past were white, because that’s what seems to be the easiest to find. Instagram is where I have found most of my previous references when typing in relevant hashtags, such as #pregnantmama or #motherandchild I was seeing that a majority of the posts were white women. Fine, but I want to show more diversity in my work. So I started typing in more specific hashtags, such as #blackwomenbreastfeed or #latinamamas or #asianmother & was met with a bunch of memes or women that didn’t speak English or women that wouldn’t respond to my messages.

I live in a majority white community in Purcellville. Whenever we venture East, my son becomes curious about people’s skin tones, food, & culture. I want him to know more about the people of the world...people that don’t look like him.

My favorite subject right now to paint is mothers with their children in all their beauty. Painting strong women is one of the many ways I hope to expose my children to how I love & accept others. Historically , our society has portrayed women as the weaker sex & men in power in this country are often white. While everything has “worked out just fine” for many, I tend to think there’s a lot of improvement to be done.

I want to give “ordinary moms” an opportunity to feel special, while loving on their children. Some of my favorite captured moments are breastfeeding, baby wearing, pregnancy, & snuggles. I love when the image takes up the whole canvas, showing the closeness of the bond.

I wish I could paint everyone that reached out & might just do that over time. I posted in two groups & got over 50 responses, so that would take about a year, but would be a fun project.

Right now though I’m taking a few moms that are interested in purchasing, which will become priority & a few that have not suggested whether or not they would purchase, but that I feel will add to my portfolio in one way or another.

Ideally I’ll get to take pictures of a few moms on the same day, art direct them a bit & have some pictures to paint from. I am also interested in learning more about the women I choose & hope that they share a bit of their story to post along with the final piece.

One of the main reasons I’m doing this so that my art can be my own. I’m not using some stranger from the internet’s photo, potentially taken by another artist (photographer). I don’t want the images to be overly staged, just casual, candid images capturing the love between family. I feel like I’m finally at a place to take another step with my art, I’m excited that my community wants to support me in my climb.

Thank you to all who reached out. I will be contacting my choices on/by Sunday.

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Tears Bring Change

The past two years have been a roller coaster of emotion. I'm just going to straight out say it: I am not at all happy with this administration. Every single day something has happened that has made me audibly sigh, shake my head, cry, or just feel defeated. I have found solace in my art & it has been extremely therapeutic to me. I feel the need to paint everyday & have painted almost everyday. My art varies in style, medium, & technique from time to time, but it's all the same outlet.

Last week, I was listening to this podcast, The Jealous Curator: Art For Your Ear with Danielle Krysa. She was saying something sweet about a guest that she had on & her enthusiasm made my eyes well. I used to frequent her blog, the jealous curator, years ago, but something happened & it fell off of my radar. About two months ago, I stumbled across this podcast & listen to it every night in my studio as I paint. I started at the beginning, because, if I know something's going to be good, that's what I must do. Maybe it's FOMO, I don't know. I'm hooked.

Anyway, I emailed her, thanking her for her work in writing about artists, talking to artists, & launching many emerging artist's careers. I told her how I cried & I felt comfortable in saying so to a total stranger because it did not feel as though she was one. I had, after all, listened to her talk, sometimes about personal things for hours on end. Something has to be said for being vulnerable to the world & allowing strangers to feel as though they're not alone & as though they're friends. I have, of course, had characters in books & in tv or movies that I've related to, but never really felt this sort of belonging. 

She responded to my email & I read the email in her voice, which I only really do with people I've known my entire life. It sparked something in me. I don't expect we'll be friends, having tea & baked goods, but this fandom is new for me. It felt as though she has been my cheerleader, pushing me forward in my work, which is so nice. Every episode had gems of wisdom, which I feel are meant for me & I only wish I had written them all down. 

Danielle said something a couple episodes back about reading interview answers that brought her to tears & again, I cried. Tonight, I listened & Sally Taylor was on & she said something that I thought was funny at first, but then felt true. It was something along the lines of "tears are the iceberg around your heart melting." I live my happy day with Calvin. We don't have to talk about anything in particular. The outside world does not matter much when I'm with him. But then, Nick brings him up to bed, & suddenly the news of the world falls on me. I have to listen, at least a little. How could I not? I want to be at least mildly informed. 

Since these last couple cries, I've felt lighter. I've felt a change in the air & I'm excited again. Last month, I sold 4 paintings. It had been a bit of a dry patch, mostly because I'm terrible at marketing & listing new work. I'm trying to get better. I have been thinking more about the future & what I want to do with my business. I have goals again & it feels good.

much love,

jj

 

 

 

 

art

Day 18/30 of 30 in 30

Today (technically yeserday as it's passed midnight) is day 18 of the passion color joy 30 paintings in 30 days art challenge. I've started 71 pieces since Sept. 1! Whoa. 

Of those 71,  20 are finished. Many others are close. 

The first night I think I started 12 paintings & I think most of those were scrapped (though definitely not thrown away, I will come back to them. I hate throwing art away/wasting) I've been so super inspired & have spent basically every spare moment I can get my grubby little hands on painting like a wild woman. I started doing these watercolor with acrylic background paintings that I had never done.

I have painted on a wide variety of sizes of canvas & paper. I had originally cut out 20 pieces of paper, prepped 30 canvases & was going to focus on working on just those with a strict color pallet. That did not happen. I started the month only really painting an hour each night, but some days was able to get as many as 3-4 hours, which I hope to make a more regular thing. I didn't have one moment where I was like, dang what am I going to paint tonight?

I just sat down & painted & I am honestly so proud of myself. I tried out some new color combinations I wouldn't have ordinarily chosen, some forms I wasn't quite sure if I liked, but I stuck with it. I obviously have some pieces that need some tweaking, but even to say that I've done 20 pieces in 18 days is such an accomplishment for me. Honestly there's only 1 or 2 pieces that I really truly enjoy & want to hang up. &(!) they're both pink, which I would not have expected myself to like. I'm a big time green & blue with a subtle yellow, orange, maybe pink kind of girl. 

This challenge only further proves that I have to make sure to carve out time for art. I've spent many of the nights listening to the Jealous Curator podcast from the beginning while painting. It's so inspirational, there's so much great advice. 

One of my favorite bits was "make piles of crap. " Not everything is going to be mind blowing, I've come to terms that my work is very experimental & that a lot of my work is going to be more of a lesson on how to get to where I want to be. Actually, it's more of a lesson on letting go of where I want to be & just going where the inspiration takes me. 

Let art happen.  

If on August 31st, you would've asked me what I wanted to do with these 30 days & shown me this collection of work that I've done in the past 18 days, I don't know that I would've believed you. Some of this work is so not the typical work that I would do, but I'm still pleased with it. 

I have a trip coming up in a few days to NM to see my mom with my 15 month old son. I hope I'll be able to get some painting done there, but since I don't get back until Oct. 4th, this might just be all I have to show for this month. I'm ok with that. It's more than I can say I've done in one month in probably years. 

I will definitely be pushing myself more in the future.