my practice

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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art

#100daysofjj

#100daysofjj starts tomorrow. This means 100 days of unapologetic creativity. 100 days of stepping out of my comfort zone to create art that I otherwise would not. 100 days of june jewell.

I will be slowing down my process, reevaluating previous works, diving back into mediums I have not touched in ages.

I would like to explore different aspects of my creativity as well as ways to make my practice more eco friendly.

My theme is vague. I want to give myself wiggle room. I also know that I need to be firm about some things. I need to get better about so much in my practice, such as documenting my work on my website (but hopefully that’ll be easier with the new Squarespace app), organizing supplies & products, keeping up with administrative duties, utilizing supplies I already have, etc.

I also have to remember that I am a mom of a nearly 3 year old & nearly 3 month old babe & to act accordingly. No ones life is dependent on this challenge. It’s a fun thing.

Here’s a list of things I would like to do within the next 100 days. I don’t expect to do them all. In fact, I know I’ll be doing a lot of “safe” work as I already have a few paintings lined up. With these, I just hope to be more mindful & patient I’m giving myself options, though.

⭕️Paint over an unloved work

⭕️Make a wood burned piece on reclaimed wood

⭕️Make a collage-preferably over a painting on paper

⭕️Step back into embroidery

⭕️Visibly mend a beloved garment

⭕️Explore painting on an upcycled 3D substrate (looking forward to this)

⭕️Carve my lino block that’s been staring at me for months

⭕️Document an adventure with my children

⭕️Collaborations, with Calvin, with friends

⭕️Create a sculpture out of recycled parts

I have a habit of starting things & not finishing. Last year’s #jj100daystocomplete was a journey into completing finished works I had piled in the studio. The hashtag has 25 pictures. Oi, so much for completing the task, which was the whole theme in the first place. I actually got a lot of work that I’m proud of during that time, but very little of it was completing old work, I mostly made new work & did a not so great job of documenting it. I was rushing through it all & some of it is quite obvious.

This year’s challenge starts with me painting over a work that I did during last year’s challenge. It’s a large piece that I’m going to give myself the whole 100 days to work on. I will work on it in between projects. I have a bit of it taped off & will be keeping parts of it until the end.

This Is the piece I didn’t in last year’s challenge. I will be painting over most of it within the next 100 days. 

This Is the piece I didn’t in last year’s challenge. I will be painting over most of it within the next 100 days. 

mom life

DAISY LOLA IS HERE

Nearly two months ago, I had the distinct pleasure of welcoming my beautiful daughter into the world. She is a beam of light & love. Calvin is the absolute best big bro (minus his obsession with constantly booping her nose). He loves her, as we all do, so immensely.

My sweet “Star Gazer” was 10 lbs., 21.5 in. & I birthed her naturally. This birth was more painful than my first & became the most painful & powerful moment of my life so far. I’m so excited to watch her & her brother grow & learn together. She is already such a happy girl, smiling at family with her mouth, but also with her eyes.

She was such a strong creative muse to me during my pregnancy & still is now that she’s born. I’ve been super fortunate to have my mama here with us from New Mexico these first few months so that I’ve been able to heal & prepare for life as a mom of two while trying to maintain a creative practice.

Since Daisy was been born, I’ve been involved in 4 art exhibitions & probably 30 paintings! February was a big month for me. It was for me last year too, but I lost momentum when I got pregnant late March & then was brought down with serious morning (all day) sickness until about month 7. I know that it’s going to take a while to get things in line, balancing raising two beautiful children, keeping house, & continuing to grow my small business, but I’m excited about the challenge.

Photo by Micah Simmons Photography

Photo by Micah Simmons Photography

My work featured at Tryst Gallery in Leesburg. Photo by Kris Loya

My work featured at Tryst Gallery in Leesburg. Photo by Kris Loya

Me at a Meet the artist event. My work hangs from Feb. -March 2019.

Me at a Meet the artist event. My work hangs from Feb. -March 2019.

My sweet children.

My sweet children.

About Me

I've decided to take part in another Instagram/ creative challenge for the month of November. This one is a wood burning challenge hosted by @woodburncorner with #burntnovember  The tasks are every other day, so already pretty relaxed compared to the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge from September. I have already come to terms with the fact that I might not complete them all. I have not even uploaded all of my work from the 30 in 30challenge to my website, I have a few commissions that are pretty urgent, & Christmas is coming up. One solution is to kill a few birds with one stone & word burn some of the Christmas presents this year. Most of the people I gift to are not on Instagram, so it works out.  

Day 1 is titled "About Me." I knew immediately what I wanted to do. It was simple, quick, & is the easiest way to show me, my logo. Back to back jj. June Jewell. I love my name. I got made fun of plenty for it growing up. There was a short period in middle school I wanted people to call me Katie, but other than that, I have always loved my name. 

jj-pyro

Who am I though? 

Now that I'm married & have a son, I feel like I push myself to the back burner constantly. I don't really feel myself or think about myself much at all until my husband comes home from work. On the whole, I'm ok with it, but sometimes, I just want to lock myself in a room for a weekend & paint. I haven't shopped for clothing for me in the 16 months since his birth...minus a couple shirts from the thrift store. I don't shower like I used to, which is fine. I've really decided that I was quite wasteful with water. I forget to brush my hair after showering & it sometimes becomes a tangled mess. I have to push myself to eat meals & drink water. I don't sleep much anymore. My husband & I don't have s much time together. I feel like these are normal mom things. I know I'm not alone in this, but it's still hard.   

I have been asked "how are you?" like 600 times in the past two years since I've become pregnant & had Calvin. I don't know if I've answered honestly once. Sometimes I'll say "tired," but mostly I'm "fine." That's a loaded word. Sometimes it means "ugh, things could be better" & sometimes it's just such an automatic response. I feel like "how are you?" is very rarely sincere these days & I only really answer sincerely when I feel it's being asked by someone that's genuinely curious. A cashier will ask, but not answer when I ask in response. A neighbor will ask while passing on the sidewalk, but keep walking before I've opened my mouth. 

Each day parts of me lose a little bit of faith in humanity, while other parts know how truly great humans can be. Raising a child has always been difficult, but I feel like now, with all of this knowledge (& "alternative facts") out there, it can be so dang stressful to get through one decision. I need an outlet for these emotions & painting soothes me like nothing else. 

My son is my world. He is the smartest, sweetest child I could've asked for & I am so blessed that I can stay home with him. Someone asked me recently to describe my day in as few words as possible. "Day mom, night artist." I need this time when he's asleep to be me, to turn off the mom in me. I usually have a laundry list of things that I'd like to do during this time & am bummed when I just want to paint or am too tired to get much of anything done.

I've painted my whole adult life, sometimes once a week or month, sometimes I would go months without putting brush to canvas. This year, I have not feel right if I have not been painting or being creative in some way every single day. I'm trying to figure out a way to dive deeper into my subconscious, I guess, to paint what I cannot say, which means exploring different types of works.

I don't get around to the administrative portion of my practice nearly as much as I would like to. There are always pieces to upload, prints to order, portfolio stuff, marketing, emails to send, the newsletter, updating facebook or instagram, blogging, etc. I figure, I'll catch up when I don't feel the need to be as creative or if I hit a block.

Trying to make everything in your feed look unified & cohesive is exhausting & I've given up. My art is what comes out. It's not very focused, it doesn't all look alike. I have cute & colorful animals right alongside random & messy abstracts. I use whatever colors my hands gravitate towards, I don't have a set pallette. Not a lot of thought goes into my work. It's all very intuitive. I spend too much time in my head during the day. My art is where my head goes to shut off for a bit.  

Well, enough of this rambling. I really should get some sleep, so I can try to make sense of life again tomorrow. 

Much Love,

jj