As long as I can remember I have watched the world around me with the eyes of a painter. Becoming a visual artist was probably the logical direction for my life. That direction has not always been an easy one but it has always been where I eventually end up after several detours along the way. As I grow as an artist I reflect on the beginning of the journey when I didn’t see as well as I do now. At every turn there is something that makes me want to stop and paint.
My work is both my journey and my adventure. The landscape that surrounds me every day is what I choose to paint. I won’t say there is beauty in everything I paint but never the less there is something there that touches and inspires my imagination. The more I practice the better I will become and perhaps some day I might be pretty good at the art thing.
Being an artist is a way of life for me, a road I travel every day.
My major in art school was printmaking specifically etching. I truly fell in love with the medium and spent hours in the small cramped studio at my college. I was extremely lucky to have two wonderful mentors F. Vredaparis and Jeryl Parker both together seemed to hold the keys to anything and everything that there was to learn about etching. Jeryl went on to be my graduate advisor at Arts and Crafts. After school I worked at both Crown Point Press and Jeryl Parker Editions as a Master Printer. Life always seems to take one on new journeys and mine was no exception. For several years I worked in different fields, moved from the west coast to the east coast, operated a business painting and varnishing yachts and missed my involvement in the art world. Etching was impossible where I lived as I had left my little press in California and there was no print studio anywhere in the area. I began working with watercolor which I hadn’t done since art school. I loved it. I could take it anywhere I went and did so when I moved to Maine. Not long after the move I fell into a small print studio that was part of a community arts program and there I taught etching as well as holding open studio time. I had lots of time to work on my own images as well as spend time teaching. While there I took a workshop in pastel and as happens with so many people I was thoroughly smitten. I have been working in pastel now for over 10 years. I work on panels that I prepare with a mixture of acrylic, pumice, marble dust, gel medium and color which I learned to prepare in a workshop with Susan Ogilvie. The texture is rough and haphazard which suits my style of work most of the time. When I want a smoother surface, one that almost looks blended I work with Kitty Wallis sanded papers. Both of these surfaces are great for doing under painting and can accept water, alcohol and solvents as well as a lot of scrubbing.
I work with several kids of pastels from the buttery soft Schmincke and Sennelier to the harder Girault and Farber Castell. I have recently begun using Diane Townsend’s soft form and Great American. I also use a lot of Terry Ludwig pastels. His Intense Dark sets are super. I work outside, en plein aire, as much as the weather permits. I am drawn to water as an element in my work. Sometimes I just put in a puddle even if there is none there. I was recently on a ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota where I was painting a dried-up livestock pond and of course I just had to put some water behind the dam. I look for angularity, flaws, old and abandoned structures especially barns and like water I put these elements into my compositions even if they don’t exist in the real life landscape. Isn’t imagination a wonderful thing!
Light, dark, contrast, shadow, texture, value, hue, warm, cool, local color, atmosphere, creative process, inspiration, composition – the terms seem endless but for every drawing or painting these are the elements that we as artists try to use successfully. I, of course, am no exception and these terms as well as countless others are always there to remind me to look – look – look.
©Jeannie Fine - all rights reserved.