This week's blog was written by visual artist Jennie O'Connor.
I first joined Artistic Portland in June over five years ago; it was the first month the co-op initially opened in the Hollywood neighborhood. I was very excited to belong to a group where I could meet like-minded friends and have a brick-and-mortar home for my paintings. I was there a year and then rejoined the store a few months after it moved to the current location on SW Taylor downtown. In total, I’ve been a member a little over 4 years.
I have been painting and drawing on and off most of my life, but became more serious after I moved from Seattle to Portland 18 years ago. I began by working in watercolor and after several years began to experiment with acrylics and collage. While I loved watercolor, making beautiful hues by mixing water with paint it began to feel a bit tedious, acrylics gave me a kind of freedom that I enjoy.
When in my creative modeI I tend toward messy whether it be in the kitchen, garden or in the studio. I have the most fun when I am slinging paint around, hopefully, getting more of it on the paper or canvas than myself, walls, and floor.
I currently work in a very small studio that I have created in my home, the size of which can be a problem given my tendency to be messy.
Inspiration comes to me in various ways, sometimes a reference photo is helpful or a scene out-side my window but most of the time I am simply inspired by the process of adding color, shape and texture to the painting surface.
I like to listen a book on tape, or podcast when painting. I find that it helps to keep my brain busy so that I can be more creative. I actually do like to start out in a somewhat ordered fashion. It’s nice to have cleared my workspace, lay out chosen paint colors, brushes, texture making tools, and perhaps collage papers, etc. However, that often changes rather rapidly when I get inspired in the process and there I am again, messy!
When I first started working in acrylics, quite by accident, I was introduced to collage. I put together my very first collage piece which has always been my favorite, it is an abstraction of my brother’s home which sits on the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Keys. I love the scene, the colors and feeling that I was able to create.
If I could magically be a different artist, I would like to be a sculptor. It would be awesome to play with and mold clay.
When I am not creating art, I can often be found in the kitchen stirring up a stew or some other equally yummy savory dish.