Jen In The Studio
A Magical Retreat
What I do as an artist is create worlds, then invite you to experience them. Creating starts as a hazy feeling that I shape through words or art. Sometimes I see in my mind the direction I want to take, other times it is like following a winding river just to see where it goes.
Each world is different, the end result depends on the feeling I’m following. Often the worlds are filled with beauty, magic, and celebration. Others take a darker turn, exploring paths of pain, isolation, and sorrow - creation and destruction, life and death, light and darkness - these are two sides of same coin. I believe that you cannot fully explore one without the other.
I am passionate about a multitude of mediums, consider me an artistic adventurer on a lifelong expedition of creative exploration. I enjoy writing, I like the art of meticulously selecting and phrasing words to build what I wish to share. Being able to illustrate those words takes my happiness to a whole new level. Photography has been close to my heart as well, along with sewing, and restoring antiques. I follow the winding river of creativity wherever it may roam.
After becoming a mother, most of my creative energy has wound into sharing a love of nature and magic with the next generation through writing and illustrating. When I sit to write a book, I think of my son Oliver. I think of how short and precious life is, then I think of the things I would want him to know if I were no longer here. I want him to grow up in a world filled with wonder and know that my love will surround him even when my time in this life is done. I put this energy into each word I write, the writing is an expression of a mother's eternal love toward her child.
When I illustrate these words, the work becomes infused with fun and imagination. As an artist, I've been drawn to surrealism - the world of dreams - and I think this shows in my illustrations. I love to use bright and bold colors with imaginative, reality-bending concepts. I want the imagery to convey the magic behind the things we adults might mistake as ordinary. There are no ordinary things, only people who have forgotten how to see, myself included at times.
I think being nomadic helps me to hit the refresh button on how I view the world. I'm reminded to reassess how I see things as those things change around me. As a nomadic artist, I've learned to create wherever the inspiration strikes - tea shops, hotel lobbies - but my favorite place to create, besides a cozy spot outside, is in my frequently relocating studio (currently located in North Dakota).
My studio is a world that I have created just for me. I sit at the crafting table that my husband and I built together, looking out the large bay windows on the second story of our historic Victorian home. I watch the seasons change and the world unfold outside, while inside I am surrounded by carefully curated objects and music playlists that feed the feeling I'm trying to shape. It is lovely, but rarely ever clean enough to photograph. My studio is the nest where I nurture ideas that will one day take flight and I have a lot of ideas trying to fly.
Studio Playlist Favorites
So there you have it, a snapshot of me as a creative explorer at this juncture in time. Whether I am writing, illustrating, or photographing, I view each piece I create as an expression of the world it is from, different mediums that add to the whole. A painting, a garment, a book, can all belong to the same world. It is an empire built one creation at a time, that I can then share with you.