Thursday, September 29, 2011

JJ Jacobs

As most of you know, JJ Jacobs and I have been sharing studio space since May. We met a couple of years ago when we both had studios in "The Building" and I have been inspired by her passion and energy ever since.

I have mentioned JJ many times in my blog posts, but today I am excited to share an interview that she so graciously agreed to do. Scroll down to learn more about what inspires JJ and see more of her wonderful work.

©2011 Judy Jacobs "Encore" 30" x 24"

What is your primary medium for creating your art? Have you experimented along the way with other techniques and/or materials? I mainly use acrylic paints & products but I used to use oils, watercolors and gouache. I like the versatility and quick drying time I get with the acrylics and can use various mediums and/or water to achieve oil & watercolor-like effects – plus the quicker drying time allows me to make more art!

What are your favorite subjects? Color is the driving force behind my work, and using a variety of color I like to paint landscapes, cityscapes and non-representational abstracts.

Who/what has inspired you? Georgia O’Keefe was influential to me – I admire her perseverance and tenacity as well as the way she pushed the “norm” with her subject matter and compositions.

When did it first hit you that you wanted to be an artist? I’ve never really thought about wanting to be an artist – I’ve always been one and can’t imagine not having art in my life.

What has your path been like? School, art related jobs, freelance, commercial...... I went to private schools through 12th grade and took every single art class ever offered at my school. I ended up going into real estate which paid the bills nicely but left my creative side empty. About 12 years ago I started fusing glass and making lampworked beads which revived my passion for art and began painting again about 3 years ago. Now I am painting more than doing glass work and pushing the creative boundaries more than before – all while working part-time at the real estate job. I’m praying for the day I can afford to be “working” full-time at my art which I hope will be very, very soon.

How would you describe the current direction of your work? Any changes on the horizon? My paintings are becoming larger and more vibrant. I’ve always used a lot of color but am being less restrained than before; and I’m getting away from thinking too much while I paint! Instead I have been following my intuition and just sort of letting my feelings take over the brush strokes, composition and color selections… doing this my colors seem to flow together naturally and I’m able to get to that point of saying “I’m done” much quicker than when I over think the process. Here are two examples of some recent “intuitive” paintings:

©2011 Judy Jacobs “Gypsy Wind”  30” x 24”

©2011 Judy Jacobs “Wild Child”  24” x 36”

Were you supported in your efforts to become an artist? Yes & no. Growing up with a creative mother, I was always encouraged to paint and color and to use my imagination. When it came time to go to college though, my parents wouldn’t support my desire to be an art major which led me into a long career in real estate instead. I managed to take quite a few college art classes at night and workshops from artists whose work I admire – and don’t regret having the business acumen I acquired during my real estate career. Without the business knowledge I am not so sure I would be doing as well in my art business as I am.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career? Probably the biggest challenge I’ve had in my art career has been building my self-confidence as an artist. I sometimes wish I had pursued an art degree but then I wonder if I had gotten a BFA or MFA if I would still be doing art at all. The other challenge I have is striving to maintain a healthy balance between doing my art and maintaining a social life – I find I can get inside my head too much and tend to become a hermit of sorts.

What brings you the greatest joy? I love watching other people making a connection between a work of art that they see and how excited they get when they tell me or another artist about how the piece relates to them.

How would you describe yourself? How does that come out in your work? I’m generally a happy person who likes to laugh a lot and I try to express those features in my work. When I’m feeling sad or upset about something I may go ahead and paint something just to work through the feelings but in most cases I’ll paint over the piece at a later date. When the earthquake happened in Japan a few months ago I couldn’t stop thinking about the horror those poor people must have been experiencing and painted “The Darkest Hour” while watching the news. This painting still makes me feel sad when I look at it because it reminds me how I was feeling when I created it. Yet another friend of mine loves it and told me it reminds her of the sun setting behind the mountaintops and how it lights up the buildings before nightfall. Go figure 

©2011 Judy Jacobs “The Darkest Hour” 24" x 36"

Any words of wisdom you would like to share? Never, ever ever stop creating and always follow your dream, no matter how scary it may be or how frivolous you think it might be! Life is meant to be lived with passion; and when that passion dies so does the spirit. (Love this! DP)

Thank you JJ! And thanks for being such a great "studio mate"!

To see more of JJ's work go to her website:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spontaneous Inspiration

Looking back on the flower images I made for the show, I was struck by how many of my favorites were ones made in the last few months. I also noticed that quite a few images had a story about how the flowers made their way into my studio.

Normal floral shoots are planned. I pick a day, go to Trader Joe's, buy flowers and bring them back to the studio and set up the shots. There were days when this worked, but sometimes it felt like something was missing, like I was trying to force an outcome with the flowers I had purchased.

I have already shared a couple of stories about flowers that were given to me and how the inspiration just seemed to flow.  "Hellebore Heaven" and "Grateful for the Light" were two examples of that happening.

That "flow" continued into the summer as friends and family who knew about the "flower project" gave me plants and bouquets as birthday gifts.

My studio mate Judy Jacobs heard me mention that I had never photographed a hibiscus. I had bought a plant a few weeks earlier, but any possible blossoms that appeared, would soon drop off. So for my birthday, Judy gave me a hibiscus plant that looked like it had a lot of potential, but at the time did not show anything worth photographing.

I thanked Judy for that and the other equally lovely gifts she gave me and put it on a table in the studio. The very next day I came in and a beautiful single red bloom had presented itself.

I had no intention of photographing that day, but I quickly got out my camera and made quite a few exposures before the blossom started to wilt from all the abuse.

©2011 Dianne Poinski

While I was at it, I decided to play around with the lilies my mother-in-law had sent. I liked this one so much that I put it on my new business card.

©2011 Dianne Poinski

As the deadline for my show approached, I believed there wasn't time to photograph anymore. This is what I was thinking when I received a text from Judy showing a photo of echinacea growing in her mother's yard and the message "should I pick these for you?". At first I said no - then, in what I can only describe as my "muse" intervening, I changed my mind. Good thing, because this session produced a possible series of images. Here are two I have finished so far:

©2011 Dianne Poinski

©2011 Dianne Poinski

I think the point of all this is, while it's important to schedule studio time, plan photo shoots and sit down to the easel on a regular basis, spontaneous bursts of creativity provide not only satisfying images, but hours of pure joy and time to escape the "to-do" lists in my head.....all reasons why I love making photographs in the first place.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Visions Of Translucence

I am back!! It's been a couple of crazy months, but my show opened last week, we had the reception over the weekend and I am looking forward to getting back to a routine with this blog.

I feel like I am going to have a lot to share in the coming weeks. Working on this show challenged me in many ways, but it was also a great opportunity to practice and learn more about hand coloring with PanPastels. I spent hours at my easel this summer and there is a bit of a difference between the images I did at the beginning and the ones I worked on as my deadline quickly approached.

This is especially true of this morning glory image I literally finished and framed two days before I had to deliver everything. 

©2011 Dianne Poinski

You may notice my use of deeper colors and in general, more color than I usually use. Up to this point I did not think I was interested in applying more color, but I also think I was intimidated by the idea. There was a lot of trial and error, mistakes and abandoned attempts before I had a finished image, but I feel inspired now to experiment even more. Like I say a lot ...."stay tuned"..........

Anyway, I digress.....what I really wanted to do was share a video I made of the images displayed at Viewpoint Gallery for the show, "Visions of Translucence" with Donald Satterlee. If you have "liked" my Facebook Page you may have already seen this, but  for those of you who have not, here it is......

Be sure to turn your speakers on and to see it "full screen", click on the arrows on the bottom right corner. If the video is not showing up in this post click here: Visions of Translucence

If you live in the Sacramento area, the show is up until October 1. Their website has more information: Viewpoint Gallery

Thanks for sticking with me during this............(something I also told my husband..... but that's another story.)

I should be back next week!