What initially captured your imagination about the medium you use?
After sitting as a Secretary for many years, I wanted to do something artsy that did not involve sitting in a chair. About six years ago when my husband and I were on the motorcycle with two other couples, we went to Bruce Howdle’s art gallery that I heard about from our friend and fellow artist Tom Lieder.
Pottery has always been fascinating to me. The artist Bruce Howdle was extremely welcoming and was nice enough to take the time to show us around and I was totally intrigued with his pottery. He displayed beautiful vases and statues of life sized pigs with teeth and huge murals he had made. He showed us his process and all the steps involved.
Shortly after this, I was searching U-Tube videos and stumbled upon Textured Paintings by Paul Bozzo. Bozzo art intrigued me and I decided to try my hand at it. No one in this area was doing anything like this so I thought it might be a good fit for me. There are lots of people who do fabulous artwork and I was looking for something different and unique.
What types of things inspire you to create art?
I love animals and wildlife of all kinds. Trying my hand at different subjects is so fun for me and I lose myself to what I call “The Zone”, where nothing else matters. I love losing myself to the creative process.
Nature is an inspiration, the changing of the seasons is beautiful. When I gaze at the trees around our area, I am amazed at what they have endured throughout the years of ice and snow, wild spring storms and blazing hot summer days. They still lift their limbs to the sky to house the many birds and insects that rely on them for shelter. We have a dying Ash tree in our backyard and the woodpeckers love it.
Walking to Storrs Lake with our dogs is a great time to reflect. I love hearing the birds overhead and the sounds of the waves when we get to the launch area. Water is a great inspiration for me. I spent my early years on the Rock River and still love the sound of waves hitting the shore.
When I started doing the joint compound textured plaques I found old unwanted boards at Goodwill and Consignment shops. I enjoy the fact that I am giving something unwanted and unused a new purpose. One of the plaques had a “To Grandma From Jennifer ” dated in the 1970’s. I always felt bad that that item was discarded. Grandma, perhaps, passed away, so now I get the opportunity to give the little plaque a new design and it will be displayed with love.
What life experiences have helped to shape you as an artist?
My artwork has a lot of circles, because I have a love/hate relationship with the circle of life. I love the fact that my artwork will live on after I die. I have a beautiful oil painting of a horse head that my Great Grandmother painted. She died quite young and I still thank her for the creative genes that she passed my way. My father and mother both did artwork and encouraged me to keep learning.
My husband and I walk quite a bit and he loves finding items that have been thrown away as unusable. Often he can fix the item and give it away or recycle it. He also finds many things for me to do my artwork on and many different items to try to imprint into the joint compound.
Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.
Generally, I do my artwork every day. I set aside time as this is very important to me. My process begins with spreading joint compound over the surface. I then imprint designs such as doilies, stamps, combs and anything I find interesting into the joint compound.
When the plaque has dried for 3 or 4 days, I sand it down with sandpaper. Then I apply two coats of Liquitex Gloss Sealer. When dry, I apply Yellow acrylic paint to the entire surface. I then wipe clean the areas I want to keep white.
After the plaque dries, I again apply sealer. Next I use Red and Orange together over the surface. Again, I wipe away what I do not want. Then the sealer again. The sealer in between colors, keeps the colors crisp and true. Next is Blue and Green and wipe away what I do not want. Apply sealer again.
What plans do you have for the future direction of your art?
I plan on getting better as an artist and more creative. My most current work has a more mechanical feel to it because several people have asked over the years if I had something more mechanical looking and I thought it was a great idea to try.
Perhaps I will try pottery.