Jennifer is featured throughout September at our collaborative exhibition space with Decorah’s Chamber of Commerce, on Water Street in “Submerged”, works in oil and acrylic on canvas, “Submerged”.

Jennifer with one of her pieces featured in "Submerged".

Jennifer with one of her pieces featured in “Submerged”.

Tell us about your studio/workspace: what do you surround yourself with when you work?

I am currently using a portion of our dining room as a studio. While it makes using our dining room table for meals a little challenging, painting with the abundance of natural light is wonderful on so many levels. I have plans to move the studio downstairs to our basement in the not too distant future, but I fear I will be forever spoiled by the fantastic light of the dining room. While I work, I enjoy listening to music while my dog Moe rests beneath the easels. So far his coat remains paint free, but it is only a matter of time.

What motivates you to keep creating new work? 

My work’s current underwater theme is incredibly compelling and can travel in so many different directions that I cannot even conceive coming up for air anytime soon. Portraying water and the refraction of light on it’s own is multi dimensional, but then you add people and that opens up another myriad of options. I have also considered painting swimming animals, but that’s off on the horizon.

To answer the question, the work creates flow which in turn, inspires more work.

How does your practice reflect you and your interests?

There have always been two constants in my life: water and creative energy. It has taken me many years to evolve to the point where the thought combining the two became apparent.

I am an avid swimmer and in the pool most days of the week. Water keeps me balanced and I am a much better human being as a result of moving through it on a regular basis. Likewise with having a range of creative outlets over the years. While I may not have been actively making “art”, I used my creative energy in many different disciplines ranging from cooking to running a school.

To be able to get wet, interact with swimmers, take photos, and paint as a means to an end is quite simply… awesome.

How important is an online presence for artists today?

The development of an online presence is a fantastic tool for artists. I reflect back to when I graduated from college with my Studio Art Major and was too fearful to approach galleries on foot with my giant portfolio in hand. It is now so much easier to self market, submit proposals, create a name for oneself and even sell art with the help of today’s digital technology. Speaking of which, my website will be fully functional, complete with blog very soon.

What advice would you give to your artist self if you were starting out now?

Never falter! Keep working! First and foremost, you are an artist! Now that I have been focused on my work full time for the past few months I am contemplating how much time I have let slip by without a concentrated effort on my work. My identity as a working artist fell to the wayside and I was lost to it for a good number of years. It feels amazing to be painting and as if I have reclaimed that 6 year old girl who “wanted to be an artist” when she grew up.

How do you stay connected with other artists?

We are fortunate that Decorah is a vibrant artistic community so one doesn’t have to look to hard to find other artist with whom to connect. I also continue to be in frequent contact with artists online with whom I have worked with in the past or have met along the way. The fact that I am married to another creative spirit who majored in art is also helpful.