But I was intrigued. I watched. I contemplated. And I continued writing in my journal and painting on my canvases. Then one day I decided to try it. I was curious. I wanted to understand what it was all about. Plus I teach creativity classes. It seemed like a natural connection.
The past year has been full of art! What a whirlwind!
My statement for this blog page, "inhaling life one day at a time," feels extremely accurate. How has it been a year since I've written? Yet I have been posting on Facebook - please check out my Jessica T. Kovan Art page and feel free to "like" it!
I have been fortunate to share my art in two solo shows over the past year: "Daily Gratitudes" at the Janice Charach Gallery in W. Bloomfield, MI and my current show, "Fragmented Realities," which can be seen at the Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame in Lansing Michigan through the end of January. "Fragmented Realities" focuses on themes of love, life, hope, nature, family and community - or basically my life. Check it out!
Ten years ago my sister-in-law, Terri, lost two dear friends within a week of each other. Leah, her best friend since childhood, an exuberant beautiful mother of three died tragically in a car accident. Four days later, Marc, their close friend lost his battle against cancer. Terri believes Marc was willing to let go when he knew Leah would be his angel. Their obituaries ran on the same day directly across the page from each other.
I recently challenged myself to incorporate monoprinting into my paintings. I like monoprinting for the stark black and white images that ensue. I also like that with monoprinting the image can only be made once. There is a true element of surprise when you first glimpse the image which emerges. In the process I have learned to appreciate the randomness of lines, work with them, accept them, and pay careful attention to both positive and negative space.
As often happens to me, I was running and listening to music and heard the phrase "gallery of broken hearts" in an Ingrid Michaelson song (Be O.K.). I love the phrase. And doesn't
"gallery" just make you think "art"? My mind started working. Monoprinting seemed like a perfect way to try to communicate the feelings behind a broken heart. As I thought about how to capture the phrase in a painting, I realized I wanted to try to communicate the growth and eventual beauty that can come from a broken heart.
Last year I made a radical decision. I changed my vegetable garden over to a bouquet garden. I decided my life was at a point I wanted to be able to give people bouquets of flowers - not zucchini. Flowers bring happiness and sunshine into a room. That is what I wanted to do.
There were other pieces that played into my decision. I have a hard time pulling weeds. Who gets to decide weeds are less important than veges? And then there are the deer and rabbits and miscellaneous critters, japanese beetles, and did I mention deer? And cucumber virus. Quite honestly, I am not really a very good gardener and I love the farmer's market. So I threw in the towel and started planting flowers. Not any flowers but flowers that can be cut for bouquets. Zinnias, sunflowers, bachelor buttons, daisies, lavender.
Poet Ellie Schoenfeld gave me a true gift this 4th of July. She allowed me to use her poem, Patriotism, in a painting that will be hanging this month in Gallery 1212's Patriot show. I love her poem. Ellie's words remind me that we are all in this together. I value independence, both personal and national. I also value community, cooperation and collaboration - the lessons we can learn from the earth. Ellie's poem says this beautifully.
When I asked Ellie (who doesn't know me at all!) if I could use her poem in a painting, she responded "You are welcome to use it. I love that my poem might be inspiring someone else to create art!" Her words and actions match her poem.
I often use words in my paintings, but usually in the background. In designing Patriotism, however, I wanted the emphasis to be on the words. My idea was give the background the texture and feel of the earth (see detail below) while letting the viewer breathe in the poem. I lost words over edges - hopefully to make you think more.
May we all learn from the lessons in nature. I do daily. Thank you Ellie Schoenfeld for the reminder. Happy In(ter)dependence Day to all.
Thank you to everyone who gave me such warm encouragement on my new website!
You are all the best.
It was suggested that I post a bit more about myself and my paintings. I thought “I am Alive” might be the perfect catalyst. I am so pleased that “I am Alive” was recently accepted into the International Society of Acrylic Painters Exhibition in Paso Robles, California!
Most of my paintings start with a title – which is a bit backwards from many artists who see an image first and want to capture it. I hear a phrase or feel a feeling and want to share it visually. “I am Alive” started exactly that way.
On a very cold January day in Michigan, I was out running and listening to music. My kids often reprogram my shuffle so I am constantly hearing new songs while running. The song “I’m Alive” from the Broadway show “Next to Normal” suddenly came on and for some reason totally caught my attention – which is what I love about running. I was transfixed: listening to the words, feeling the beat, running, and creating in my head.
“I'm alive, I'm alive, I am so alive, And I'll tell you the truth, If you let me try. You're alive, I'm alive, And I'll show why, If you climb on my back, Then we both can fly. I’m alive. I’m alive.”
Can’t you just feel the beat and the power? There was something about the grayness and cold of day and the song just woke me up. When that happens, I listen to the music over and over and my run takes on a life of it's own. There is nothing better. It is part of my creative process which sometimes makes running so much easier. It's magical. Then the hard work begins - trying to put the image in my head and the emotions that I am feeling on to paper. But I love the challenge. And on that day, "I am Alive" began.
Above my desk I have a Brian Andreas quote which reads:
"Is willing to accept that she creates her own reality. Except for some of the parts where she can't help but wonder what the hell she was thinking."
My winter self portrait and the "help" that can be seen in the midst of "On Silent" may be just that wondering. I was quite honored recently to win the Devines in the Pines award for "On Silent" in the 31st Annual Michigan Artist Competition.. If you are in southwest Michigan, stop by the Battle Creek Art Center to see the show!
Welcome to my new website and blog!
A huge shout out to my daughter, Sarah, who helped me redesign my website and launch my blog. I wanted a site which better matched my personality - which was no small feat.
Sometimes my life feels like a rainbow of chaos and art helps me to see all the colors. I am pleased to share this with you.
Thank you Sarah. And away we go! Please check it out!
Inhaling life one