This design was inspired by artist Jennifer Smith, and is #1 in our Little Stitchy Collection of free printable embroidery patterns. And if you would like to learn more about our featured artist, be sure to check out her interview below, under our Artist Spotlight section.
• Jennifer Smith •
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Jennifer Smith and I live in Vancouver, Washington with my boyfriend and cat named Kahlyopee. Most of my family doesn’t live around here, but my sister does live nearby in Portland, with her husband and kids. For my day job, I am a middle school art teacher. I’ve been painting for 17 years or so; mostly just messing around at first with watercolor and then acrylic. For 3 years I’ve been working with oil paint and the things I paint now.
2. What made you want to become an artist?
I have always been an artist, so it’s kind of something I cannot separate from myself. I am naturally creative, inquisitive and experimental. Art is something that makes me happy, my brain kind of buzzes excitedly as I make it. I used to use it as just entertainment. Then in college, through pursuing a degree in graphic design and finally art education I had to take lots of art classes. My art started to develop and be more purposeful.
3. What inspires you most/where do your ideas come from?
That’s a hard question. I get inspired by everything around me, landscapes, scenery, photographs, other artists, clouds, people, stories, conversations, sometimes things just pop into my head and are not necessarily inspired from anywhere.
4. Show us your three favorite paintings and tell us why you like them.
This is the “Lady of Sparkle and Intrigue”. I like her because she is sassy, fun and I really enjoy painting people. I find it very challenging.
“The Bluebird of Happiness”. I like this one because it developed accidentally and has such nice flow. I love swirls and curling type movement. Also I really like the contrasting color combination.
“The Path I Might Have Taken”. This is such a peaceful painting. I love the colors in the tree trunks and the combinations to make shading. It looks like a nice place to be and kind of makes me sigh happily inside my head.
5. How would you describe your creative process?
Many of my paintings are spontaneous. I will first paint the background in many different colors and study it. Then I might add a tree, or grass, or flowers. It depends on what the painting decides it wants to be. However, the paintings of people or paintings with many lines in it such as “We are All Connected”, are planned out by sketching proportions on the canvas to make sure everything fits.
6. What are your favorite materials or medium?
Currently I am in love with oil paint. It flows so nicely and is a very versatile, forgiving medium. I can also paint over mistakes and change things easily.
7. What advice or tips would you give to someone who is new to painting?
Just go with the flow. If you don’t like it, let it dry and paint over it. (if it’s not watercolor) Keep painting. Paint a lot. Experience develops your technique and style tremendously. Have fun! It’s not supposed to be so serious. If you make a mistake, change it into something cool. Listen to your intuition and trust yourself. Often times those are the things that can make a fantastic painting. Observe, study and pay attention to things around you. There are some pretty exciting and fantastic things in the world that are very inspiring. Don’t listen to everyone else. Paint what makes you happy. Creativity is like a muscle, use it or lose it. The more you practice creativity and thinking outside the box the more interesting things you will be able to create. DO NOT EXPECT PERFECTION. It’s not possible. :*) I could go on, but I think that’s good for now.
8. When you paint, what is the one thing you cannot do without?
A story of some sort. Whether I am listening to a movie or an audible book on my phone, I love to be entertained and listen to them while I paint.
9. Aside from painting, what else do you enjoy?
I love to hang out with my friends, boyfriend and family. I enjoy working out and am a pretty active person. I love being outdoors on a walk, at happy hour or just relaxing.
10. What handmade item or artwork (that someone else made) do you most cherish?
I have a painting of a sunset that is very special to me that was done by my Grandma Ramaeker. My parents got it when I was six years old. I used to stare at it, looking, observing, being inspired by it, dissecting it so I could see how she did it.
11. Where has your work been displayed?
I have had my art in a couple different places: First Friday at Vinnie’s Pizza in downtown Vancouver, Angst Gallery, Gallery 360, and New Seasons Market. I will also be displaying my art at the Vancouver Library in November and December (2013) next to the Firstenburg Center. I’ve also had my work at various art selling events where I have been able to have a booth.
12. Do you teach painting or have you wrote any books on the subject?
I have not written any books, but I do actually teach art. I teach middle school art, and in my class I teach a variety of art mediums including pottery.
13. Who is your favorite artist/designer/craftsman and why?
Auguste Rodin is one of my favorite sculptors. There are many dynamic, supple, and fantastic pieces that inspire me three dimensionally and sometimes while painting. I love the way he could make the smoothness of the marble so skin like.
14. Tell us about your work space.
It’s at home in my living room. It’s an open area where I have easy access to the TV, kitchen and my computer where I often look up reference photos on Google. It works for me right now. Currently, living by myself, I am able to paint in the living room without bothering anyone else. Someday I hope to have an actual studio space where I can close the door and separate my work-space from my home space. Below is a photo of my studio space. The painting on the right wall is the one by my Grandmother.
Thank you so much Jennifer for your interview and for being a part of our Artist Spotlight! And also for inspiring an embroidery design for our Little Stitchy Collection.