Seek and You Shall Find

Brian Reitzell’s music playing, harmonizing with the morning rain. Genius brilliant soul. I have heard his music for years and wondered who this was… funny when you keep hearing/seeing something you love from different sources and come to find out so much of it is by the same person. That’s when you KNOW what you really like.

I bring this up early in the morning because this information- (pretty much ANYTHING I want to know about), is readily available at any time of the day for researching at my fingertips. What an incredible luxury. Ahh… the internet. Instant gratification! I’m old enough now that I smile because years ago I would have been on a manual hunt to investigate in libraries and book stores (in the stores, not available online!) If I really wanted to know something, I had to go searching for that something physically… It meant effort. A quest.

The past few months I’ve researched for my new series of paintings. What I have compiled in even just a few short days might have taken me weeks, years ago. I think about all that went in to research after I got out of college to figure out how to run my business as an artist. I bought books, read magazines, set up interviews, wrote and mailed letters and placed phone calls to anyone I could think of who could help me understand how they were making a living solely doing what they loved. Art college was incredible, but my education was only the beginning during those undergraduate years. After college, I visited galleries and interviewed artists, curators, consultants and just kept going to figure it out. I traveled many places to seek out this knowledge and make my connections. There was no Facebook.  You really had to have initiative and balls to go out and meet people. I had as you might have heard the expression “a fire lit under my ass”!  It was a great deal of hard work, but very worthwhile! It still is!

But now… NOW we can just look it all up online… we can meet our favorite artists virtually and ask questions and get answers while sitting at home in our comfy pajamas or having a coffee at Starbucks. EXCEPT… perhaps, really feeling organically connected. That takes some work. I think there is something lost in the way we interact, but that probably makes me sound like I’m getting old and grouchy. lol. In all fairness to making my point in this journal entry, the fact is, if you go searching for it, I believe it is there, waiting to be discovered.

Case in point, an email I received a few days ago from a fan arrived on my smartphone. (Gotta love smart phones!) The subject line read: ‘Thank You!’  An emerging artist was writing to send her thanks. After visiting my site several times, she discovered my online public journal. She wanted to let me know it helped her and even inspired her to start her own journal. Here is a snippet from her lovely email:

“I just want to thank you for being so honest and sharing your frustrations and accomplishments in your journal for all to see (as well as your beautiful work). I felt relief and hope to realize that even the most successful artists feel the same frustrations that I have at one point or another. Congratulations on your recent successes and I will continue to follow your career!”

I’ve been fortunate to be able to help other artists along their path. When I receive notes like this from people from time to time, my heart is filled with gratitude. By finding a way to share my story- and being really open and honest about it all (my triumphs, success,  struggles, my path and goals, etc) I am able to let others know that they aren’t alone out there. Nothing has come EASY. At least for me. Still, I have been very fortunate along the way. I want to share all sides of the story. Not just the good news. There is a plethora of work that goes on behind the scenes. We may see success (or what we perceive to be success) of another and never know what it took for that person to get to where they are. There is something to be said for mystery, but I believe it’s better to share and help others understand that they too can navigate wisely to achieve their dreams. Having examples and inspirational people in our lives is what helps us pick ourselves up sometimes if we fall.  How blessed I am that my story that is always evolving and unfolding can help encourage another!

I want to thank all the artists who reach out and aren’t scared to share and help. Thank you for seeking – and for genuinely being interested in becoming more aware and connected. Sometimes others just need a bit of encouragement along the way.

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The Night Before 2013

My last post was in March. So now I’m averaging two posts per year? That is sad. BUT… there has been plenty to fill my year. As I look back at the calendar to see what I’ve been up to, I’m amazed it all fit in to 12 months. Let me count the ways!

January was welcomed in as I settled in to my new loft, which is MUCH closer to my studio.

In February, I participated in a group show ‘Best of Atlanta’ at Besharat Art Gallery.

In March I went to the coast of California and soaked up a ton of inspiration and now have dreams of moving out there.

In April I moved in to my new studio! LOVE.

Went through a six month audit with the IRS. In the end we came out even.

Donated my artwork to Art Papers, Hambidge Art Center, and the Atlanta Epilepsy Foundation. I also found ways to give back to six additional charities. Felt good to be able to help in some way.

My work was in a ‘Pop Up Gallery’ in downtown Atlanta- representing consultant and curator: Kessenich Contemporary.

Had a very successful solo exhibition ‘Radiant Flux’ in Santa Fe, New Mexico at Hunter Kirkland Contemporary. That series was well received and nearly sold out!

Served Jury duty.

A videographer flew in to film me in my studio for an interview. Turns out I’m still not very comfortable on camera yet.

Tried new things like hot air ballooning, ice skating, snow mountain sledding and saw the Atlanta Botanical Garden of Lights twice this year. Beautiful. Fun. Lovely.

Promoted and was extremely happy to sell and sign copies of my ‘Serenata’ book and also donated a couple of books to charity. The book is still making collectors and fans very happy and I am grateful for all the help I had in putting that together.

At the end of July I was offered exclusive representation in Georgia with Alan Avery Art Company. My newest work debuted in a group show ‘Wet Ink’. The opening was on November 2nd and was a beautiful show. I’m now in a group show at the gallery during an exhibition featuring the works of American Master, Jim Dine.

Had a wonderful opening exhibition at Stellers Gallery in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and spent time with collectors, family and friends.

Traveled to France and spent time in Paris and Provence and London. Amazing inspirations. Another excellent place for an artist residency.

My work was placed in the Jacksonville Baptist Hospital permanent collection.

I accepted representation with Aberson Exhibits in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

My work was published in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine and the Collectors Guide.

Artsy Forager blogged about my artwork, which was lovely!

I signed with ART TRIBE in the event my work is chosen for inclusion in any films/television series sets.

Said goodbye to my Aunt Carole who passed from complications from chemotherapy. I celebrated her life the night of my opening on November 2nd and think of her every day. She helped me get my start with art in San Francisco after college. I will never forget her kindness and generosity.

I spent time with my family for holidays, improved my cooking/chef skills, hiked in nature, went out with friends, survived a month long battle with the flu and have finally organized my office. Of course there are a million other things in between all of these, but there is only so much time left this year.

All year I have felt gratitude and blessings. I continue to look forward and work hard. I have new inspirations ready for the studio and a list of new goals for 2013. Time to move on to twenty-thirteen!

I hope dear readers that you have had a year filled with things that have made you feel empowered and whole, loved and hopeful. I wish you all magic, joy, peace and excellent health. Happy New Year!

For regular updates, please ‘like’ my Artist Facebook Page and sign up for my art mailing list through my website. Anddd…Mark your calendars for a few things coming up in 2013:

May 24: Solo Exhibition (Hunter Kirkland Contemporary- Santa Fe, NM)
June 1: Group Exhibition (Taylor Foundation- Paris, France)
July: Group Exhibition (Besharat Gallery- Barbizon, France)
November: Aberson Exhibits- Tulsa – OK
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One Year Ago & One Year From Now

A quick note…

Many of us use January 1st to mark each “new year”… this past year was marked by my trip to Italy. Tomorrow it will be one year since I left on a plane for Roma to go on an adventure to Italia and soak up as much beauty as I could during a month-long residency.  It’s been twelve months since then and some pretty significant things have happened since I first boarded that plane.

I’m about to move into my brand new spacious studio that I’ve wanted for so so so long! I published my first book. I created an entire years worth of paintings all based and inspired from my trip to Italy. I moved homes. I’ve had solo and group shows and donated artwork and learned how to cook. I’ve learned how to be a better friend to myself. I’m older and wiser. I’m grounded. My heart is bigger than ever and I’m getting my “ducks in a row” for things to come. It’s been good!

At the end of this month I will go to the California coast and absorb as much as I can from my experiences along the coast. Places I’ve never been like Napa, Big Sir, Carmel, and Santa Barbara. I will continue working on my new series entitled RADIANT FLUX and see it début in Santa Fe at the end of May. Watch and see what goes into the new works from the travels and the things that will find their way into my paintings. It’s so elusive! I will work my toosh off in my new studio and continue to use everything I’ve learned over this past year to bring my work to a higher state. September will be my art adventure into France and I can only imagine what will inspire me from Paris and Provence!!!! It will be so exciting and interesting to see what I will be able to say I accomplished one year from now.

For now I say to Italy, thank for helping me become more of the person I am now. Grazie!

Image

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Saying Goodbye and Thanks to 2011

In recent years I’ve been surprised when the end of another year has arrived; usually trying to understand how 12 months passed so quickly, but not 2011.  It’s been a long, full year and I know exactly where all of my time went.

A year of conscious living and so many lessons, achievements, hardships, changes, blessings and everything in between. I spent a month in Italy to celebrate a big birthday and to make a long time dream become a reality. My month-long Italian residency was only the beginning of all that I would come to realize and the ways in which I would grow. I gained a different perspective of myself, the world,  and a greater understanding of my part in it that I’d not fully realized until this year.

2011 was quite a journey. My artwork grew as I grew…

I painted the Serenata series of works that are hands down the best pieces I have ever created. Following the changes in the  economy and feeling the effects much like everyone else, I had to come up with ways to make things work, shift, regroup and reinvent ways of continuing my work as a full time artist. My exhibitions were all a success in their own way and my exhibiting galleries and representatives have been such a light for me. My last exhibition for this year was entitled Ebb & Flow – it was a chance for me to help curate and partner with the gallery and the idea for the show mirrored the way in which I was able to follow my path.

My year has been intense and full of personal enlightenment. By Thanksgiving I finally completed my very first coffee table book, another dream of mine I have always longed to make a reality. The response to my work, the celebrations surrounding my exhibitions and the inspiration I have been able to give to others have all made my year one of the richest I can recall. Not every year that is “the best year” means it is necessarily the happiest or the one filled with romance or even lots of excitement. In fact, sometimes it is the darkest times that can show us the brightest light when we look for it.  2011 was a year to grow up in a way that I needed to… a way for me to become more of my authentic self. And that’s what made it so special for me. Learning how to be present and nourish myself allowed me to find a new depth in all things. I believe all of this is reflected in my relationships and translates into a journey that many who know me can see as positive change in me as a person and in my work.

My feeling of gratefulness is with me as I write this. My plan for 2012 is to continue on my journey and take the best care of myself and those around me as I can. If I can have another year as fulfilling as this past one, I know I will be heading in the right direction. I also feel a larger responsibility that I need to find as many ways to give back and help the less fortunate as much as I can. My heart breaks every time I hear about animal abuse and I believe it is an important time to take greater care of these animals – this will be where a large part of my donations will go. I believe it is our responsibility to protect and nourish the beautiful things in this world. That includes other people, animals and our natural resources.

With a new year, we are gifted more time to become better versions of ourselves… and a continued chance to make a difference in the world for the better. I pray that I will stay awake and present and conscious so that I may continue to do so.

With that I wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope it is filled with blessings and above all,  PEACE.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support of me, my artwork and my efforts. Every little bit is important to me and very much appreciated!

Love and light,

Jennifer

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My first book!

Paintings by Jennif…
By Jennifer J L Jones
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Awake in Autumn

Life is moving quickly… busy busy! The past two months have flown. Summer suddenly gave way to Autumn and fall in Atlanta has been gorgeous. Four art shows in two months and moving takes a lot out of a girl. So much going on that I must quickly jot it down.

For years I’ve wanted to have a coffee table book of my work published… and with our incredible technology today, we have access to self-publish. I finally decided to go for it a couple of months ago and after hiring a designer to help me, we have things quickly moving forward! VERY excited that I have such an incredible response and received essays from some very supportive individuals. They have all helped me by taking time to write about my work specifically for this publication. The enthusiasm around this is project is making me feel especially grateful. Look for this coming out in a couple of weeks! Perfect gift to put on your Christmas list, yes?

I’m exhausted, but also very pleased that I’m doing my best work to date. I just had a showing of my latest paintings at Environment Furniture in Atlanta and the response to the new work was some of the best I’ve ever received in my career. The work is shipping down to Florida on Thursday for a show on the 18th and I’m off to my next showing with even MORE new paintings for my Chicago show in a couple of days. It will be wonderful to see who ends up with some of these new paintings… the latest set is called “Ti Amo”- meaning I love you, in Italian.

So beautiful.

I recently received this note from an artist after I sent out the email invites for my show on October 14th. Every once in a while I receive a note from someone who really touches me. This is one that made me feel really appreciated:

“I was in Environment last month and recognized your paintings (until then I had only seen them online)…they look absolutely gorgeous with their furniture! I hope you sell out! You are not only talented but genuine; how refreshing. I hope to some day meet you in person.”

How blessed I am to have such positive things and people in my life. Yes, there are hardships, but I’m choosing to focus on the positives! And work as hard as I can. To add to it, I spent a weekend in New England at the end of September to visit dear artist friends as well as meet my art collectors. The beauty of New England is really sticking with me… oceans and bays and meadows and marshes right next to farms? Truly a gorgeous place and I’m so glad to have had the chance to enjoy it with my good friends.

I’m also about to move in to a new loft and am thrilled because I need a change, but also because it’s literally only a few minutes from my studio. I can have a better view and be more productive? DONE and DONE.

So many wonderful things and it’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s feeling GREAT!  I even have a book-release party lined up and a special studio event scheduled for the beginning of December. AND I’ve started a ‘give back’ offer to collectors that will help a variety of charities. I really hope people take advantage of that as it’s such a great way to give back. Win-win-win.

A couple of new commissions were recently completed… I’m thankful for the art business as my inspiration has been in full gear. I am awake! It’s Autumn (my favorite time of the year) and life is GOOD! I hope this is the case for all of you, dear readers!

I wonder what is to come? I wonder what is next?? Maybe a little sleep first and then I’ll be ready for Winter.

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9/11

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The after-effects have been ongoing and literally affected millions of lives all around the world. As we remember those that lost their lives as well as gave their lives and to those who are still fighting and risking their lives…  thank you and bless you. I remember feeling disbelieve as did so many as I heard the horrific news that morning… we thought it was an accident. Then quickly realized it was so much more. Since that day, so many have lived with loss and pain, but also change and hope.

For weeks after the 9/11 attacks,  I was surprised to hear from total strangers via email. I received thank you notes from people who somehow found my artwork on the internet and let me know that at the end of each day, the only thing that made them feel better or brought them comfort from their grief was viewing my paintings. Some of them were counselors trying to help victims and their families cope with the 9/11 tragedy. They were trying to help others cope… but who was helping them cope? I remember crying out of sincere gratitude that something I created could reach people so deeply and bring them some kind of peace. The fact that they reached out to me to let me know how they were affected must have taken courage.

It’s been ten years and I hold this gratitude in my heart and mind every day. Knowing that I have been given a gift that can help others is a big responsibility and a wonderful opportunity. It reminds me that we all have an important role to play in this world and I challenge myself constantly. It’s important to me that I am contributing somehow… to somehow try to make my time on this earth as worthy as possible. I want to bring peace and joy to as many as I can… if I can continue to do this and keep putting love out into the world, I know I will have peace.

I think it’s important that we all ask ourselves how we are contributing? How are we participating? How are we making this a better place? How are we treating each other? What are we giving? What and how can we leave this earth and the people we are in touch with (and even strangers we may not ever meet) better by what we do and how we act? I think it’s important that we each take time to reflect and seriously ask ourselves as individuals how and what we can do NOW to be a positive participant of this world. I hope I can always create such beauty that will continue to make a difference.

“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth.”

~ Albert Einstein

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