Join The Artist’s Magazine in welcoming our February artist of the month, Barbara Jaenicke! Jaenicke was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine’s 30th Annual Art Competition. Her painting, Daybreak Shadows (pastel, 8×10) is below. Keep scrolling to see what Jaenicke has to say about art and life.
In my early teen years, I loved to draw and took every art class at school that I could. During high school I took painting classes outside of school from a wonderful artist in Bordentown, New Jersey, which laid the foundation for my fine art education. In college I majored in art, but geared toward the commercial side, leading to a career as an advertising art director. A little more than a decade later, I transitioned to the corporate side and worked in marketing communications for several years before finding my way back to fine art in 2002. Art began as a part-time career when my son was a baby, but it’s now my full-time occupation. I work in pastel and oil, painting mostly landscapes and the occasional still life.
Snow scenes are a favorite subject matter of mine to begin with, mainly because of the color palette they provide. Morning or evening sunlight hitting snow is always inspirational to me! I live in the southeast where we don’t see very much snow, but each year around the holidays we visit my husband’s family in a very beautiful area of Minnesota where I basically go nuts stockpiling my source photos of snow scenes and even do some frigid plein air painting. Sunrise conditions were perfect the morning I captured this shot of the sun streaming through the trees, creating the wonderful shadow patterns for Daybreak Shadows.
I work from life, photos, and studies. I believe that a fairly regular schedule of plein air painting has helped boost my painting skills. I still work from photos in the studio quite a bit too allowing me plenty of time to work out the composition and other details. My favorite method is to complete a small study on location, and then paint a larger studio piece from the study. Since I occasionally also paint still lifes, I sometimes work from a still life set up in the studio. Working in both pastel and oil, I may also work up a small study in one medium and then paint a larger version in the other medium.
For small sizes that I use for plein air studies or class demos, I spend usually just over an hour, plus some extra “touch up” time later. My touch up time, though, varies. Sometimes it’s not much at all, or sometimes I completely rework it. For larger pieces, it really varies, since I tend to work on those over a longer period of time, setting them aside to ponder or to work on smaller pieces. Some paintings come together quickly, while others take several attempts. Daybreak Shadows came together quickly during a class demo, without many touch ups later.
The method I used for this painting is typical of how I work in pastel and seemed to work just as I wanted it to for this piece. I used an underpainting that contrasted with or enhanced the final colors used in each area of the painting. I used a warm underpainting under the cool hues of the snow and kept some of the underpainting peeking through, which gives it a glistening, reflective quality.
I do have various business-related goals, but my most important goal is to continually push my skills to improve my work, whether for gallery representation, competitive shows, or just for my own satisfaction…all of which will ultimately affect the business end of things.
Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s a passion or an obsession, but I experience a feeling of intense satisfaction when I complete a painting that I deem worthy.
Acceptance into The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition is a tremendous opportunity for exposure. For many years I’ve considered the cost of entering widely known competitive shows as a necessary business expense.
I entered this piece in a silent “Who Done It” auction for the International Association of Pastel Societies at the organization’s 2013 convention in Albuquerque, NM. This was among approximately 35 paintings displayed with a list of the artists’ names, but without identifying who did which painting. Daybreak Shadows received the highest number of bids and sold for the highest price.