Jacki Kellum Discusses Her PROCESS of Painting – Steps Along the Way

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Pencil Sketch – Study  of the Zebra Horse on the Ocean City Boardwalk Carousel – Ocean City, NJ

You might say that the final “good” painting only required a couple of hours of work; but you might also be more aware and say that it took several months.m preparing to paint the Carousel that I See and feel in my mind.  My first step is do do numerous pencil sketches, recording values.

1.  Pencil Sketches – Studies to Record Values

The true enigma is that most people love the initial pencil sketches and think that they were the more difficult to paint. In reality, the pencils sketches are EASY, compared to my successful watercolors.

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2. Digital Art – Zebra Carousel Horse – Photoshop

If I pull off the painting, it will look a bit like the digitalized piece that I did on Photoshop.[2nd photo-bottom left–with stars]  When you compare the digital piece to the origininal photo, it becomes obvious that I want to say MORE than what the camera sees and records.

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3.  Actual Photo of the Actual Ocean City Carousel

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Gerbera Daisy – Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico

4. One of my Floral Studies – Every time that I paint, I paint flowers. They are actually practice for me. The ability to see and apply color freshly and spontaneously is key to my work. My flowers are a bit like a pianist’s scales. Well, actually, they are probably more. I actually love flowers; and I love to paint them. That is why my studio is always full of flowers.

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Janis Joplin – Watercolor on Arches

5.  When I prepare to paint anything complex [i.e. my Janis Joplin], I do extensive value studies in pencil, When you look at my best watercolors, it appears that I did absolutely no preparation and that I just slapped the color on, at will. That is actually an illustion. I work very hard to get the values correct–before I paint. Then, I throw away about 50 near-misses.
You might say that the final “good” painting only required a couple of hours of work; but you might also be more aware and say that it took several months.

Art Can Help Us When Life Disappoints–When We Do NOT Get What We Paid For–When We Do NOT Reap What We Sowed

Life Is A Merry Go Round; and That Is Where Art Pitches In!

A year or two ago–long before I began teaching art to people who have Parkinson’s Disease–I wrote an essay about how my art has helped me deal with the DOWN phases of the Ups and Downs of life

Because life is cyclical–because it ebbs and flows–because it bobs up and down–it can be a huge shock–a catastrophic disapointment for the linear people–the people who felt that they could work hard when younger, feeling that they had controlled the outcome or the results that they would reap, once they had gotten older.

[News Flash–People do not always reap what they sow!]

“In linear thinking, adult life is viewed as an orderly development following universal principles and rules.  Life is lived for future goals and results and is driven by perfectionism and social constraints.”  Hudson, The Art of Self Renewal

The Linear path is established when people do a, b, and c when younger, expecting a predictable–even certain–outcome in adulthood.  The plan is: work hard, make the right friends, get the correct education, establish the necessary connections––and the result will surely be that of comfort [even wealth] and security when older.

While that does sound like a good plan, it does not account for the onslaught of life’s Equalizers–setbacks like cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s–even mere Divorce.  The Linear People who are never derailed by life’s disappointment probably do fine; but the rest of us need to find a new way to embrace life–even when it foils us.

The Cyclical viewpoint sees life as more of  a Carousel, a ride which has Ups and Downs–Highs and Lows–Successes and Failures–ever-changing–requiring an ever-renewing.

The people who experience life cyclically embrace the reality that there is no preparation for some of the blows that might eventually bowl them over.  They develop ways to help them renew–to refresh from the pits along the path.

For me, art is my antidote.  The DOING of art–the process of making art–is what helps me to bob back to the surface–even after the waves of living have managed to pull me down.

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.” – James Oppenheim