(Photo of Jean Lovejoy, courtesy Stephanie Hargrave)
Tomorrow night, all around West Seattle, it’s the February Art Walk, 6-9 pm, with a stop or two off the official map. One that’s come to our attention is Jean Lovejoy‘s retrospective, presented by Stephanie Hargrave in South Admiral (3234 California SW). Stephanie notes that Jean is 91 years old and still going strong. She hopes you’ll come by to meet her and enjoy her art. Here’s what Stephanie has to say about Jean:
I met Jean Lovejoy a year ago at an art sale/fundraising event I was having at my studio. She came with one of her daughters, Madeline, who mentioned she was an artist. I was immediately intrigued. She embodied something. As it turned out, that ‘something’ was a lifetime of art making – the type of dedicated, focused art making that can keep a person curious, creating and constantly learning for years. I just adored her. To me, she was a presence not unlike what Georgia O’Keefe must have been – petite, solid, bright and imaginative.
Madeline mentioned that Jean was looking for a gallery to show her work, and that she wanted to do a retrospective show. I told her she was welcome to have a show at my studio if she liked, and to my delight, she accepted.
We spoke the other day over tea, and I asked some questions about her life and art. At the age of 30, she told her husband she’d really like to take some art classes, and began with printmaking. She absolutely loved it and was good at it. Her teachers noticed her, often commenting on how talented she was. She continued taking classes and workshops – drawing and design classes at the UW, three years at The Factory of Visual Arts, three years of collagraph classes with Barbara Bruch, three years of painting under Jacob Elshin, six years of painting under Allen Wolf, more drawing and printmaking workshops and classes at Pratt Fine Arts Center as well as the Seattle Parks Department. She has also taught art to seniors over the years.
All in all, she has learned a variety of printmaking techniques including block prints and lithographs. She has done oil painting, collage, acrylics, clay and even a bronze sculpture. She has done realistic work and abstracts, both large and small. She enjoyed working in oils, but says “I prefer acrylics – they’re fast.” She has been making art for over 60 years, and wants to try encaustics next – an amazing feat for someone who, early on, had always wanted to do art but didn’t think she could.
When I visited her home and studio this past summer, her artwork was in every room, and the mark of her was on everything, including the lamp shades. Everything around her had color and design – every rug, painting, dish and curtain. We went down the stairs to see her work space, and she had several pieces in different stages of completion. Small prints hung on the wall drying, to later be incorporated into larger abstracts. A long work table afforded her the room she needed to spread out. Her easel held a canvas, and the room was light and beautiful.
It was clear – art for her was a lifestyle – intrinsic to her very nature.
I asked her if she ever has that feeling like the art is moving through her, so that when you look at it later it’s as if someone else had made it. She said yes! Time would pass and she’d say “did I do that?” Her approach in general is to begin without any pre-conceived idea of what the work will look like – no sketches to start. She let’s the work unfold naturally, each brush strokes or mark informing the next brush stroke or mark, until at some point she knows it is done.
One lithograph is of five females, which in some way represents her daughters, whether intentional or not. These daughters, as I suspected, all are artistic as well. Margaret weaves baskets, Madeline makes pottery, and Amy is an accomplished singer/songwriter. Sydney is the green thumb who can grow anything, and Rachel makes a living as a full time ceramic artist. Jean’s talents certainly had a positive impact.
Her husband Norm, an anti-war advocate and builder, had a positive influence as well. All his girls are against war and violence of any kind. Jean and Norm were married for many years, and he made all her frames.
Jean Lovejoy continues to learn and grow as a working artist, and is a mentor to her friend John, who draws his inspiration from her and provides studio space for her now that she has sold her house.
Please join us in celebrating this amazing woman. All works will be for sale, and everyone is welcome. If you are unable to visit during her opening, the work will be available to see and purchase by appointment until the end of February 2011 (call 206-227-5332).
We’ll have more Art Walk previews tomorrow morning; here’s the official walking map (2nd page of the PDF).
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