How Art Changed My Life, Jeannie Blaustein
by Kristen Andersen | June 9 | @theartstudiony
For Bari, by Jeannie Blaustein
The radiant florals & shades of pink juxtaposed the circular & linear patterns of the azure pottery are what makes Jeannie Blaustein’s For Bari truly stand out. The story behind the artwork is what captivates us.
Bari Moss (left) holding For Bari, gifted to her by fellow artist and The Art Studio NY student, Jeannie Blaustein (right)
As Jeannie’s good friend Bari Moss’s birthday began to approach, Jeannie thought it would be the perfect opportunity to put her new found painting skills to use and paint something for her friend. Bari is a talented artist herself and Jeannie has enjoyed many of her mugs, bowls, and vases over the years. “Every morning, my coffee tastes better because it’s in one of her beautiful mugs, and I feel so grateful for the craft and beauty she’s brought into my life. I absolutely love the colors and patterns she creates,” says Jeannie.
She continues, “I thought what better way than to use her own work as my inspiration! So, I bought flowers and set up a still life. I waited until the moment of the day when the sun casts strong shadows into my living room, and snapped some photos! I made a large print of the photo and worked on it for weeks. Each detail reminded me of Bari’s gorgeous work, and gave me pleasure to try and capture her art in another medium.”
For Bari has taken Jeannie about 2 months of the 18 total months she’s been practicing oil painting to complete. Jeannie started painting 4 months prior to the pandemic- only painting once a week in her studio art class.
Now she practices art on a daily basis– whether it’s at home or on the go, Jeannie makes sure to squeeze in a paint session each day.
“I really don’t know why I paint,” Jeannie says, “About two years before I signed up for my first class, I started hearing a small, still voice within me that said, ‘You need to paint.’ I don’t know where that comes from and, honestly, I tried to ignore it. Until I promised a wise friend of mine that I would start painting so I signed up for a beginners class and took it over and over again! As soon as I started, I fell in love… Color, the process of mixing colors, and finding something that feels just right brings me a lot of joy.”
Attending an online art class really helped Jeannie during the pandemic. It’s been a wonderful way for her to stay connected to her artistic practice and fellow students of art. Jeannie’s advanced oil painting online class consists of mostly the same group of students which contributes to a strong sense of community within the virtual art class. This camaraderie has helped Jeannie feel encouraged and supported to continue practicing, trying, and learning. “My instructor, Rebecca Schwieger, is full of ideas, examples, and radical encouragement at every turn. She has played such an important part in this last year for me, and I’m so grateful for her open, accepting, and enthusiastic approach to painting,” shares Jeannie.
“My life has changed completely. All I want to do is paint.
‘I’m taking both painting and drawing, and I notice that I’m seeing the world through new eyes. I take pictures with my phone all the time now, always alert to something that I might want to paint or draw. I feel more alive and connected to the world around me, both the beauty and the ugliness, because it all needs to be told and shared and acknowledged. And I get excited about looking at things in this new way. I helped launch an organization 4 years ago called Reimagine End of Life, which helps people confront the realities of death and dying while also supporting them in living fully during the precious time we have. In painting, I feel I’ve discovered for myself something that makes my life richer and more beautiful, and I feel so fortunate to have found painting, even at 58 years old!”
Jeannie spent the first 8 months of the pandemic in Cape Cod, where she fell in love with the colors of the gorgeous landscapes
When asked what advice she would give her pre-pandemic self, Jeannie says, “Paint every day. Life is short and unpredictable. Figure out what matters and what you love, and honor that in yourself.”
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