July 31st, 2017

Crossroads and a Finish Line

by cgindy

The City Gallery is pleased to present Crossroads, new work by Jessica Green, opening Friday, August 4. We caught up with her to ask a few questions about her life as a painter and about her upcoming show.

1) Would you tell us a little bit about your background and personal history as an artist?
My career started off as being an elementary art teacher. It truly was my ‘dream job’! I taught full time for about eight years in Tennessee and Indiana. I hit a crossroads* in my life in 2013 when the school I was working at made some budget cuts to the arts program and I was laid off.  After that, I started staying home with my then two young kids.The years leading up to that point, I had a growing feeling in my gut that I had it in me to be a painter.  My husband and I really enjoy seeing great artwork, and one time when when we were in a gallery on vacation, I thought to myself: I think I could do this! So, I made a commitment to myself to try it out and went for it!
2) Talk about the work in this show?
This show is exclusively Indianapolis scenes. I’m from Indiana originally and after spending our first two years of marriage in Tennessee, we moved to Indianapolis and quickly started putting roots down. Indianapolis is such a great area, it fits us perfectly and we have that hometown pride in our veins for sure. This show highlights some of the classic icons unique to our city. I anticipate that these recognizable scenes will resonate with viewers who are also proud to call Indy their home.

3) Who/what are your inspirations?
Probably the biggest inspiration to me is Carol Marine.  I like Carol’s loose, fresh and impressionistic style.  Most of all she has an infectious enthusiasm for painting as often as possible, ideally starting and finishing a painting in a day.  She is part of a community of artists that call themselves “daily painters”, of which I consider myself a part of, and it brought a lot of encouragement to me to paint as often as possible to grow as a painter.. Other inspirations include: Michael Chamberlain, Sarah Sedwick, and fellow Indiana artists Troy Kilgore and Wyatt LeGrand.
4) What is your show called and what is the significance of the title? 
*The title of the show is ‘Crossroads’, after Indiana’s catchphrase of being the ‘The Crossroads of America’. To me, crossroads are turning points, opportunities for a change in direction. I had a similar crossroads of sorts in 2013. I was no longer teaching art full-time and was home with my two kids. It was a busy time of life, but I also saw room to finally put some muscle behind my desire to be a painter. This show is very significant for me. Not only does it pulse with a sense of ‘home’, but it also concludes a chapter in my life, the completion of my 500 painting project. It marks that accomplishment, but is also a crossroads point for new beginnings and opportunities that lay ahead for me as an artist.
5) Tell us more about your mission to paint 500 paintings.
I started in 2013 and I’m using the opening of this show as my finish line celebration! I will be finishing my 500th painting this Tuesday!!! The 500 painting project was inspired by advice I had read on Carol Marine’s blog. She said something to the affect, ‘Expect to paint 500 paintings before you reach a level where you are consistently proud of your work’. Up until that point, I had painted a little bit ‘here and there’, but with mixed results. I couldn’t figure out what factors where playing toward my painting’s success or failure…was I a ‘good artist’ or not? I was ready to dive in and discover if through commitment and discipline if I could reach a level of mastery and enjoyment in painting. The goal has taken four years and it has proved to be a wonderful journey for me both personally and professionally. I realize here at the finish line that I will always need to continue developing and growing as an artist, that goal is life-long! But I also believe I have reached a new level of confidence in my work and have found a wonderful joy in painting!