I moved around a lot as a kid. My mom is French and my dad is American, so we lived both in the US and France for a few years at a time. I didn’t feel like I fit in in either country. We also spent a lot of time doing outdoor stuff. We hiked, camped, ran, rode bikes, and played a lot of imaginary games outside. I remember building tree houses, making magic potions with mud and flowers, and pretending to be on secret missions and outdoor expeditions. I may have also made a fire in the middle of our backyard so I could make s’mores and cook beans in a can. (Don’t tell my parents.) Anyway, when I was in the outdoors, I was at home. No matter what country I was in, when I was doing stuff outside, I felt at home.
Growing up, I also spent a lot of time drawing and making things. Looking back, I realize that the experience of making things was and still is the same for me: I am focussed, nothing else matters except for what I am making at that moment, and in the best case scenario, I am in a state of flow. This feeling of being in the moment and fully engaged with my environment and what I am doing is similar to my experience when I am enjoying the outdoors. Whether in a forest or on a mountain top, what resonates with me are the feelings of being connected to the world and at the same time, of being small in a vast universe.
It’s through making things and being in the outdoors that I am able to connect to the world and to find my place in it. In the outdoors, we are reminded of how small we are in the world. We experience the vastness of the universe and at the same time, the interconnectedness of it all.
Being a human is complicated. Spending time in the outdoors and making things helps me make sense of life – of my place in the world. When I make things, I express what I feel but that I don’t have the words to explain.
About the work
I have discovered that, no matter where I am, outdoor activity and making artwork make me feel most like myself: whole and engaged with my environment. I want to share this experience with others through my work.
My paintings are abstract with references to the landscape. I am inspired by the poetry of nature: color and light in the landscape, seasons, and the passing of time. All of our senses are awakened when we spend time outside. The rhythm of steps while hiking, the whir and clicks on a bike ride, the changing shapes of light and shadow between trees, the sound of birdsong—the memory of all these impacts on my senses feeds into my process of abstraction. I love to explore my experiences in nature through the formal elements of color, shape, line and composition.
I am also deeply influenced by our changing landscape, such as a favorite field being dug up and built into a housing development. Through the process of making artwork and sharing it with others, I can turn a negative experience such as the one just referred to into something beautiful. And I ultimately hope that through my artwork I can inspire people to return to the outdoors and build meaningful connections with others there.
Born in Bangor, Maine in 1980, Jessica Singerman lived alternatively in France and the United States during her early life. Singerman earned her BA magna cum laude with Highest Honors in 2002 from the College of William & Mary, Virginia, and her Masters of Fine Arts in 2004 from the University of Delaware while on a fellowship. Her watercolors are the subject of a book published in 2017, Little Watercolor Squares, and her award-winning paintings and drawings are exhibited and collected internationally.
In previous lives, Singerman taught yoga and worked as a guide leading epic bicycle tours all over Europe, Central America, and Australia. She rides bikes and runs, and lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with her husband and their son.
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