I spent a long weekend camping with my family at one of our favorite spots, Pilot Mountain State Park. We love spending time in this special place, and we hike there year-round.
We went to the summit one evening just before sunset and I couldn’t resist shooting a short video to share this landscape with you. The first views above are from that evening, looking toward Winston-Salem and then the Blue Ridge.
The second view is from one of our hikes in the morning, of Hanging Rock and Sauratown Mountain toward east of Winston-Salem. One of the unique aspects of this spot is that as you do different hikes in the park, you’ll have the chance to see 360 degrees of landscape from Pilot Mountain. Since the mountain’s rocky formation juts out of the surrounding hills, it’s not surprising that it was used as a navigational landmark and was called Jomeokee or “great guide” by the area’s first inhabitants.
My family and I often have interesting conversations as we walk. One of the ideas that came up was the meaning of the words grit and resilience. My husband took the position that they are one and the same. I argued they aren’t, but that there is overlap and that the two qualities can go hand in hand. In the last year since the pandemic hit, I’ve been thinking of resilience a lot. I didn’t realize it until relatively recently, and it feels like an important quality to cultivate now. Anyway, my brother, being the rational person he is, recommended we simply look up the definitions. So here they are from my good old American Heritage College Dictionary:
*grit: indomitable spirit; pluck
resilience: the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy
I often feel gratitude to have such beautiful places just a short drive away from home. Spending time at Pilot Mountain walking and looking and listening fills me with contentment and with inspiration for my work. Now it’s back to the studio!
Find some paintings inspired by my time at Pilot Mountain here and bring some peaceful energy of the outdoors into your space.
*I like the way Angela Duckworth talks about grit in her aptly named book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. You can watch her TED talk here.
This morning I went exploring in the neighborhood with my son. We walked through a stream and through bramble and over fallen trees and on a hillside of kudzu… we found animal tracks and bones and all sorts of adventurous stuff. We also found beautiful flowering weeds!
I always get excited in that transition from winter to spring, when the dandelion, violets, clover, and nettle and all sorts of tiny tender leaves and flowers start to appear. I picked one of my favorite (it was in a spot filled with many others), some purple dead nettle, so I could make a drawing.
I thought you might like to see the process and maybe even join along. So here we go back in the studio…
In case you do want to join me, I’m using pencil, Pigma micron ink pen, watercolor and a 140lb watercolor paper.
People often ask me about my painting titles, “how do I come up with them?”or “what do they mean?” Well I have a sort of system for titling works that don’t have an obvious name (unlike my installation Paper Mountain that was named just what it was). I keep a little notebook for title ideas. When I need to title a painting, I look through the notebook for inspiration. If none of the ideas feel right for the work, my ritual is to pull out a stack of Mary Oliver poetry books and to read until I notice words or snippets that resonate with me. I write them down and then riff off those or combine them to make my new titles. In the end I pick titles that I hope will invite curiosity, thinking and dreaming.
Below you’ll see “Among the weeds and other blossoming things,” one painting that I named using some Mary Oliver poetry and my little book of ideas. This painting is 40×30 inches, oil and acrylic on canvas, and available from my shop where you’ll find other paintings with names that are hopefully as evocative.
Last week I completed a mural along the Long Branch trail in Winston-Salem, NC. It was a real pleasure to paint outdoors with passing runners, walkers and cyclists giving me words of encouragement and approval.
The mural is 50-feet long and varies in height from 6’2″ to 7’6″. The project was commissioned by Innovation Quarter.
Know someone looking for a mural artist to paint something BIG? Send them here.
I installed some paintings at Piedmont Triad International, my local airport last week. Here are some photos from the installation. Thanks to the team at the airport, it turned out great!
The large paintings are inspired by my time on Pilot Mountain and were featured in my exhibit at SECCA in 2019. The two smaller ones are from my Forces of Nature series. While they are up at the airport, they are still available for purchase from the Outside Collection in my web shop.
Hi everyone! Join me as I add watercolor to a botanical drawing. Here I’ll show you how to layer transparent watercolor in a loose relaxed way to add color to your drawings. This is the follow up to my Step-by-step botanical drawing video.
Share this freely!
If you are looking to dive deeper into watercolor, check out my new watercolor class HERE. It’s for all levels and features video lessons you can do at your own pace. See you in class!
Mindful Monday with Jessica Singerman Monday, May 11, 2020 | 10 am
Join us and gallery artist Jessica Singerman for a special “Mindful Monday” on Instagram. In addition to guiding us through a hands-on art exercise, she’ll discuss her current “new normal” during the pandemic as an artist, a teacher and a mother, and tips for staying grounded during these uncertain times. A great mid-morning art break for anyone working, teaching or learning at home!
Monday, May 11, 2020 at 10 am Instagram: @elder_gallery_clt | @jessicasingermanfineart Based in Winston-Salem, NC and inspired by a deep passion for the outdoors, cycling and traveling, Jessica’s work was first featured at the gallery in the 2018 March Invitational. In the 2019 exhibition Beyond the Mountain, Jessica’s paintings surrounded her impressive Paper Mountain installation composed of 1,000 hand-folded origami cranes.
I’m super excited to announce the launch of my first online workshop Little Watercolor Square! This is my most popular class available for the first time in digital form for you to enjoy wherever and whenever you are.
If you are starting from scratch, if you have some experience and want to learn more, or you’re trying to rekindle your art practice, this is for you. In the workshop, you’ll learn how to use watercolors, how to mix beautiful colors, and how to make a vibrant watercolor painting using geometric abstraction. This is a very practical workshop that will give you tools you can take to continue making artworks wherever you are. You’ll learn how to paint mindfully, for relaxation and enjoyment.
The workshop is inspired by a daily project I made a few years ago when I made a small watercolor painting each day for a year. The paintings were inspired by the poetry of nature: color and light in the landscape, seasons, and the passing of time. It was a kind of meditation for me and it led to making my book of watercolors.
The class is available to purchase for two weeks, but you’ll have lifetime access to the class materials so you can review whenever you want. You’ll also be invited to join the private Facebook group where you can meet your classmates, share your work, ask questions and get feedback.