That Was A Plot Twist

Crete Spirit by Jessica JewettYeah, it’s been a minute since I last posted a blog. A lot has been going on, though!

This piece of art on the left completely changed everything for me a few months ago (see more art at the bottom of this blog). A new client approached me and asked for a spirit guide reading, and then, after seeing that I’m an artist too, she asked if I could do a portrait of her guide. Now, I should say that I’ve done a couple of these in the distant past but I never had adequate help to keep up with it. A quality personal attendant matters a lot when you’re a quadriplegic artist. That’s an entirely different discussion, however. Needless to say, producing a continuous stream of new art has become infinitely easier in the last couple of years since I’ve gotten better quality help and longer attendant hours.

Back to this spirit guide order. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go initially because doing it in the past was really tough on me. But when I agreed to try it, I found out that it was just as rewarding for me as it was for my client. I didn’t tell my attendant exactly what the art commission was for right away even though she knows I communicate with the dead and she has a history of root workers in her own family. For some reason, it’s a lot easier to tell strangers in a blog what I’m doing than a person sitting at my desk with me.

Art by Jessica JewettThe process is more involved than ordinary art, as one might guess. I have to see the client through a photo (or in person, but that hasn’t happened yet) in order to make the connection with their guide. And guides don’t communicate verbally at all, whereas most spirits still going through the reincarnation cycle are at least willing to verbally communicate once in a while. The natural method of communication for all spirits, human or not, is mostly sensation through emotion or visual images. They can also cause smells, tastes, etc. Most mediums like me develop a visual language. For example, if a spirit is directing me to the Civil War, I’ll see my Gettysburg DVD cover, or if a spirit is trying to convey romantic love, it’ll be a flower bouquet, or the sensation of an old quilt for family love.

Spirit guides are a little more different than those still going through the reincarnation cycle in that they’re more advanced and their frequency is higher. Frequencies are like tuning in a radio. The bad entities (for me) are metaphorically on the low end of the dial, ordinary souls going through life like you and me are in the middle, and the advanced spirits who no longer reincarnate like guides and healers are on the high end. I used to have trouble establishing a useful link with spirit guides because high frequency spirits are hard to hear, so to speak.

This Crete woman was like learning how to do this work with training wheels. I was taught to use reference photos and how to feel out which ones are right for that spirit because doing art completely from scratch would be too stressful. Now that I’m working on my fifth commission, I see she was right. Reference photos give me a base that I can change as the spirit requires. So far, they’re all okay with my working method. This Crete woman came from a model I found online, except her clothes and hairstyle weren’t right. She wasn’t like what the guide was showing me. I began doing research on historical art from Crete and I found the correct way to do things. Still, most of the women had exposed breasts in this period. My client’s guide indicated that naked breasts hanging on a wall wasn’t going to work in this period, so I was told to cover them.

Art by Jessica JewettAs I began posting drawing progress on Instagram, I noticed my likes and viewership started climbing. So I told people what I was doing. It wasn’t just an art commission. It was spirit communication channeled through art. My viewership went way up again when I finally came clean about it. Before I even finished the Crete portrait and mailed it to my client, I had arranged four more art commissions privately. I was stunned. Over a year of toiling away at my art to try and make some money, and then suddenly working with spirits opened so many more doors for me.

The funny thing is people have been asking for art based on their past lives as well. It’s fairly simple to alter the working process I use to do spirit guide portraits. Instead of connecting to an outside entity, I’m connecting to the client’s subconscious memories just like I’ve been doing in written readings for years.

Here are some of the other spirit art commissions I’ve done since then. Click on them to see them in detail.

Right now I’m all out of room in my schedule to make Christmas as a deadline. To be honest, I probably have enough work to reach March at this point. Isn’t that insane? I went from a fair amount of print sales to being very overwhelmed by my workload.

This is such satisfying work for me even if my family and friends are starting to say the “ghost stuff” in the house is getting out of hand. A few weeks ago, while I was doing past life work connected to John Wilkes Booth, one of my kitchen drawers completely flew out of the slot and skidded across the floor. Now the drawer is broken and won’t fit in the slot right. People are hearing voices and footsteps in my house too. It’s par for the course in my life to attract the dead but it’s getting crowded enough that people without a breath of extrasensory ability are feeling them in and around my house. Nothing is dangerous, though. I just need to re-establish spiritual boundaries around my property.

This work is good. This work is right. I’m making the greater universe tangible for people and that matters a lot to me.

Art by Jessica JewettIf you’d like to get your own art commission, here’s the link: Custom Portrait of Your Spirit Guide or Past Life (8 1/2 x 11) on Etsy.

They are $85.00 US plus shipping and handling. Please be advised that I’m definitely booked through the end of January 2019 right now. Since I do the art on a first come, first serve basis, there is no better time to buy one than another. Just go ahead and get your spot in line.

I love this work so much! I can’t even describe how fulfilling it is to keep this link open to different people who have walked so many different places on this earth. It’s really opening my eyes as much as it is the people who ask me to do this for them.

Who knew this was where my work would lead? It certainly was a plot twist.

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Learning Landscapes

Jessica Jewett, artI have been a portrait artist for so long that I almost got to a point of never imagining myself doing anything else. That’s not necessarily a good thing, however. Artists, in my opinion, should definitely develop a style but not at the expense of challenging themselves. There comes a point when you’re doing the same thing again and again that your creativity goes flat, so it’s incredibly important to find ways to stretch your style into new subjects.

A few years ago, I did this colored pencil piece when I was visiting family in Wyoming. This was where we were camping on the North Platte River a bit upriver from the Alcova Reservoir. I sketched it out in person, took a photo, and then added the color when I got home. It’s fairly obvious to me that I was hesitant and uncertain about how to work with earthy colors as opposed to flesh tones. It’s not terrible but I wanted it to be better. This piece now belongs to my father.

Wyoming Mountains Landscape

I’ve attempted painting landscapes with water elements before. This one turned out very well, much better than I expected at the time. It wasn’t any place in particular but more like a reflection of my thoughts on death and crossing into the afterlife. All in all, not a bad effort but I took it as a fluke because I did this under the guidance of a more experienced painter.

Night scene with a boat dock and the moon.

A trend has been developing, it seems, of me doing better with pencil scenes. It’s not that much of a surprise considering I’ve always done stronger work in charcoal or graphite. But I don’t think landscapes are meant for black and white unless you’re trying to create a darker mood with cemeteries or dilapidated houses. Nature is filled with beautiful colors that express every kind of mood or emotion in the universe and that is the real challenge for an artist to master.

But then I decided to at least work in black and white for a while to master (or at least get better) the technical parts of creating nature-based art. It’s totally different than portraits of people. I cannot approach those things the same way, otherwise I’ll fail at what I’m trying to accomplish. It could be said that people and nature have completely different souls that can’t be interchangeable on paper or canvas.

Recently I attempted doing a drawing of the coast of Scotland in color after such a long time of trying to understand things in black and white. My Scotland drawing was done in Copic markers, which has the benefit of mixing and blending the way I want to do with oil paint but I’m not quite ready to be that advanced yet. Oils are my ultimate goal but it’s been so long since I used them that I think I’m back down to the beginner stage again. That’s fine, though. I can play with color using Copic markers until I’m used to deciphering nature’s palettes and then I can go back to paint.

I’m definitely more energized and ready to try doing more landscapes and seascapes again. Seeing my marked improvement from the Wyoming piece to the Scotland piece tells me that practice really does make perfect, as much as I hate those little sayings. I wanted you all to see the improvement too because some of you might be struggling to master something in your artistic goals. Keep your old stuff because you will see your development over time. And seeing your skills grow will do a lot for your self-confidence as an artist. I certainly haven’t mastered landscapes or seascapes but I can see the evidence that I’m getting better. That’s enough for me.

Take a look at Scotland.

Scotland, Jessica Jewett

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Video: All of my art done in 2017.

I wanted to put together a compilation video of all my various art projects in the last year. Hopefully if I do this right, you should be able to watch the video below. I’ll also provide a direct link to the YouTube page in case it doesn’t work here for you.

Looking back on it now, 2016-2017 has been my biggest period of growth since I was a student, as far as my technique development and my creative experimentation is concerned. This past year I tried playing with subjects and ideas that I never would have considered a few years ago because I used to be so stuck in the little box of what should be viewed as “fine art”. That can be a bit of a downside to being exposed to any sort of classical training. You do need those technical skills but you’re also at risk of falling into the us vs them trap of what’s real art and what’s not. I’m happy to say that I think I’ve grown beyond that trap and I’m much more willing to experiment these days.

Now, let’s see if I can post the video here.

Here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/Vo4z4gJbdq8

As always, if you enjoy my videos, please feel free to subscribe to my channel. I’m hoping to hit 1,000 subscribers this year. Your support means a lot to me!

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Goals for 2018

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I do, however, believe in mapping out goals for the year and checking back every so often to see which ones get accomplished. A lot of these are related to art but some are about my writer life as well. Some combine the two halves of who I am. Still others are about personal growth, which we should all strive for on a daily basis.

In no particular order, here are my goals for 2018.

1. Finish novel Exile to the Water’s Edge.
2. Finish the Witch Cottage art series.
3. Teach online class about American witchcraft.
4. Be a better friend.
5. Begin paintings for art book about decaying plantations.
6. Learn embroidery and crochet.
7. Get better at cooking.
8. Visit more Civil War sites.
9. Work more on my family Grimoire.
10. Be brave and try public transportation.
11. Try acrylic painting again.
12. Continue work on book about my ghost encounters.
13. Remember to stop and breathe.
14. Take better care of my health.
15. Forgive myself more often.
16. Improve figure drawing skills.
17. Spend more time drawing from life.
18. Be braver about artistic subjects that matter to me.

I’ve already begun working on my goals about improving my skills and being braver about my subjects. This is my newest piece of art in my sketchbook completed just a few days ago. She is a reflection of myself in the 18th century using a photo of a living historian for reference but changed at my own discretion. This is brave for me because of the way I drew it and what materials I used. I think it turned out well.

Celine II, Jessica Jewett
Celine II. Graphite pencil, and black and white charcoal pencils on mixed media paper. 2017.

What are your goals for 2018? Tell me about them in the comments.

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Inktober 2017: Week 1

Well everybody, we’ve survived the first week of Inktober – those of us who are participating, anyway. If you’re scratching your head at just what I’m talking about, Inktober is an activity that artists do to get to know each other and see new artists in the online world. Every day during the month of October, artists complete an ink drawing and post it online for everybody to see. There is an official prompt word list if people need inspiration but so far I haven’t needed it.

005 Micron Pen, Jessica Jewett This is my second year participating in Inktober, although I didn’t finish last year. I made it halfway through the month, and then I caught a really heinous cold … or maybe it was a sinus infection. I can’t remember. Needless to say, I didn’t finish so I was very determined to finish this year. Not only finish but create a body of work that challenged and stretched my artistic abilities.

Stretching my skills first involved gathering the right materials. My favorite drawing pens are the Micron variety. Copic makes a very similar line of pens but I haven’t ever found them at prices that don’t make me curl up into the fetal position. Micron pens come in several sizes and colors. The most common sizes I reach for are the .45 mm (05) and the .30 (02), both in black. I’ve got a set of colored ones but I haven’t used them yet. I’m enjoying the limited color palette I’m using in my Inktober sketchbook this year, which is mainly black with some light flesh shades and purples. The colors I’m using are the Copic Ciao markers. Those are alcohol-based and some of the ink is bleeding through onto the next page of my sketchbook. If this was a professional job meant to be sold, I’d care more, but as it is, this is only for me to play around and try out different illustration styles to see what I can do.

On the fifth day, I did get a stomach bug. Go figure. I always have some illness or another (compromised immune system) but I pressed ahead anyway. I’m still on schedule! That fact alone makes me very proud of myself. The sixth and seventh drawings are not exactly up to par with my intended plans because I wasn’t feeling well but they’re still worth keeping in my opinion.

Here are days one through seven of my Inktober 2017.

Meet the Artist, Inktober
Days one and two are two-panels introducing the artist. It features a section of what’s in my bag, my religious symbols, likes, dislikes, and a self-portrait.
Witch, Inktober
Day three was my interpretation of a movie still from Snow White.
Pagan Altar, Inktober
Day four was me experimenting with shapes, and light and shadow with ink, which is not something I’ve mastered yet. It turned into a pagan altar featuring a god and goddess statue, a bowl with burning herbs, a crystal ball, a scrying mirror, a bell, wine, and flowers.
Witch Hazel, Inktober
Day five came as a special request by a friend. This is my interpretation of Witch Hazel, another old Disney character.
Witch Potion, Inktober
Day six got harder because I was sick. I drew a fictional advertisement for a potion to make magic powers stronger and more stable. I drew inspiration from old Victorian tonics sold in newspapers and magazines.
Chains, Inktober
Day seven was a look at what I feel like some days with my disability. I live in a body that doesn’t function like it should and I go through periods of feeling like I’m in prison.

So far I do feel like Inktober has been a valuable experience, especially because it’s forcing me to learn a medium I don’t normally employ. We’ll see how I feel when I come back to post days eight through fourteen though!

Are you doing Inktober? Show me your work!

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Finding my darker niche. Let’s talk about authenticity.

It’s been a little while since I last blogged (except for my Arteza brush pen review earlier this week!) but it’s all for a good reason. In the last couple of months, I’ve been working very hard building my artistic style. Almost by accident, I discovered that I’m great at expressing ideas and aesthetics related to my spiritual path as a pagan woman.

Jessica Jewett, artI’ve been tapping into my spirituality to create more interesting art and touching the deeper, more authentic part of myself has resulted in more self-fulfillment. It happened because I was starting to feel my creativity dry up and that’s a dangerous thing for any artist. Part of me was starting to fall into the trap of creating what I thought people wanted instead of engaging the people who find passion in the same things I do. I thought I was simply taking time to make art that I care about without any plan for engaging people. As it turns out, I’ve engaged many more people because I’m showing more of who I am. Authenticity is what makes an artist great. I’ve found that an artist can have all the technical skills in the world, which I certainly don’t, but it won’t mean anything unless the creative process comes from a real, true place inside.

In August, I was reading about the Otherworld in ancient Irish tradition, which is (without going too deep) the old Irish interpretation of the afterlife. Ancestor worship is a big part of my spiritual tradition. I’m one of those people who enjoys visiting cemeteries – the older the better! – and I think some of the most beautiful places are where we honor our dead. That led to creating this piece. It sold within fifteen minutes of posting that it was finished and (maybe) there will come prints out of it. All because I decided to try making art that was interesting to me!

The Cemetery At Night, Jessica Jewett
The Cemetery At Night is 11×14 on mixed media paper, drawn in black charcoal, white charcoal, and graphite pencil.

Is it perfect? No. I think what people responded to the most was the way I showed my passion for what I was doing, and that’s something to think about for any artist.

So I tried it again. My next project for most of September was something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Since we’re getting close to the Halloween season (Samhain for me), I’ve been watching a lot of witchy movies like Hocus PocusPractical Magic, and The Craft. I find the fictional witch aesthetic really fun and I’ve been feeling the urge to add my own contributions to that image.

I came up with a witchy hearth based on 18th century colonial homes. Like, how would a witch decorate her cottage in the colonial frontier? I thought most of his or her belongings would be functional to their craft but even functional things have their beauty. Improving my skills in drawing different textures has been more fun because I enjoyed the subject. I learned a lot about the texture of wood, stone, fabric, and the need to maintain good one-point perspective.

The Witch's Cottage, Jessica Jewett
The Witch’s Cottage is 11×14 and it was done on mixed media paper, drawn with charcoal pencil and graphite pencil.

Once again, this piece sold within minutes of completion. I was shocked! A lot of my audience has been finding things in this piece that I never intentionally placed but I don’t dare mess with those things now. People tell me most often that they see a face in the hearth fire, while others say they see the silhouette of a witch in the shadows in the back of the second shelf.

Beginning this journey into doing art that I thought was only interesting to me has been an eye-opening experience. It’s fun for me to do pieces with a lot of detail and show imagery related to my spirituality while combining it with occasional fun and fantasy, and especially history. This is who I am and I was afraid of showing it for so long.

That’s the moral of this story. You may find yourself falling into the same people-pleaser trap if you’re not careful. Things you create might be what’s popular or trendy at the moment and you may produce technically beautiful things but there will always be something missing. It’s almost a sixth sense thing with the people looking at your art. If they don’t “smell” your soul on it, they’re not going to be as responsive to what you’re offering as an artist, writer, musician, or whatever it is that you do.

But the second you allow your personal authenticity to come though, people will start engaging with you even more. My darker themes or pagan themes certainly won’t appeal to a wide audience but the people out there who are like me will and do respond at a much higher rate.

No matter how odd you think you are, there are always people like you. Be yourself.

Donation

Please consider making a donation to help me keep up with the cost of art supplies, living expenses, equipment related to my disability, and so forth. The minimum is set at $10.00. Thank you for your generosity.

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