I first came across Jess' work on the world wide instagram. Her flowers captivated me through the screen and they triggered a memory in me. They reminded me why I fell in love with flowers. As a florist, it can become very easy to get desensitized and immune to beauty. I sometimes feel like I'm taking the view for granted and not fully taking it in at every chance. Don't get me wrong, I know flowers are beautiful and there are moments when they still take my breath away but those moments seem to be fewer and farther between. I'm sure the people who live in the town by the grand canyon feel the same way sometimes.
I don't feel that way when I look at Jess' paintings. I see flowers differently and I fall in love with their beauty all over again. I see how she uses color and shapes, how she follows the curves of stems and creates fullness with petals, and I'm reminded (again) that flowers are truly one of our greatest gifts.
Captured by Ruth Eileen Photography
Tell us about yourself.
I’m an artist painting in oils. I work out of my home studio, where I live with my husband and our toddler son just outside Boston, in Natick. I actually got my degree in Fine Arts (a decade ago! eep!) but I hadn’t really considered making art into my full-time career until after the birth of my son in 2014. So in one way, I have a lot of experience and training in this, and in another, it all feels very new to me again. Previous to this I was styling photoshoots for the wedding & lifestyle blog Style Me Pretty, and I love seeing that influence my process and work today. I’m still finding my way towards my truest work- I can feel that I’m circling around the edge of it. I adore flowers, which is what my current series “Flourish” is filled with, but I can already feel a desire to expand in the next series and add in the figure.
Where do you find inspiration?
I am actually inspired by such a wide of variety of things that I can get easily distracted! I have to pay close attention to catch that subtle gut clench for the things that are endlessly, timelessly inspiring to me (and not just trendy, or more someone else’s thing than my own), so now I have a running pinterest board to collect just my “core” inspiration for art. My inspiration tends towards the natural world mixed with an old world european aesthetic, with a pinch of dreamy romance. Period dramas always seem to get me in a painting mood :)
What advice would you give to other artists pursuing a full time career in art?
Just start. It’s going to be just as hard to take a leap later as it is now. Start where you are, with the materials available to you and the methods that feel easy and accessible. Know that fear is always part of it (at every stage!), and that feeling fear doesn’t mean that you’re not moving in the right direction- it usually means quite the opposite. Make the work that feels like a little bit like magic to you when you think about it, the ideas that feel very personal, that you’re scared you won’t be able to do justice. Work like you’re on a deadline, but with the knowledge that you’re probably going to be blindly feeling your way around for months-to-years. When you have a body of work you’re truly proud of, there are so many ways to go from there, whether you want to learn the business of selling directly to consumers or learn to navigate the gallery world.
My all-time favorite quote on getting started is from Ira Glass: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
How are you inspired by flowers and nature?
I love all the feminine curves of flowers and greens- no straight, masculine, geometric shapes for me! Natural stems make beautiful, organic compositions with an effortless sense of movement. One of my favorite things is when blooms overflow with petals and spill forth with this sort of luscious, layered beauty.
What is your favorite flower?
Ooh, that’s a tough one! I think I have to go with peonies, because they’re just so plush and fragrant, followed by lilacs (that smell is heavenly!) and almost any kind of garden rose.
Currently reading and listening to?
“Start” by Jon Acuff- it’s the most motivating book ever, I swear! If you have anything in your heart you’ve been wanting to start on, you need to read this book yesterday.
Lastly, where can we see or purchase your work?
You can find me on Instagram (@jessblazejewski) and purchase original paintings or prints on my website, jessblazejewski.com!