Tuesday, January 13, 2015

* interview: artist jael baker *

When I started gg, the main aim was to simply create a visual scrapbook of the beautiful things I saw. It would be wonderful if this blog had a huge following and if one day I'm needed in Paris to do a book signing, but for now, I love that I can get my teeth into a subject and jot down my thoughts here. 

Lately I've been trying to keep up with the gorgeous work of my creative and prolific friend Jael Baker. With her equally creative husband, Jael is living not too far away in Upstate New York and agreed {not sure I left her with too much choice...!} to discuss her work with me. 

When did you start to paint and create? 
I dabbled with painting and drawing a little when I was younger, but I really didn't start creating anything until my late teenage years. I had a very close friend who's mother was an artist and she has been a great influence to me. When I started college I studied art, primarily focusing on jewelry/metalwork and watercolor. At that time I also became interested in encaustics.

How do you refuel yourself creatively? How do you find the time in your daily routine?
Refueling myself can be difficult at times, with a busy schedule, but as I develop more as an artist , I find myself giving myself more time to create. It's the one thing that I can lose myself in. I try to find time on a daily basis to think, whether it be during a workout (yes I think when I workout),or on a bus ride, I focus my thoughts on something that gives me emotion, developing that emotion usually gives me a thought for a project.

How has your style evolved since you began painting? Do you have any goals for developing your work?
I definitely gravitate towards the abstract. When I started with watercolor, I worried about my drawings and paintings being "perfect" , but then I realized that it was holding me back. I like to create a feeling or emotion and I like the idea that everyone sees and feels it differently. Do I still work on my technical skills, like figure drawings and basic principles of design and composition? Yes, but I don't let it rule my work. My goals are to produce things that give people a feeling or an experience

Abstract art is difficult to define - how would you explain your style? Where do you begin and how do you know when you are finished with a piece?
I define my style as whatever moves me. Sometimes it can be a color that I connect with a feeling or maybe an experience, but in any case ultimately it's whatever the viewer sees or feels, whether they love it or hate it, that's good because it evoked a response. One of my teachers constantly reminded me not to overwork. That to me means that to an artist it will never be finished, but you can complete your thought. I know I'm finished when I have completed a thought. If I have something else to say, I'll do another piece.

Could you describe the process of encaustic painting?
Encaustic means "to burn in" put simply, it's an ancient process of melting beeswax, adding pigment for color and damar resin to help harden. It can be done on many surfaces, I prefer using wood panels or specially made clayboards.

How does creating art make you feel?
It makes me feel like I'm talking and getting everything out. I'm not a hugely social or outgoing person. I prefer to watch and listen, when I have something to say , I'll say it, but I like to take a more creative approach.

Thank you so much my generous friend for sharing your expressions! Dear readers, Jael's paintings are untitled, which I love - let the viewer decide what he or she sees. If you are interested in discussing the paintings with her, please leave your contact details for Jael in the comments section below. 

:: all images copyright Jael Baker - please do not reproduce without permission via this blog :: 

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