Jennifer Gauthier, born and raised in Washington, often reflects on her hometown for inspiration. The series she created exclusively for Schoolhouse Art Studio was made "with an intention to find peace and wonder in the magnificent world that we live in." Prisms of soft color and texture fly off the canvas in this magical abstract landscape series. Below, Jennifer shares how she takes time to connect with each painting, where she turns when she needs inspiration, and what artists she's always admired.
How would you describe your work and yourself as an artist?
"Uplifting, thoughtful, and joyous are just a few words that I would use to describe my work. Painting has been my form of healing and growth and each piece captures a moment in that process. I take my time to get to know each painting before I begin laying down the layers of paint. I build my stretchers in my tiny studio. I use my two hands to stretch each canvas. I mix each color to get the desired hue. Working in this slow and meditative manner brings me joy. Over the years, my work has really begun to feel like a spiritual practice."
What does your creative process look like from start to finish?
"My creative process really varies from day to day. Creativity comes in waves. Some days I have an incredible amount of energy and soak up every ounce of studio time. Other days I need to recharge so I walk away from my projects until I am drawn back. Each day that is spent in the studio involves my morning routine, time for journaling, and time for painting. I enjoy listening to music or podcasts that uplift the soul."
What do you hope to communicate, or have people experience, with your art and this series in particular?
"I hope my work inspires healing and is restorative for those that take the time to digest it. This series in particular was made with an intention to find peace and wonder in the magnificent world that we live in. I took a lighthearted approach with this collection and hope that the peaceful energy is felt in any space these paintings move to."
Are there any rituals or routines you follow while creating?
"I wake in the early morning hours. There is something delicious and thrilling knowing that I am alone with my work as others are sleeping. I always start every day in the studio with black coffee, some yogic poses, and a few moments of meditation. Setting an intention for my day and also writing in my gratitude journal helps to feed my process. Once I feel grounded, then I can paint for hours. I try to remember to take breaks throughout the day, but it is easy for me to lose track of time."
Where do you go when you’re craving inspiration?
"Standing at the edge of earth and peering out at any body of water provides inspiration. I love the way water moves. Another place I often feel inspired is on my Aunt’s farm. There is something magical about how time slows down when you are unplugged from a city. Colors, sound and shape of terrain all influence my work."
Who are your artistic or design influences/heroes?
My absolute favorite artist is Andrew Wyeth. He captures the quiet moments in life and eloquently portrays them in the most honest of ways. Standing in front of an original piece of his is absolutely transformative. His work is powerful beyond measure and his observations are divine. Helen Frankenthaler is another artist that is a hero of mine. She produced strong bodies of work throughout her career and I admire how much she let her work evolve. I believe she was on the leading edge of thought in her paintings. It’s an inspiration to have a female artist to look up to."
What role does art and design play in your own home? Tell us about your décor style.
"The décor of my home is very eclectic. I have some bohemian elements, mixed with farmhouse pieces and Scandinavian influences. I like a space that is open, airy and light. I find that by mixing styles, the energy in my home is expansive. The art on my walls is ever changing as my own artwork is in constant transition. Last year I began to collect paintings by other artists. I’m planning to turn my entryway into a funky gallery wall of contemporary artists' work. I can’t imagine curating my walls with anything but artwork made by individuals whom I admire."
Photos by @alyssamonette
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