When the Universe knows that you are an artist you can’t escape your destiny.
This is very much a life-story of Jennifer Yoswa, an incredible oil painter from Colorado. After rediscovering her passion for art in her 30s, Jennifer’s life became a swirl of amazing projects, publications, and a growing crowd of collectors and followers.
Her art is very feminine, whimsy and at the same time serious and incredibly empowering. We asked Jennifer to tell us more about her story and her art practice.
A pivot from public education to an art career
ITAS: You have been a teacher for many years and you are also a trained therapist. What was the calling behind both and have you ever practiced counseling? Did both experiences feed into your art and in what way?
Jennifer Yoswa: I planned to teach or work in education since I was a child.
I earned degrees in elementary education, special education, and counseling psychology. I spent 30 years in the public school system as a school counselor, elementary teacher, and gifted and talented coordinator. I have no doubt that my experiences, both positive and negative, have influenced my art… because they influenced who I am.
Destined to be an artist
ITAS: You are a self-taught oil painter. I’m very curious to learn about your development on this path and how you came up with this unique feminine art style.
JY: I considered myself an artist when I was a very young child. I had a strong passion for drawing and carried my art supplies with me everywhere. I started an imaginary fashion business and designed clothes in little paper books (catalogs) that I handed out at recess. I even taught art to my neighborhood friends, charging them a dime a lesson. But as I grew older, my passions changed and I abandoned my art.
In my mid-thirties I had an incredible urge to create. In an attempt to satisfy that urge, I dabbled in beading, cross-stitching, interior design, stenciling, designing children’s furniture, and charcoal drawing. But it was the day I put the oil paint on canvas that I found my “missing piece.”
I began by painting still life. Giorgia Mirandi was a strong influence. Then I discovered cubism. I spent endless hours studying the work of Picasso and Georges Braque. Finally, I stumbled on a book of art by Amedeo Modigliani. I had an immediate connection. It was his artwork that moved me from still life to painting portraits.
I am a trial and error, intuitive painter. I paint until something looks and feels right. I paint colorful, soulful, strong, and playful portraits, mostly women, celebrating their complex yet essential place in our world and relationships.
I have an ongoing series that challenges female gender stereotypes called, “That’s Not Ladylike.”
My work is meant to be empowering, tender, and mischievous.
Dreams and projects
ITAS: Is there a dream project you are yet to work on?
JY: As an emerging artist, my dream project was to illustrate a children’s book. I feel fortunate to have illustrated two.
I have also been published in magazines, in textbooks, on a menu, on the cover of a book of poetry, and recently on the cover of a novel.
This may seem silly, but I would love to have my art on a wine label.
Advice to emerging artists
ITAS: Your advice to emerging artists who strive to support themselves doing art full-time.
JY: Being a full-time artist is different now than it was when I first began painting. It’s not only about putting in the work and making art, but also running a business.
It is about self-promotion and using social media as a platform for finding, knowing, and reaching your customers.
It’s about building and maintaining a professional online store.
Joining art communities, in-person, and on-line, are very important.
Find your people.
Give back to your community by donating your talents and your time.
Outlook on life
ITAS: Please, finish these sentences:
I will always… be grateful for the life I have, for my friends and family, for my home, for my health.
I will never… stop learning, growing, and creating
I dream about… I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I am living my dream.
I’m learning… to be more confident as a business woman
Where to find Jennifer’s feminine art online
Official website jenniferyoswa.com