Jeanne L. Bessette

Artist statement and Bio
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Artist statement and bio

Artist Statement
Painting for me is not an occupation it's a preoccupation. I guess you could say I self medicate with paint.
I never start a painting without having an intention in mind or a message to communicate, even if it's just a word that motivates me to move the brush and push color around. Although admittedly, I need little reason to do either, painting helps me find peace with myself and the world I live in. It answers a lot of questions and brings up new ones. It often feels like a therapy session and at the end of a day in the studio I sometimes feel like I've gotten something off my chest. So when you see my work you will learn something about me.
I'm mostly interested in the essence of life rather than replicating what I'm seeing, which is why I paint in an abstract way and I consider my approach more intuitive than methodical as I am often responding to the last thing I put on the canvas. At some point something magical begins to emerge and I start to see where I need go.
I layer and glaze and scratch and draw. I often scribble and scrape my way through to the layers underneath then glaze over and continue on when it is dry. My glazing techniques create luminosity and depth in my paintings that make you feel like you could step into them. I love the way paint feels so I often paint with my fingers, sponges and rags. Finding paint under my fingernails at a dinner party is not uncommon for me. My friends don't seem to mind.
I love lots and lots of pungent color and contrast but have learned through the years that sometimes the most subtle changes can be the most powerful. So I paint both contrastly, in your face paintings and quiet emotional pieces. They are both a part of me.
My paintings often have a message but if you have more questions than answers when you walk away that's O.K. Too. I consider it a failure if you walk away feeling nothing.
I received my first art kit when I was four years old. I remember pretending I was a famous artist and I would hang my creations all over the house, so it was no surprise to anyone when I was voted most artistic in my high school yearbook. I studied studio painting in college and tried to pursue my passion. However, the idea of painting for a living was somewhat discouraged, and I began to believe these externally implanted doubts from well-meaning people in my life. I went to photography school as a compromise and became a photographer. That seemed more acceptable to everyone including me for a while. As it turned out, that decision morphed into a very profitable career. I went on to own and operate a highly successful photography studio in New England for over a decade, won many awards and gained clients throughout the United States. My photography career was very rewarding, but there was always a small fire inside that was not being fed. So after thirteen years, I retired my camera for profit and picked up a paint brush. This time for real. It felt like home.
Feeling too old for college life, I sought out master teachers who excelled in their field to relearn the tools of my true passion. Soon, I was accepted into numerous juried exhibitions and offered solo shows. My experience as a photographer offers me the skills I need to see light and composition and I enjoy a powerful palette filled with layers and lots of color. I am now enjoying continued success and acceptance by a new clientele as well as the fine art community. I continue to study with some of the best artists in the world as I feel we can never stop growing. It is a journey that will last a lifetime.
I am the luckiest person in the world to be able to paint every day. Don't let anyone steal your dream.
My paintings reside in numerous private collections in the United States and Canada including television personality Michelle Phillips, nationally known comedian Tim Wilkins, and Author Karen Ely to name a few.
"Jeanne pursues her art making with great passion. Over the years she has developed a unique style full of color, and yet it also has many subtle passages of layered hues and glazes. Her images are rendered to create a mystery through her color placement. She asks the viewer to solve the deeper meaning behind her paintings, leaving us with a strong, memorable impression." Joanna Coke
Features and Publications
January 2011 Feature story of Jeanne's work in "Art of Day" by James Day
January 2011 Feature story about Jeanne by Marie Kazalia/
Selected Solo exhibitions
October 1st 2010 Blake Street Studio Artist Showcase
September /October 2010 : Still Waiting for a Sign, Hotel Hadley Studios Siler City NC
September 2010 : featured artist Christopher Terrell Gallery, Raleigh NC
June/September 2010 - Solo exhibit "Waiting For a Sign", Gallery A, Raleigh NC
July 2010 - Featured Artist, Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh NC
March/April 2010 -Jordan Lake School for the Arts, Apex NC
July 2009 - "More Than Meets the Eye" Manatee Center for the Arts, Bradenton, FL
December 2007 Musing and Illusions Com Center Gallery Sarasota Florida
Selected juried/group shows
2010 - Nothing Rhymes With Orange, Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC.
2009 - Wine Art and Heart Gallery Showcase St. Petersburg Florida (Featured Artist)
"American Artists" Experimental Gallery, Bradenton ,
"Brief Interlude" Bradenton Florida
"Outside the Lines" Manatee Florida
2008 "Summer Showcase" Manatee Florida
"Crystal Visions" Bradenton Florida
"Why wait" Sarasota Florida
"Fall Showcase" Longboat Key
2007 "Mixing Ideas" Manatee Florida
" Member show" Manatee Art Center Manatee Florida
" Member show" Art Center Sarasota Florida
2006 " Ideas a Plenty" group show, Longboat Key, Florida
" Member show" Manatee Art Center, Manatee Florida
1990-2005 Numerous awards won in Photography
Special events and commissions
2008 /2010: Jeanne was invited to be the featured artist and Juror at the Annual Wine Art and Heart charity event in Saint Petersburg Florida for three consecutive years. Jeanne was in the company of esteemed National award winning artists. Her paintings both years were selected to be featured on all promotional materials.
2008: "Leap of Faith" was featured for the annual "Women Empowerment Event" in Manatee Florida. Jeanne was also invited to be a guest motivational speaker at this event.
2008: Commissioned several commemorative pieces for the Big Brother Big Sister organization. These pieces (a total of seven) now hang in Public offices throughout Florida.
Rhode Island School of Photography 1987-1988
Joanna Coke, Robert Burridge
ISS Taos New Mexico 2010
Teaching experience:
Mixed Media class: Manatee Art Center 2007-2009
Acrylic workshop : Jerry's Artarama 2010
Acrylics classes: Wake County Tech
Jeanne Bessette