I’m excited to introduce you all to June’s work today.
How do you see yourself? Would you be a carefully styled watercolor or are you more abstract? Why do you feel that way?
Have your kids ever drawn a picture of you and you’re like – who dis? Sometimes it isn’t flattering. But what I love about this is they’re drawing what sticks out about you and what’s important to them. My kids draw my hair down to the ground. We’re almost always holding hands. I usually have a camera and butterflies or flowers around me. This is how my kids see me.
Motherhood in Art
I was 5 months pregnant with my second when I started painting people again for the first time since high school.
It was hot, I was exhausted & extremely nauseous. I unabashedly plopped my firstborn in front of the tv for about an hour, sometimes two each day so that I could paint. Art was and is my sanity, my salvation. I painted at least one tiny breastfeeding mama black and white portrait everyday for the month of August. By the end of the month, I had nearly 50, and couldn’t stop. I painted from my pictures of me and Calvin, some of which were taken by Blaire 🙂 as well as some submitted by my followers, friends, and family. I painted mothers breastfeeding, baby wearing, and snuggling their littles, intimate moments caught in candid photos, transformed into timeless works of art.
It wasn’t until December that I started adding color that it was affirmed that this was something I needed to be doing. I got breastfeeding portrait commissions from mothers who were so proud of themselves and wanted to commemorate their journey. One mama cried, saying she had never felt so seen. If that’s not cause to continue, I don’t know what is.
I’m currently working on a piece for a mother who wants to capture a sweet moment from her 2.5 years of breastfeeding. She said that it is a gift to herself & that she deserves it. Too true.
Since I’ve stated doing my own mother and child portraits, I have become super interested in the history of motherhood in art and motherhood art around the world, especially breastfeeding. There are images, of course, many beautiful, but few the type of work that I would hang in my house. So, I’ve tried to fill the void a bit by painting the bond between mother and child, capturing moments, documenting a mother’s invisible work in my own way. I’ve done nearly 100 of these portraits, including some block prints.
While the mother and child portraits are what I’m most outwardly proud of, they can only exist because of my abstract work. Motherhood is my greatest joy and also my constant reality. I have turned to abstract work as a means of therapy, especially in times of turmoil such as this bonkers pandemic. I try to make time everyday to be creative for myself. I’m still taking on some work, but must make room for my personal work as well, for my own mental health. I’m a huge advocate for finding a creative outlet. If you have a spare moment to read a blog, you likely have a spare moment to do something creative. Sing a song, do some writing, take some photos, paint a painting if you’re able.
Here is a quick tutorial on how to do basic faces. It’s very simplistic & definitely not as comprehensive as many of the ones you’ll find online, but I laid out what’s important to me, which are to study your subject…hard, use a pencil & don’t be afraid to erase what doesn’t work for you, PRACTICE A LOT!, & don’t forget the twinkle in the eye. Notice what makes your model stand out from everyone else & try your best to recreate that on paper. Use photos from magazines, Pinterest, pictures of friends, draw from memory, use a mirror to do a self portrait, or ask a family member to sit with you to draw. Have them draw you, too! There are many ways to make it fun including one line drawings, where you do not lift the pen or pencil or you can draw the person in front of you without looking at your own paper. This is fun to do with kids of all ages.
Painted commissions have slowed down, understandably. Like many other small businesses, I’ve had to pivot my offerings a bit lately. I’ve launched a pay-what-you-can online deer painting class and have also been doing quick draw digital people, pet, & home portraits. More information on both of those services as well as more samples of my work and more information on me, please visit www.junejewell.com
Much love and many thanks,