An Artist’s Intuitive WayApr 30, 2014 04:04PM ● By Dale Bruder
Artist Jeanne Fellow says, “I work in an intuitive way now, even though I have an art education,” while sitting amid walls filled with lighted sconces. “I started out doing a lot of technical pen and ink illustrations and could copy things very well, leading me to think I didn’t have any real art inside.” Then something happened. “Colors began to speak to me” she says. “I’d taken a lot of design and composition courses until I found myself just going with the flow, letting the painting paint itself.”
The epiphany of an artist entering the creative path manifests in many ways. Fellow believes she receives messages through her acrylic ink technique, noting, “From a spiritual perspective, I see it as a way to connect with the flow of energy that is coming through me. I’ve used a lot of different techniques and work with whatever is there at the moment, being in the flow rather than staying in control of it. Personal symbolism comes through my pieces.”
Fellow’s journey from rendering to expressive art began by happenstance. “I was having a great time in college, but needed to raise my GPA, so I chose to take an art class. Being adventurous, I started mixing gravel in the oil paint, melting wax with a propane torch to get the movement I liked.”
At one point, Fellow found herself illustrating volatile people and developed stages of grief similar to the work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. She underwent a process of releasing unwanted energy by using art and soon the character drawings became cartoons that seemed to be drawing themselves. “That’s when I realized there was something inside that was original, that I didn’t have to look at a picture and start copying it,” says Fellow. After drawing 500 pictures in that period, “I suddenly became confidant. There’s more inside me than looking at a picture to copy. I could be more original.”
Judith Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and other creative discipline methods guided her and a potter in an Artist Way group introduced Fellow to acrylic ink. “We made clay pots to represent ourselves then detailed them with gold ink and metallic inks,” she recalls. “That was the beginning of finding my material.” Fellow states, “I wondered if anyone else could have an experience like I’ve had, where the work seems to flow through me and there’s more to it than a decorative piece. The answer has been yes!” During the past four years, Fellow has helped numerous students learn to paint intuitively using her methods.
She currently teaches classes at the Blue Raven Art School. Her studio classes, including LumenArt and Painted Threads, provide participants the materials and guidance to create art objects that channel personal symbolism and messages. “What I found is that people don’t have to have an art background. One of my beliefs is that everyone is creative; they don’t have to study composition and perspective—this is where the intuition comes in. Certainly I have people in my classes who are professional artists, but because of the techniques and the fact that you are not working with perspective or composition typical of art classes, it gives beginners a feeling of accomplishment. One student called it the ‘no fail’ class.”
Twenty-five years ago, Fellow began the quest to reveal creativity from the inside. That way was a path of happenstance and synchronicity, discovery and process. “The first three-dimensional piece appeared in 2001,” she recalls. “I painted flat framed artwork until 2011, when I discovered the freestanding lighted sconces I named LumenArt. Later, I added sculpted wall art and wearable art. I’m continually exploring how I can push this medium to new heights to inspire more creativity in myself and others who take classes and view my artwork, exploring how I can push the media.”
Fellow will be exhibiting at a special art show from 4 to 8 p.m., May 17, at the Blue Raven Art School in the Many Hands Courtyard. Upcoming May Classes include LumenArt, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 3; Artful Meditation, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 19; and Painted Threads, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 28.
Dale Bruder is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings.