This post is all about the frequently asked questions I receive. Unfortunately I can’t reply to every email that comes my way…but please know that I do read them all and appreciate all the messages! My fans and supporters mean so much to me!
So here we go…
1. What inspires you?
Well I think the question is, what doesn’t inspire me? haha. Seriously though, I try to keep an open mind to whatever may hit me as inspiration. I love music, it puts visuals into my imagination. So often when I am creating…I am listening to music. I am also inspired by other artists-really when I see other peoples work…it just makes me want to create. I am inspired by people, nature, fashion, architecture, Japanese illustration, traveling and my life itself. Creating art is like writing in your journal. My life has been changing a lot recently and some of my artwork has reflected lots of different emotions that I feel.
2. What types of paints and supplies do you use?
I am not one of those people who is faithful to one brand or type of product. I mix high end items and cheap ones in my art bin. I do recommend you experiment as much as you can with mediums, brands, and papers/canvases. I also suggest that one expensive detail brush is a must! And paper at 140lb or higher for watercolor. Good brands in the art biz for watercolor artists include: Princeton brushes and Winsor & Newton watercolors.
3. Do you paint portraits and will you paint me?
I get this question on a daily basis. And I am flattered anyone would consider me to commission a painting of someone they know or themselves. These are the hardest types of commissions and yes, I take them. I tend to only take a few every so often, because they are quite labor intensive and I have to balance my time between my Etsy shop, personal work and freelance jobs. I want every job I take on to be one that I have plenty of creative energy and inspiration to devote to it…so that is one of the reasons I cannot reply to every inquiry or request of that manner.
4. Do you license your artwork for websites/blogs?
I sure do! Most of the work you see in my Etsy shop and website is available for license. Meaning that the client and I come up with an agreement on how the image will be used, what the cost would be, and I sell them a digital file of the artwork. In most cases when I license to clients I am not doing a copyright buyout, unless the client wants to do so. What normally happens is I sell the client a license to use the artwork, and I still retain all copyrights to the artwork. (It’s like when a commercial uses a song…they have to pay the musician to use that song-even though they are not buying the copyrights to the song).
5. Will you offer a tutorial or YouTube channel of a demo of your watercolors?
I really really want to sometime this year! I am getting this question a lot because I do teach classes locally and I have a lot of fans who do not live in Atlanta. So stay tuned on that one…I may start with a simple tutorial here on my blog and work my way from there.
6. How did you get where you are today as a full time artist?
This question is a tough one to answer. My journey to get where I am today is one that I could have never predicted. I love to create and have been doing so since I was 3. For me much of my success is due to people sharing my work. Social media has been a huge deal for my work spreading. But of course…its’ also about focusing on the artwork and only painting what I am truly inspired by. I have had a true desire to just get better and follow my instincts. Creating in my life means so much to me. On a side note…I didn’t study art thinking, “Wow I am going to make sooo much money doing this”! Art is a way of life for me. I create because it makes me happy. I think if you’re determined enough to push yourself as far as you can go….you can be successful! And if you want to be taken seriously as an artist start by building your portfolio (get high quality scans or photos of your work) get a website, business cards and start reaching out to people that could land you some work. And just be confident and don’t let failures stop you. I have failed and been rejected my fair share. But I just use that as fuel to keep getting better!
I hope you enjoyed this post, and thanks again for your support!
Posted By : jessdurrant
Do you have dreams that scare you? Things you are afraid to do..because you think you will fail at them? I’m sure you’ve heard that quote before that goes along the lines that if your dreams don’t scare you…they’re not big enough. It’s certainly something that I think has a lot of truth behind it. It’s easy to get into our comfort zones and not push ourselves to see what we are capable of doing.
I took on a project that scared me. It was a project that I had every reason to be scared about. I was working on pretty much a one week deadline before leaving out of the country. And it was for my biggest client ever…Target. It was crazy because I felt this urge to stay within my comfort zone and decline the project. But then I had to stop myself from being a baby…haha. I realized I needed to do it…because it scared me.
This was a very intense project. The advertising agency that I worked with was amazing. So with tons of caffeine and good fist pumping music…I pushed myself past the point I think I was capable of. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do in life? Take risks, and chances?! And hey…sometimes I fall flat on my arse. But the point is you always have to get back up and keep fighting on.
I was so thrilled when the I was able to finish the work and found out the project had made it’s way to Target stores across the country! It’s part of the shoe department. I mean honestly when I saw it myself…it was like one of those moments you have in life that you feel you won’t forget. So thanks to all of those of you who have been such a force for positivity in my life. My family, friends, fans and supporters mean so much to me.
So the next time you get a chance to do something that scares you…I dare you to take it! Who knows…maybe I’ll be skydiving soon?!jessdurrant
One of my favorite Beatles song is Across the Universe. (Also looove Day in the Life). The words conjure up feelings of traveling to faraway places.
I have been having recurring dreams of being in Australia for the last couple years. (On a side note…I actually have a lot of nightmares. It’s quite strange, so to have dreams of being in Australia and loving it were very welcome). Over the Summer I had a very long, and vivid dream that I was in Australia and was very happy. I woke up and turned to my husband and told him about my dream and how I thought we should plan to visit before the year was up. So we planned a trip to coincide with my birthday/Thanksgiving week.
I have never traveled to a place as faraway as Australia. I think that was part of what enticed me. The allure of going somewhere on the other side of the world. I cannot even begin to describe what it is like. I just know now that I would love to go back again soon…and that everyone who can should go should! I’m going to post some pics…and just let the visuals do the talking.
Some of the things I loved about Australia were the natural rugged beauty, the wild cockatoos flying around, the amazing seafood, and the appreciation the Aussies have for the great outdoors and recreational activities. And the Aussies were so down to earth and very friendly. I could go on and on…but I just think you should go! It doesn’t cost a million dollars, and don’t worry about the long flight. Just think of it as time to watch movies, eat, sleep and then before you know it…you’re in Oz!
Happy Holidays y’all! Keep on creating
Posted By : jessdurrant
I’ve been asked many times what a normal day of work is like for me. It’s something most artist’s get asked, because people are naturally curious.
Most days this is what my desk looks like…
It’s the only place that I allow myself to get messy, make a ton of mistakes and hopefully make some good paintings every once in a while. Paint drips have dried on my desk and I don’t try to clean it up. I feel like a kid when I’m being creative. It transports me back to going to art class in 3rd or 4th grade. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve painted, the thrill of creating never gets old. I particularly love to paint in the morning. Somehow the world seems more quiet and I feel a sense of excitement by a blank piece of paper and a few reference photos. (Thank you pinterest….hahha)
And the other huge part of my job consists of emailing, working out licensing deals and freelance jobs, contracts, phone calls, and packing/shipping orders. Customer service has become a huge part of running my online shop. I’m grateful for the jobs I’ve had in the past where I learned how important customer service is.
I’ve certainly had a lot of learning experiences and trial/errors since I started out. I just took it day by day. Lesson by lesson. I’ve had successes and failures. And every little thing that encourages me and excites me-I relish. I sometimes think the little things in life can often be the ones that bring profound pleasure and satisfaction to us. I can’t even explain how happy I was with my 1st sale on Etsy.
The one thing I cannot live without in my studio is…music. (Or chocolate or caffeine) Music is one of my biggest inspirations. I listen to all kinds of music. And it can help me get into a mood that I want to reflect in a piece I am painting.
Some of my favorites include: Charlotte Gainsborough, Cat Power, Led Zeppelin, The Shins, Badly Drawn Boy, DJ Shadow, My Morning Jacket, Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, The Strokes, Radiohead, and Fleet Foxes. Some of my paintings are titles of songs or a play on lyrics I’ve heard. Sometimes I don’t even know what to name a painting, so I’ll look to see what song is playing on my Pandora & name it that. (One of my paintings titled Different Day is an example of that).
I hoped you enjoyed a little peak into my studio and daily life.
Posted By : jessdurrant
“Opportunity follows struggle. It follows effort. It follows hard work. It doesn’t come before.”
I am a very private person in some regards in my life. I am not one to open up to people easily on my own struggles or trials in life. That being said I think many artist’s use their art as a way to express themselves, have fun, and as a form of therapy. As I have gotten to know my artist friends here in Atlanta more and more…it seems many of us use our art as a way to allow ourselves to channel any negative energy out of our life. This sounds so new age and silly. But if you really think about…most people have a talent or hobby in something and you gravitate towards doing it because it allows you to forget about your anxieties or fears and just focus on the present. Be it yoga, fishing, building something, painting, exercising…etc.
I have learned that some of the best opportunities have come to me when I have powered through any discouragement, setbacks or failures I have faced. I’ve held on to the faith that I can do something with my art, that is bigger than me. Even though I have so many exciting things happening in my career right now…doesn’t mean I face projects that disappoint or paintings that suck! hahaha!
A couple of weeks ago I had a few days in a row where the steam was knocked out of me. A book deal I was offered from a major publishing company didn’t pan out. And then at the same time I was working with a client (a really big deal client for me) and I just wasn’t feeling inspired. It came across in my work and they hacked my creations apart. I felt like giving up. It would have been so easy to just say, “I think we should part on creative differences.” But I knew that I needed to “Man Up!” (using a term from my favorite show Workaholics…hahah) So I did something super cheesy…I looked up encouraging quotes and practiced a little self-affirmation. I looked myself in the mirror and said, “I can do this!” And I tried to envision me making the client happy with the end result. I found this quote:
If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right. ~ Henry Ford
So I put on my big girl pants and powered through it. And you guessed it, I finished the project and made the client oh so happy! It really helps to remember that you can accomplish things…you are your biggest obstacle sometimes. Right?! So shut up that negative voice in your head and prove it wrong already!
In exciting news…I have licensed some artwork to Revlon UK & European division and will have more information on that coming this Fall. They are using one of my pieces for product display in drugstores. Pretty darn exciting! I also got some great press from Country Living Magazine. I’m in the Sept. issue on page 29…if you’re at the grocery store check it out! Thanks Country Living! I also licensed a group of illustrations to New Zealand’s 30 Days of Fashion & Beauty event coming in September. So a lot of super fun things that make me dance around my apartment in pure elation!
Posted By : jessdurrant
Summer is here, and that means balancing time with family, friends and work. I can’t wait to reveal some very exciting projects I’ve been working on! All I can say is the last few weeks have been filled with me signing lots of contracts. Lots of pinch me type of moments happening here. I feel really grateful that I get to do this for a living.
Yesterday I spent some time painting lace dresses I was inspired by. One is an Elie Saab, and the other a McQueen of course. To me fashion will always be an art form. I was so crushed I didn’t take advantage of seeing the McQueen exhibit in NYC. Maybe someday he’ll have a permanent exhibit somewhere. Makes me wonder if there is a museum dedicated to fashion…now that would be awesome! If I had my way it would be filled with various artist’s fashion illustrations and the book store would be sick!! Okay, I’ll stop rambling here.
Before I wrap up this short post, I want to share with you one of my more recent favorite quotes. I painted it and have it engrained in my work mentality. If you work hard to do your best work…no matter what industry or career you’re pursuing, people will not be able to ignore you or your talents. Cheers for now!
Posted By : jessdurrant
Happy Summer y’all! Last month I was able to get up the NYC with two of my artist friends for ICFF & Surtex. It was a blast! We do a little bit of work, but mostly play. And by play I mean we do some serious eating, shopping and feasting our eyes on the inspiring city that is New York. Every time I go there, I think…how will I ever capture a painting that does NYC justice? Never. But I will keep trying.
I got a lot of photos snapped that I put in my inspiration folder and I look through them often. I store a lot of those ideas into my “working memory”. (I learned that term from the book I finished, Imagine…see last blog post). Some are from ABC carpet and home. I really liked the colors throughout the store. I have already done a few pieces using ideas from their color stories. In fact I bought a very luxe brand of turquoise india ink and am using it all the time now! It’s so pretty and reminds me of my time in St. Martin earlier this year.
As an artist it’s easy to find inspiration, especially from random places. And this week was no exception. We had family in town and went to the Georgia Aquarium. I had heard that it was a great aquarium…I had no idea how fabulous it would be! And I didn’t go in thinking I would walk out ready to paint a butt load of stuff after leaving. But that’s how inspiration works. It comes sometimes when and where you least expect it. Thank goodness I have a good camera on my phone…because I got a few great captures of what I was most enamored with…the jellyfish!!!
The way the jellyfish were displayed was so cool. From afar it looked like a large abstract painting with slow moving jellyfish. It was surreal. Now I kinda wish I could go to other aquariums around the world and see more of these alien like creatures. I like that they are so abstract. So when you paint them you’re work already takes on a life of it’s own. In 2 days I created 4 watercolor studies. Which is your favorite? I think the last two are mine.
Moral of the stories kids….make sure you get out of your house and see the world. Because it’s full of things to inspire.Posted By : jessdurrant
I was browsing at my local Barnes & Noble store this weekend. (On a side note, I still am mourning the loss of Borders…I loved that place). I came across a book with an interesting cover. It made me stop and look at it for a moment. Then I picked up to read on that it was about creativity, and the science behind it. Woah! I love learning about how the brain works, it’s something that has fascinated me in particular for the last year or two.
So I bought the book and I’m about halfway through, and this book is blowing my mind!! I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone interested in creativity, or tapping into their own more. It bunks the myth that there are “creative types”. While in fact we all have creativity inside our minds, it’s how we tap into it and unleash it that counts.
I’ve never been in a book club, but this book makes me wanna round up a group of people and discuss this to no end! Some of the interesting things I’ve learned so far include how Bob Dylan penned Like A Rolling Stone, how the color blue can double your creative output. And did you know sleeping, relaxing in a warm shower and taking a walk outside are great ways to be more creative? As well as traveling and tapping into your child like innocence/perspective. Now these are not just “notions” per se, science has proven them! And each chapter Jonah Lehrer uses studies, research and examples that will fascinate you.
I would like to end with this quote that I have always loved, that Lehrer uses in one of chapters of his book. It’s by Pablo Picasso, ” All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”.
So don’t grow up, k? Haha! Enjoy your weekend, and go be creative!Posted By : jessdurrant
Life is short, as they say. I don’t know about you but these last few years I have been while aware that time is a fleeting thing. Part of one of the reasons I started painting and pursuing a career in art a few years ago was to feel like I was living my life to the fullest. Believe it or not growing up and my early 20′s I was not confident and I did not take advantage of opportunities afforded me. I led a mediocre existence. After a few years into my marriage my husband and I started taking advantage of flight benefits from his job in the airline industry. The more we traveled the more we wanted to travel. So many of our trips became about spontaneous getaways. Say a weekend trip to Madrid. Or a long weekend in Mexico City. Many times it was us looking at a map and picking a place and planning a getaway a few days in advance. There is something that allows me to fill with adrenaline and excitement like no other than when traveling spontaneously.
One of my most spontaneous things I ever did as far as travel was to go to Barcelona for 48 hours by myself. I did not have a hotel reservation. The only Spanish I know is, “Donde esta la bibioloteca” from high school Spanish class. But I did know that I dreamed of seeing the Sagrada Familia, smelling the Mediterranean ocean and getting lost in a city where I don’t know a single person. Maybe that is scary for some. And yes, I did get a bit scared at first but then I realized…how many times in life do you get a chance like this?? And if you don’t do it now, you never will. Everything worked out smoothly in Barcelona. I didn’t have anything remotely scary happen to me, I found a beautiful hotel room and I saw the Sagrada Familia. The most amazing part was coming back on the plane (since I fly free only by traveling standby) there was only 1 seat left. And the seat was mine. No one else was vying for that seat-which is a rarity. Anyone who has traveled standby or works for the airlines knows this. It only confirmed to me that the trip and seat home was meant to be.
Creating art is the same way for me. I don’t plan out many of my artworks in advance. In fact most of my paintings happen very quickly. I think it’s because when I do spend a lot of time planning out a piece I end up over-thinking it. Every artist has a different approach, method and way they execute their artwork. Maybe I’m impatient, and I certainly am not a perfectionist in anything I do in life-especially with my art. What happens in most cases is I come across an image or two that I see and envision it as a painting. So instead of thinking too much about it, I just paint it. I don’t think about it, I just turn up the tunes and do it. I think watercolors are great for people who have this approach to painting. You have to work quickly with watercolors, and so that allows you to make quick decisions. Sometimes I fail at it, and sometimes I succeed. But the important thing is that I always keep painting. Never let a bad piece of art slow you down. Keep moving forward and keep striving to be a bit more spontaneous with your art. It will allow you to leave your comfort zone, and sometimes that will allow you to create something unexpected and wonderful.
So no matter what your talent, ambition or goals in life are go ahead and go for them. Be more spontaneous.
Here are some new artworks that I’ve created, and all of them were painted using my approach of painting spontaneously!
Posted By : jessdurrant
Blogging is not my forte. I am the first to admit this. I have so many friends who are such wonderful bloggers. Many of my artist friends are also graphic designers and can whip their blog into a thing of beauty. I love reading and finding blogs just like 99% of people. They inspire, encourage and allow us to find common ground with others. I hope I can get better at blogging with time. For now, I just like to share little snippets into what I’m working on and what I have come across that excites me.
Since my last post things have continued to stay busy. More of my work has been geared towards client based jobs. Right now I am working with Westfield Malls, an international mall chain based in L.A. I finished a wonderful project with IN London Magazine. I was able to paint Etro, Chanel, Ralph Lauren all approved by the fashion houses PR themselves. The magazine team was a pleasure to work with. It was so exciting waking up and painting for them. That’s when you know you have chosen the right job.
I also am so grateful for the press I have received in the last few months. Many thanks to SHOP 4 Kids magazine in Australia for featuring my Australian Dreams No. 2 watercolor. ELLE Brazil for featuring my print, It’s A Black and White World. JEZEBEL magazine for a small blurb about my artwork on a local level at Fab’rik East Cobb. And Damernas Värld in Sweden for featuring my painting, Art Deco Glamazon. RUE Magazine and Danielle Moss for featuring my prints in the February issue. And I can’t forget QVC for featuring my artwork throughout their website and television coverage for NY Fashion Week Spring 2012! Also a big thanks to bloggers everywhere who have ever posted about me. Blogging is such a strong tool to spread my art. So much of my success is in a good part due to people sharing my work. So THANK YOU!! Here are some of visuals of the places my art has been featured. Enjoy!
Posted By : jessdurrant