KIDS: Visiting Artist - Jeanine - Dream Fulfillment

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Visiting Artist -  Jeanine Jackson

Why and how did Jeanine Jackson become an artist ? Here is her own story.


The evolution of an artist by Jeanine Jackson

When I was a little girl, my parents never worried about me being bored. I would always find something to draw with, paint on, or sculpt from. Newsprint, soap, flour, water, sand on the beach, etc., were everyday items that held the promise of transformation into whatever I could imagine them to be. How wonderful!

By the time I entered high school, I had no question about what I wanted to study. I chose the fine arts program at an all-girl school called Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, NJ. I spent the vast majority of my time in the art room. I could not get enough of it! Clay, glass, wood, stone, linoleum, acrylic, oil… These were the tools of real artists and my eager hands found each carried its own magic.

Parsons School of Design in New York accepted my portfolio in 1972. But, I did not want to be a commercial artist. I did not want to produce "art on demand" and feared that if required to, I would lose the joy I had found when creating. I also knew I had much to learn about life in general. I did not know what I wanted to "say" as an artist. So, I put my brushes on a shelf, and headed off to Fairleigh Dickenson University where I majored in Philosophy and General Science. College for me was like a shopping mall of ideas. I wanted to know what great questions had been asked, and what answers given. I wanted to save time and not re-invent the wheel, so to speak. I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1976 with National Honors.

My paintbrushes had gathered some dust by then. Still, I was so filled with momentum of intellectual pursuits that I chose a field that would utilize my ability to learn with my love of people and manual dexterity: Medicine, and in particular, Surgery. I enrolled in the University of Florence Medical School, Italy in 1977. I did pack my watercolors, and produced two paintings or so per year during the eight years I lived and worked in Florence, home of my hero, Leonardo DaVinci, and cradle of the Renaissance. Medical School was rigorous, and I found my way into the "Clinica Altrarno" where I worked in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery under Gaetano Azzolina. We had lots of "saves" where open-heart surgery was performed on children born with congenital anomalies of the heart. Sadly, as amniocentesis and prenatal diagnosis increased, this field began to shrink. By the time I did my externship in Pediatrics at Nassau county Medical Center in 1983, my view of medicine, hospital administration, and my place in any branch of it had shifted. I made the difficult decision to change careers the following year while still living in Florence then returned to the US in 1985.

In the following years, I worked in design and marketing of jewelry, design packaging, and direct mail. Art remained a treasured hobby. It wasn't until I married in 1998 and we moved to Connecticut that I made the decision to dedicate my 100% professional efforts to art. It is a luxury I could afford to pursue without the pressure of having to sell my work right away. I sought out the best teachers and paint every day. There is so much beauty around us that I know my mission, as an artist is to capture as much of that as I can on canvas. Now I enjoy selling my work as part of the creative process, and realize that a very good living can be made from it. I am finally doing what I feel like I was born to do. I would encourage young artists to research schools and careers carefully.

Back to Jeanine's web page

See Jeanine's Portrait and Landscape Gallery Drawing Lesson 1

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Content Last Modified on 2/9/2007 8:34:33 AM