Artist Jolene Dames’ paintings focus on navigation in both the physical world and inner spiritual realm. Visit her website to see more.
When I was little, I loved two things—adventure and art.
While still in college, I became obsessed with traveling after my first trip to Europe. I have since traveled the world to such places as Zanzibar, New Zealand, and many other countries. Around the same time, with zero training, I landed a job painting sets for theater and eventually movies and television.
For over 20 years, I have made a career working behind the scenes. I’ve worked as an on-set painter, paint charge, set designer and decorator for such shows as The Avengers, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Chair and The Bachelor.
Sounds fun, right? It is. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have spent 20 years doing it! But what most people don’t know about me is I am also an artist in my own right.
I create large-scale paintings based on the concept of navigation—not only of the physical world but of the spiritual world we hold inside us.
I believe in true north and the alignment of one’s inner compass with true north to express one’s authentic self. I have also adopted the moniker of “alchemist” because life is about the ability to transmute findings from lead to gold in all respects. As an artist and alchemist, everything for me has been about navigating true north to transform things into a greater force.
I am a self-taught painter, using the skills and techniques honed from my professional career. They have laid the foundation for the paintings I create today using water and casein-based paints and a myriad of other tools.
My paintings vary in size but usually range between 5 to12 feet, although I have painted canvases as large as 40 by 60 feet. I paint my large-scale works of art standing in front of my canvas, which is laying flat on the ground, using a three-foot extension brush.
My creative process starts with an image that I design and paint on a small scale, usually 4 by 6-inches on watercolor paper. I use that rendering to create my large-scale painting.
I start by dismantling the image down to its basic shape, then recreate it layer by layer to build the organic backgrounds. Those backgrounds, coupled with tight, controlled lines, reflect two aspects of life—the human desire to control what aspects we think we can control converging with the unknown chaos of all that is. I am constantly seeking harmony between these two driving forces in my life.
The intention of my work is to embrace new perspectives through the consistent recalibration of self; thus alchemizing all things into the highest form of existence.
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