This Q&A with Jennifer Keim takes us on an artistic adventure as we explore her creative process and her inspiration behind her solo series "Art in Motion."
What was your inspiration behind your "Art in Motion" collection?
"Art In Motion" is a great way to bring two of my favorite collections together, "Off To The Races" and "Generation WILD." Both subjects bring action and energy to the surface. But it's more than just the subjects, my materials and technique are what truly bring these works to life.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your technique with resin and how you keep your cool when you are at the mercy of the pour?
This technique continues to surprise me in the 20 years of working with resin. Every batch of resin is different, every wood panel is different, every stick of pastel is different and every pour scenario is different. All of which can determine the outcome of my final piece. I often feel like the mad scientist mixing my potions. It's all about the chemical reaction between the resin and pastel on raw wood.
My process starts by drawing the subject onto the raw wood panel with soft pastels. Pastels are a delicate dry medium and can easily be smeared. As I apply color, I have to interpret and guess how the pastels will react once the resin is poured and use colors according. Once I have completed drawing the subject onto the wood, most would say it's a finished piece, but with my technique it's only half way there. The next step is the resin pour which determines the overall outcome of my piece!!! No pressure!!! This is where the fun comes in and I have to do my part prepping the studio in my favor of a very unpredictable technique. The studio must be dust free, any excess residue on the wood panel must be removed, climate friendly environment of 50% humidity & 76 degree or higher.
The resin pour process consists of mixing two concoctions together (the resin and hardener) for 3 minutes and then I have 15 minutes to strategically pour and relieve any bubbles using a torch. Then I walk away with a sealed tight studio for 3 days so the resin can cure.
The surprise element is my favorite part of this technique! The heat of the resin melts the pastels. Some colors might disappear, some will blend, some don't pop like I intended but overall the resin enhances the pastel melting this drawing material to appear painterly. All of the colors and wood grain are enriched and enhanced, making the piece feel 3D. That's when there's magic and the piece comes alive!
Animals are a big part of your artwork, what is your personal connection to the animals you paint?
I've always had a love for the animals! I actually wanted to be an exotic vet and double majored in vet medicine and fine art. After MicroBiology, I realized I wasn't that committed and was better at drawing them! So I graduated with a BFA in Drawing & Painting.
My trip to South Africa changed my world and view on wild animals. The energy and circle of life inspired me and sparked a WILD side! If I'm ever in a creative block/rut, I think back on my trip to South Africa and instantly recharged by painting the animals and experiences. The energy there is contagious and unlike any other! Inspiring Generation WILD!
My intrigue for "Off To The Races" also came from my experiences of being in Lexington, KY at Keeneland and Steeplechase in Pine Mountain. The energy of the fast pace race and stamina of these beauties drives me WILD! The kickup is one of my favorite parts to paint.
Sometimes you use colorstrology when painting, what drew you to this and can you tell us what your color is/means?
I'm a color girl and not afraid to use it! I love pairing colors and making them vibrate off one another! 12 years ago , I came across this book Pantone's Colorstrology: What your birthday color says about you by Michele Bernhardt. This book became my Bible, my conversation piece, my icebreaker, coffee table read and I loved telling friends/clients their color. Often times I would find that the color looks good on the individual too and the personality description is dead on. I still have the original with torn edges and kids color marks! Love this book!
My birthdate is January 10th, Bombay Brown. As a color girl not afraid to use blues, reds, bright greens, I had a hard time connecting to the actual color. My description was dead on but my color didn't resonate until I recently had a personal House of Color consult. It turns out Bombay Brown aka Rust is one of my Wow colors! It actually looks good on me! And Bombay Brown is very similar to the Venetian Red I use for my underpaintings. White Canvases make me nervous for some odd reason and I learned from The Masters to start with a Venetian red underpainting. There's something about that color that makes the first stroke less intimidating for me.
January 10 Colorstrology - Bombay Brown
Realistic, Self-Sufficient, Creative
What do you hope people take away from your art?
Overall, I want people to feel joy, happiness and light when they see my work! Bring a smile to their face and always intrigue them to look closer for a sneaky new detail. I always love to hear personal connections to my work, but I also hope someone would be proud to hang my work simply because THEY LOVE IT.