As we inch a little closer to the month of March a lot of us are reflecting on the past year since the pandemic really took hold globally. It’s been a year of severe stress and pain for a lot of people and that must be noted. For some, it’s been a time of unintended self-exploration as we’ve retreated into our own inner-worlds like never before - especially as the weather has gotten colder. Yet while we quarantine and cocoon, none of us lives in an actual bubble separate from each other's experiences. We find ways to connect with each other as a society of social animals. We truly need each other… even while we are “in here.”

As a typical Gen X-er (ehem member of the “sandwich generation”), I am noting how technology lifelines available to me and my family have been critical to connection. My kids have been home for an entire year (gulp!) with online school as their main source of "normal" access to their teachers and friends. Meanwhile, I have had to scour the internet for vaccine appointments for my mother and Dave’s parents - all in their 80s. We even tried gifting my in-laws a tablet so that we can video conference occasionally (with mixed reviews on that!)


Reflecting on a year of art education...


When the pandemic hit, I had been getting ready to embark on a three year intensive Master Artist Program (MAP) through The Compass Atelier, which had been in the works way before COVID reared its ugly head. In the weeks leading up to the start of the program, it became clear that in-studio instruction was out of

the question. Thankfully, the school director and instructor Glen Kessler was able to pivot quickly into online teaching with close to 30 brand new MAP students including myself.


One year later, the MAP program is thriving with weekly online classes and independent work in our own studios. I'm not sure where Glen gets all his energy running the program, but I'm pretty sure it's from his passion and dedication to teaching regardless of the platform. I'm in awe of all of that!


So, my home studio has become my oasis where I have spent a pandemic year in art atelier learning mode.


As it turns out, there is no shortage of reference material in my own little bubble. In order to practice new drawing and painting techniques, I have been setting up still lives, curating interior scenes, modeling for my own self portraits, and using my own kids as my muses.


I have gotten to know a great group of fellow students during our weekly 5 hour online class. It took a little longer than I would have liked to start bonding with my cohort of classmates but through this shared experience we are now really connecting (still virtually) and sharing in each other’s successes, fears, and growth.


While not a true representation of the program make-up, my cohort happens to be mostly women - several of whom have kids in online school as well. I find them to be a relatable bunch of kind, unassuming, and supportive ladies. We critique each other's work each week which can feel pretty vulnerable, so I'm thankful that we all like each other so much.


Most of the work that I've produced this year I would consider practice pieces and not final finished artwork that I would consider showing.


These little quick studies below might be the exception. Meant to be fast, colorful, and unpolished, I rather like the way they look framed! I plan to do more of these to keep myself loose and to further study composition, color, and various concepts.



On the horizon...


As spring inches closer I anticipate some new energy in our daily lives. Our kids' schools are preparing to open back up to in-person instruction (albeit different that what we've known). Dave and I are grateful that our parents are getting vaccinated and safe.


And in just a couple of weeks, my classmates and I will meet in person for only the second time in a year. The first time was last fall when we did our plein air assignment outdoors. Here's a photo of my new little pochade box in action during one of our outdoor sessions.



We will finally meet in the atelier classroom, which has been modified to accommodate some in-person instruction safely, so that we can conduct an in-person year-end review and critique of ALL the artwork we produced during the year ONE of our atelier studies. A great way to round out a challenging but productive first year.


Lessons in life and art...


I’ve learned a tremendous amount this past year and am so grateful for that. Each lesson built upon the previous - in life and in art-education - perhaps too much for a single blog post. As for the atelier program, each skill and technique practiced has revealed insight into my future art-making options and that's exciting.


As we round out the first year of studies, I am filled with gratitude for the new relationships and experiences gained in this program during an unprecedented time. I also look forward to year TWO in this 3-year program, which will allow me to move beyond technique-driven assignments and into incorporating lessons learned into my own voice as an artist.


Stay tuned as I will be sure to share how that goes.


But more importantly, take the time to reflect on what has carried you through this past year.


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I have a number of giclee prints (framed and unframed) and small paintings available in my studio that I'm willing to part with to make room for a fresh start and new work. 


Many of the paintings listed on my website are available as affordable prints. I've received some recent requests and it's a pleasure to deliver locally or have you pick them up from my home studio. I have 8x10s and some larger sizes available. Please inquire


Between now and Thanksgiving, I will be donating 25% of proceeds as a way of saying thanks to an organization that has touched our family first hand: Make a Wish Foundation of America



Another great way to purchase a selection of my prints - MissPrints & MasterPieces


I would like to introduce you to my latest collaboration with about 45 other female artists.  I am proud to be a part of MissPrints & MasterPieces, a collection of gorgeous art prints by professional female artists. MissPrints & MasterPieces was created to support female artists by providing a place to showcase & sell our work.


Prints are available in a variety of sizes and you can select your preference right on the website. Phone cases are available too! Gift idea?


While you are browsing you should definitely look through the selection of modern, colorful and interesting art available through this collaboration.


Thanks for your continued support!

Jen

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I've been rather quiet here lately. If you are subscribed to my art newsletter you may have noticed that you haven't heard from me there lately either although I do hope that will change. It's not that I'm not painting or sharing my art. I'm still posting about my paintings and art adventures on Instagram and Facebook occasionally so you can find me there. But this period of massive transition that we are all facing in life has rendered me kind of quieter about my art.


I think I have shared this one with you though... it was one of my most recent commissioned pieces and I just love the light and vibrant colors that I could use to portray a scene from this sweet family's beautiful yard - A place I pass often on my daily quarantine walks and where I often see joyful play.

"Yard Beyond the Park", Oil on Canvas, 11x14. Jennifer Lynn Beaudet (2020)

I'm about to start another painting of someone's home. That's just where our minds are right now right? Everyone in my family is HOME 24/7 and now we added a puppy because that's what seemed logical (!?). So like many of you, my focus has been inward on what's most pressing on the home front - keeping everyone mentally engaged and safe in a crazy-ass world. I know you relate.


Kitchen studio with puppy

As a layer of this focus inward, I've started an intensive art program with The Compass Atelier. We meet once per week, conveniently on my day off from work. It's a huge learning opportunity and the structure I need to keep my artistic growth present at a time where my caretaker responsibilities have increased more than I thought possible. We "meet" online and I'm doing my art assignments in my home studio, or the kitchen table when necessary... because... puppy.


I've also been taking weekly online classes with @alyssamonks who's work and artistic approach I greatly admire. Her lessons have complemented the atelier learnings in inspiring ways.


Oh yeah, the day job.... Those of you who know me personally may know that I work as a health communications professional serving a government client that happens to be in the center of our global and national health crisis and lead by non other than Dr. Fauci. So that's been exciting, and challenging, and we can add that to the list of things that keep me busy at home while the kids are EVERYWHERE around me. I'm not sure why it feels like I have lots of kids. I only have two... and a puppy. They are just everywhere I am :).




Glad to have been in touch. Hoping you are taking good care of yourselves.


XOXO,

Jen










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