Wow! It is wonderful to have the opportunity to share my Art space once again. I have been able to exhibit my work and interact with people with the Covid mandates in place through Galleries, exhibitions and group shows. This year Art will be displayed outside in our garden and among our trees of the forest. The Pit Fire is quiet for now as we are still in “fire season”, but is open to viewing along with demonstrations in painting with natural pigments, the processes I use, and the exciting advances made with my sculptures. You are welcome to tour the Art, ask questions, and enjoy the atmosphere.
New works stem from the theme “Unmasked: Becoming Visible.” The process of my art is one of being unmasked and becoming visible. I Am an Earth Artist and so I collect, study and prepare minerals from the earth to make paints for my artwork. These ochres are ground, mixed with walnut oil and softened beeswax, and the true colors become visible. Charcoal graces the panel as figures of ancient animals emerge along with signs and symbols of early languages. The ochres refine and define the whispers from the Ancestral winds that the earth has experienced before, a past that belongs to us.
Unmasked are the deeper meanings and mysteries of the Ancients which appear in the images that become visible. As a lifelong artist and my relentless interest in historical roots, digging into the ancient past has led me on an intriguing journey to uncover forgotten times, stories and paths. These mysteries reveal clear intelligence and spiritual practices through their art and signs; these become visible through inspirations that emerge from and into my Art. The signs of the past become the visible signs of now.
Please join me for the the 2nd and 3rd weekends in October for Nevada County’s Open Studio Tour.
Resilience is the ability to recover. We travel through life seemingly alone, but we are like others, thinking we know the self we are. Our ancient ancestors experienced this same road. The appearances of difficult times speak loudly to gain our attentions and intentions as throughout history as we continue to uncover its depth, truth and reality.
So I asked myself, “What do these times tell me about the self I believe to be? What can I do or change within myself first to find resilience and a future?”
Beginning with my individual self is the first step to any needed change. For me it is an awareness of love, a deeper love for my sense of self asking to feel comfort and protection. To share this with others comes through my art; it influences and directs the internal desire. I hold this as the basis of resilience for my attentions and intentions and hope that others may find it, see it and connect in some way. This is where our ability to recover grows. Tracing the resilience of our ancient ancestors has enabled all of us to be here today, to move forward together.
This path as an artist has shown me alternative ways to understanding our original roots through my own ancestral DNA trail, the study of Cave Art and artifacts, and the early knowledge of language expressed in signs and pictographs. Because of my deep interest in historical roots, my digging into the ancient past has led me on an intriguing journey. It began with the early Italian fresco painters. The preparations of minerals into paints, writing in the illuminated style, and gold leaf applications that were used to capture the customs, symbols, and stories of the time. This, then opened my sense of self to another dimension of spiritual perspectives in life as well as the curiosity of our ancestral cave dwellers and sojourners. Together, these speak through my art along with creating an eco-friendly studio, using natural mineral paints and earth friendly products.
Another update is underway during these stay-at-home orders —
The Art council here in Nevada County has asked for photos, videos, or poetry/stories of where you spend most of your time during this “stay at home” policy in California. In my studio, at home is where I spend most of my time…preparing, thinking, creating inspirationally… in paintings, writing and sculpting. Enjoy the journey life sets before you. Enjoy!
I put the challenge out there and YOU have answered! From Coast-to-Coast, street art has been flowing-in as folks all over are taking on the Street-Art-Challenge I put out last month. It’s been such a joy watching all the clips, photos, and videos of your artwork come in over the last month from YOUR STREET to MY STREET, offering such meaningful connection during this strange time. BIG Thank you to all who participated…here’s a compilation of a bit of what I received:
In more news…
Here is a video showing how I begin the process of a painting with mineral paints and gold leaf.
I mix natural minerals from the earth with walnut oil along with softened natural beeswax.
It is applied by using different tools: paintbrush, eco-friendly thinner, palette knife, or rib.
In this painting, handmade and recycled papers are applied with a hand mixed plant based glue and left to dry thoroughly.
The charcoal pencil is used to create a basic sketch of images on the surface.
From here the background and foreground areas are worked with paints to create varying thicknesses of richness in color.
I hope all are well and able to deal with the need for distancing, staying at home, and isolating during this unusual time. From deep cleaning and reorganizing tasks to getting out, but staying close to home, we are all learning a different and much needed grounding to just be — be with your own self and close family members.
Recently I took to the streets! Well, I took my chalks to the road outside our home. I drew a large Ancestral reindeer and a cave bear. Then I laid on the road next to these creations while my husband stood on a ladder and took photos. It was a delight to be in the drawing with the Ancestral animals that inspire my work, and actually become a part of the artwork I’m so used to drawing up from my imagination.
Then, neighbors came by…and they took turns taking photos of the artwork and in some cases, adding their children into the art as if they too were riding an ancient reindeer and a cave bear. What a wonderful change of pace! And a way to share with our neighbors…at a distance of course! So with this new inspiration in mind, I’ve got an invitation for you…
Challenge: From my street to yours — create art with giant chalk drawing and place yourself or family member as part of the scene! Share your photos! I’d love to see what captures the imagination!
Be sure to tag me so I can see: @jenniferruggefineart #somegoodnews #frommyhometoyours #streetart
Working with the guidance of artist, Deborah Bridges, who creates phenomenal figurative sculptures in clay, I have taken up the endeavor to bring the images from my paintings into 3-d.
After many experiments with different clay bodies and mineral test tiles, I am creating these images through the process of pit firing. I dug a small pit into one of our raised beds for easy access. Then I built an enclosed space around this pit with fire bricks, stacking them to keep heat inside but a bit of air to breathe. I collected various materials from our surrounding forests for fuel. I waited for cold rainy days to set-in and prepared the pit along with the bisque clay figurines. I added different layers of combustibles under, around, and over each sculpture to encourage variations in the burn process. The fire was kindled. It burned all day, smoking nicely after I placed a metal cover over the top. It smoked throughout the night into the wee morning hours when only heat from the lower part of the pit still felt warm. Then carefully each figure was removed. Aww, the thrill of it all! Such magic!
Oh how I love to do workshops! I meet so many interesting and enthusiastic people loving art and different art techniques. I love the sharing and connections everyone makes.
Recently I invited a few artist friends over who wanted to learn how to apply gold leaf into artwork. I was looking forward to working with them. Yet I discovered a dynamic that was different from other workshops. In doing these I get a lot of questions, interactions and discussions occurring around my demonstrations.
There was one woman and the rest men in this group. It was so silent, I began to feel nervous. Wow! That was something I didn’t expect! I had to laugh at the situation. My only female artist made a comment that went into answering a question she had for clarification and assurance of the process. During this, one male artist even turned his back, did some more work on his art piece while glancing back over his shoulder so as not to seem too rude. At first it would seem it was just the difference between males and females, but I began to realize it was the artists attending. All the men were accomplished artists. The woman had very little experience painting, let alone, being introduced to gold leaf into an art piece.
Also, the male artists really wanted to get moving along with their art pieces…they knew what they wanted to do. The woman, new to the processes and creatives around her, held her own, one to be admired for her determination to create something different than what she has done before. Altogether, it was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed the varied approaches each applied to their individual pieces and the camaraderie that emerged in the few hours invested in the workshop.
We mostly see Jennifer in supportive roles, cheering on fellow artists, quietly shouting out a cause, always in service to her community.
Still waters run deep, though, and a glimpse into her working life as an artist shows a serious, driven commitment to her work, and a passion for color and technique.
Tell us about your art form and medium, Jennifer.
I use oils on 2D wood surfaces. I collect natural minerals, grinding and mixing them with oil and cold wax then paint onto the canvas covered with different papers and textures. Using pallet knives, brushes, and charcoal pencils I draw and paint.