Welcome to My World!

I am an artist–a painter–and my life is about art.  I love beauty, and that ethic colors my whole world view.  There are as many definitions of beauty as there are people, but the basis of mine is the natural world–the infinite variety of shapes, textures, colors and curves.  I love the lush richness of the forest where I live, but even the desert displays its own special beauties.

I am fortunate to live in a place that feeds my soul.  I live, with my husband, two cats, and lots of wildlife, in the Santa Cruz mountains of California on a hilltop where I have views of redwood-covered mountains, and the garden we created.  The landscapes I paint are based on my own photos, which I take up and down the California coast from Sonoma to Big Sur.  Many are beside the ocean in Santa Cruz, which is only half an hour from my home.  There’s a walk/bike path along the cliffs beside the sea that I never tire of.  The colors in the ocean vary with the season and the light, and there’s always something new to see–otters, dolphins, an occasional whale, surfers, sailboats and interesting people.

I’m a native Californian, and have lived in the Santa Cruz mountains since coming back from a 4-year hiatus in Arizona.  While in Arizona, we lived outside of Flagstaff in a forest of pines (long snowy winters!), and worked in Sedona, a high-desert town with spectacular red rock scenery and a large community of artists and galleries.  While there, I painted surreal scenes of animals in Southwest landscapes in the bright, intense colors of the Southwest.  The air is so dry there that objects retain their crisp edges far into the distance, and there’s a clarity one sees only in Southwest light.  I used acrylics, which dry quickly anywhere, but there I could put out only the tiniest dab of paint on the palette at a time, because it would dry almost instantly, and I didn’t like the effect of using drying retardants.

I’ve always been fascinated by the  myths and legends of ancient peoples, and their artistic expressions, and sometimes included petroglyphs in my paintings, copied from those made thousands of years ago by people in the Southwest.  While searching online one night to learn about the history of the horse in Native American culture, I came across the extraordinary images of horses and other animals painted on the walls of caves, ranging from 17,000 to 30,000 years old, near Lascaux and Chauvet, France.  The whimsy and playfulness of the cave paintings of horses inspired my series of paintings of prehistoric horses and other animals.

I enjoyed painting in the Southwest, but on coming back to California, was once again enchanted by this incredibly beautiful environment, and turned to oils to produce the realism of the coast’s moisture-laden air–sea spray, fog and rain, the soft blues and luminous greens.  Visit my online gallery to see the collections I’ve mentioned here, and the other smaller series, Fantasy, the Tang Horse, and Tatters the Cat.

In future posts, I’ll explore various aspects of the art world–other artists and their work, art techniques and art history, as well as my world–work in progress, photos of California, and the art of gardening.  Please leave me your comments!  Thank you for visiting.

 Low Tide Under the Arch, an oil painting of a natural arch in a promontory on the coast at Santa Cruz, California, by Jessica Maring

"Low Tide Under the Arch", 14 x 11, Oil on Canvas

Just north of the Santa Cruz lighthouse on the California coast, this narrow wall of rock with its natural arch juts out into the Monterey Bay.  Late in the day, when the setting sun strikes it, it glows with color and is one of the most beautiful places in my world.


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