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February Featured Artist: Jenna Roby

Vibrant, evocative, and wistful are some of the best ways to describe Jenna Roby's pieces. The vivid colors and detailed line-work in her watercolors allow us to experience the restorative power of nature and place, which is *just* what we need through the rest of winter and into spring.

A returning artist, Jenna’s work was featured at Click! a little over two years ago. We feel lucky to have her back as our featured artist for February, and to have her artwork add color and depth to our walls through the next month!

Her current collection features paintings of far off and familiar landscapes, and quieter moments of beauty in the form of florals and the sweetest birds.

The show is available to view virtually or in-person starting at West Seattle Art Walk on February 11 and would be the perfect gift for your Valentine or anyone who could use a bit of peace, calm or a reminder of finding balance through the ups and down of the year. <3

How would you describe what you make?

I create vibrant watercolor paintings. I strive to create paintings that are more unique and colorful than what we see outside with our own eyes.

What have you been up to since the last time you were at Click?

My last show with Click was two years ago. Since then, I have continued to teach twice weekly watercolor classes and grow my business further. As a single mama it can definitely be a struggle to balance everything but I am very grateful to continue to be a full time artist. Since Covid, I have had to move my watercolor classes from in person at Daniel Smith, to now fully online via Zoom. This has been a surprisingly wonderful transition, since more people are able to join every week this way.

Can you tell us about your favorite piece in the current collection?

My favorite painting in the collection would have to be "Balance". It is not only the largest painting (18"x 24"), but it is also the painting with the most meaning behind it. I was recently encouraged by an old friend to try out an older style of painting that I used to do where I begin with a detailed pen sketch, then loosely paint watercolor on top. While painting this, I just kept thinking of the word 'Balance". Finding balance between light and dark, highs and lows of the year, reminiscing on the past and dreaming of the future. Finding beauty in the balance of it all. 

Can you describe your favorite part of the process in your work?

Every painting of mine starts off with a detailed drawing, this is when I do my planning and design the composition of the piece. Once this layer is done, then begins my favorite step, adding the paint. For me, the first layer of painting with watercolor is pure bliss. I allow the paint to run and blur and mix on the paper. It feels so beautiful, chaotic and unpredictable, I love getting lost in that step. From there, I begin to sharpen up details layer by layer. Painting with watercolor really is such a wonderful process!

Do you find that your work processes change with the seasons and if so, how?

No, I do not necessarily change my work with the seasons, I just like to paint whatever I feel drawn to. Sometimes I paint sunflowers in the winter or a tulip in the fall! I would say that my painting subjects are more of a reflection of my mood or what challenges I am facing in my personal life as opposed to what the weather is like outside. 

Has there been a big "oops" moment you've had while creating? If so, what was the result?

I think that with every painting that I create, there is some type of "oops" moment, and I think that is what makes watercolor so unique, the unpredictability of it all. I don’t try to over control the paint, but I allow the water on the paper blend the colors on the paper. So much in life is controlled and calculated, it is a breath of fresh air just simplifying, enjoying the process of painting while it happens, not planning it out ahead of time.

Is there an easter egg in any of your pieces? A detail that you particularly love that others may overlook?

I think one small detail I would love for people to notice is the small black pen outlining in many of the paintings. You really have to step close and give them a good look to see these subtle details. I love the balance of loose, drippy color and the pop of crisp, black detail lines. 

What's the best piece of advice that you've been given or that you would give to other artists?

Stop worrying what will set you apart, what will sell well, what will be 'good' and just simply create. Sit back and relax, enjoy the process of creating. I find that a vast majority of people have a desire to create something, whether its music, crafts, painting etc.. but what sets artists apart from the crowd is that we do not allow the fear of 'not good enough' to hold us back from producing new work daily.

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