I want to paint things that are beautiful, but are unseen. It started with NASA’s Hubble images of nebulae and galaxies that are close to us in our own galaxy. Space is immense, and there are many unseen and unreachable galaxies and nebulae. I imagine those. And beyond our universe, we hope for Heaven and Paradise. And on earth there are unseen things such as angels, things deep in the seas, or things we feel but do not see. 

Everywhere there are common shapes, galaxies are usually spirals, the beautiful Nautilus is a lovely spiral, and our DNA is a spiral. They are everywhere, and appeal to me as a common but beautiful form to work with. 

I start with color smeared on a canvas. No shape or form, but softly blurred.  It is a background for the painting, or an underpainting. I use digital software tools in order to capture the light and color I want to achieve.

As I start, I do not have a “finished” vision in mind, but experiment as I paint. When I feel the sense of excitement, I felt looking at Hubble photos, I know that painting is finished. My work is abstract because the nebulae and celestial photographs look abstract even though they are real.

Jeanie Campbell 253 678 9912       

 In Pursuit of Joy, Art is Her Steadfast Companion

Jeanie Campbell’s artistic creations draw from a lifetime of finding joy through visual expression. With mesmerizingly vivid colors and fanciful shapes, her works evoke nature, spirituality, and the cosmos, as well as purely abstract expressions left open for interpretation.
Jeanie discovered her love for creative pursuits during her family’s many relocations throughout her childhood. One of seven children, she often found herself uprooted from town to town, school to school, as the family followed opportunities for her father, a stern church minister serving communities in the Deep South. Like many girls at the time, her mother taught her to sew as matter of practicality. But Jeanie found that sewing stimulated her imagination, and she poured herself into creating doll clothes. Soon, her creations garnered wider attention, and she won a prize for an especially intricate wedding dress. This was the point at which she knew her creative spirit would become an inseparable part of her identity.
Jeanie married in her early 20s, soon directing her focus on raising three children. During these years, consumed by the demands of motherhood and an increasingly difficult marriage, she often found herself suppressing that creative spirit. So, when the last of the three entered school, Jeanie responded to the urging of her muse and joined a community pottery class. Here, she rediscovered her passion for creating beauty with her hands and found renewed confidence in her expressive skills.
Soon after, she began a more serious study of art at University of South Florida, where she learned the limitless freedom of expression through many artforms—sculpture, drawing, drama, printing, and painting. And, in this acclaimed program, with “THERE ARE NO RULES!” plastered on every wall, she expanded her own artistic vision. At the same time, a specific project once again pivoted her life in a new direction. When the teacher assigned a self-portrait, Jeanie poured years of suppressed emotion into the canvas, rendering herself as tense and contorted. The image, a clear expression of raw pain, angered her husband, who tried to destroy it with his bare hands. Suddenly Jeanie saw this destructive outburst as a metaphor for the emotional manipulation that had been wearing on her for years. With this realization, she gained the clarity and confidence to leave the unhealthy marriage behind.
Newly divorced, and with a newly acquired BFA, she began the next chapter of her life as a co-owner of an arts and crafts collective. Despite their limited knowledge of business management, the venture was successful, and the partnership lasted for two years. During this time, Jeanie also began study toward a career in mental health counseling.
After earning her MA, she began work as a counselor, while continuing to create pottery and paint for her own enjoyment. At age 50, ten years following her divorce, she met and married her soulmate Sean, a charming Australian polyglot from the travel industry. They relocated to the Seattle area, where she continued to work as a counselor, while also training as a Critical Incident and Trauma specialist.
Soon, she was tasked with leading a national team to respond to critical incidents. In this capacity, it was Campbell’s job to notify all the team members, quickly relocate them to the impacted area, organize a team meeting, and deliver services on site. Critical incidents included the Oklahoma City Bombing, as well as school and workplace shootings, natural disasters, and large-scale accidents. As a responder, she absorbed the stories of victims, their friends and families, bystanders, and as they retold their experiences to debrief.
To find solace amidst the horrors she heard in this role, she once again turned to art. Creating art pottery helped her calm down and return to normal life. At the same time, NASA’s Hubble Telescope had just begun returning its first images from deep in the cosmos. Intrigued and inspired, Jeanie worked toward matching the displays of color and light with layers of brightly colored glazes. She spent a full year learning which glazes would work in layers.
Unfortunately, a rapid succession of automobile accidents left Jeanie with injuries that would no longer permit her to crouch over clay. Undeterred, she abandoned her kiln and turned to painting. Physical brushes and paint, however, did not provide the shine and depth she held in her mind’s eye. Again, following her muse, she discovered digital painting. With unlimited combinations of light and color, Jeanie soon found she could fully escape in the possibilities, creating a prolific stream of gifts for family and friends.
Although she intended to leave counseling for full-time painting at age 65, Jeanie’s plans were again disrupted, as her beloved Sean developed a series of illnesses that would soon require full-time care. Still, art remained her constant companion as a balm for stress and fatigue. She kept experimenting and learning. Her paintings continued to be inspired by the cosmos, even as she increasingly explored metaphysical elements as well.
Today, through her digital brushes, she ponders all parts of life—nature, space, relationships, history, and life after life. In her visions of Heaven and Paradise, she explores the possibility of passing through space and how beautiful it all must be. As she learns more about nebulae and galaxies and the unimaginable scale of celestial events, she is nudged toward even more abstract compositions without limits. She finds unique joy in painting abstracts of real concepts that cannot be seen, feelings that cannot be concretely expressed.
Considering her two distinctive professional paths, Jeanie finds that counseling and art have much in common: “I helped counseling clients with emotional pain, and I spent much time destressing by creating art. There is a kind of emotional intimacy between a counselor and client, and between an artist and viewer. That connection is necessary for either process to be successful.” Now, following the passing of her husband, she is more fully devoted to creating art. Even though she is no longer employed
in mental health, she continues to offer voluntary counseling for her church community. The combination of therapy and art will continue to be intertwined in her life.
Today, Jeanie has embraced the arts community online. In addition to her own website, she has used social media engagement, and is connected to an artist collective online. Regardless of where or how she finds her audience, Jeanie’s ongoing creative mission is to share a sense of peace and hope that keeps the viewer uplifted. She says, “I want the viewer to bring herself to the painting, and I may entitle it ambiguously to intrigue her to really study it.”
Jeanie Campbell, BFA                                                                                                                                                                                                  JeanieCampbell.com


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