I Am Not A Camera – I See with Both My Eyes & My Heart

Last Rose of Summer – Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

Yesterday, I showed one of my paintings to a group of my writer friends, and one of them said, “But this rose seems to be just floating. Where is the ground and the garden? Where is this rose is growing?”

I responded: “It is all there. You simply have to look carefully, to see it.”

When I was in college, abstract expressionism was still a rage in much of the country.  I love it.  I love looking at good, abstract expressionistic work–like that of Hans Hofman–and I love DOING it.

Red Gerbera Daisies – Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

Painting expressionistically just FEELS good.  Swish, Swipe, Splat!!!! Ah, BRAVURA FEELS good.  When I was painting in total abstraction, it frustrated me that few–if any got my drift, but you see a lot of abstract brushwork in my more realistic paintings today. It is very obvious in my watercolor painting Red Gerberas.

Not long after college, I was in an art show; and I overheard these young boys [about 12-years-old] giggling about my work.  One said” “She might as well paint the whole thing black and call it night.”  That comment caused me to think.  While abstract expressionism is a wonderful cathartic, I am not sure that it actually communicates–at least, it doesn’t communicate to many.  Now, don’t get me wrong; I am not entering the debate as to whether art is responsible for communicating, and I don’t even want to go there. I have given up on the crusade of trying to live up to the ethereal demands of what art, in general, must or must not do. At this point in my life, I am only fusing upn what I want my art to do, and I do want my paintings to convey a message—at least to the few people who will take the time to look carefully.

Boy with Curls – Jacki Kellum Red Chalk Drawing

Several people are intrigued by my red chalk drawings. I recently s”showed Boy with Curls on Facebook, and an old friend and sorority sister said: “You capture so much emotion in the eyes of your subjects! I am captivated!”

Another old friend and sorority sister said: “You really do tell a story with the eyes.”

I responded: ” I don’t really try to make my drawings have those kinds of eyes. That is just the way these types of drawings come out for me. It is what I see with my heart, I guess.”

And with those words, I have begun to explain why my art now is not completely realistic–it is something beyond realism, and it often appears to be less–perhaps only a silhouette. When we first begin to paint, we are often slaves to meaningless detail. In trying to become a mechanical camera, we lose the essence of the subject matter. Long ago, I gave up the notion of being a camera. I could never replicate the realistic reproduction of a machine anyway, but I don’t want to be a machine. I want to be more than a camera. I want to see with both my eyes and my heart.

As Mark Twain has advised us:

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” – Mark Twain

Having taught art for many, many years, my philosophy has been that all art students should learn the technique of making things appear real–and then they should move beyond technique to the actual making of art.  Otherwise, we, as artists, might fall into the sham of abstracting images simply because we cannot draw them.

“All art students should learn the technique of making things appear real–and then they should move beyond technique to the actual making of art.  Otherwise, we, as artists, might fall into the sham of abstracting images simply because we cannot draw them.” –                                   Jacki Kellum

Abstraction is good–it is great.  My digital art is very abstract, and that is one reason that I love doing it.   I provide many clues in my digital art, and I believe that the meaning is not totally obscure.  Yet, I believe that even the digital artist should have a full arsenal of tools–a complete visual vocabulary–so that he/she can pick exactly the correct amount of abstraction or realism that is needed relevant to any situation.

Close-Up Detail of Last Rose of Summer – Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

“Tipani flower skies blazing rapture of color laced tree crowns silhouettes along the ocean diamond necklaced beach…of my heart in fragrance of love spilled by caressing kisses of the sun opening the gates to dive deep through away to horizons with no return…” ― Oksana Rus

Last Rose of Summer Canvas Print – Painting by Jacki Kellum

You can buy art prints of The Last Rose of Winter in my Shop at Fine Art America. The prints are sold either as stretched canvas prints or as paper prints that can be framed or not.

Matted and Framed Print of The Last Rose of Summer – Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

I also love the accessories that we have created, using my Last Rose Painting

Ipone X Case Printed with Jacki Kellum’s Watercolor Painting The Last Rose of Summer – Red Rose

The customers can select whether they want the image to be placed vertically or diagonally on the phone, and it is rather neat to see the types of close-ups and slices of art that are possible, simply by changing the phone’s orientation.

Another Close Up of Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting The Last Rose of Summer

I believe that my spontaneity and my looseness are the most exciting things about my art, and people say that they enjoy the way that I allow my colors and my marks to flow and to juxtapose themselves throughout my images. When you look at my products in different orientations, you begin to see this magical, almost elusive quality about my paintings. When something can be enjoyed simply because of its color and its markings–and not dependent upon the subject matter–the image takes on a rather abstract and almost philosophical nature, and I believe that is what comes across in my painting Last Rose of Winter. Here is a gallery of the Last Rose products that I especially like:

Portable Battery Charger from The Last Rose of Summer

 Last Rose of Winter Throw Pillow

Last Rose of Winter Coffee Mug

Last Rose of Winter Tote Bag

 Zipped Cosmetic Pouch Last Rose of Winter

Weekender Bag Last Rose of Winter

Yoga Mat Last Rose

Shower Curtain Last Rose of Summer