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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Real life vs LeeLand.... What's the diffrence?

Hello everyone!
So I am still in sketching mode, I am a little behind on my “sketch a day for 2014”but not by much! However, I have had time to do an actual painting… on actual canvas! (not gonna lie… it felt good) This painting “Again” was inspired by one of Lee’s newer songs of the same title
The background is an actual map that I distressed and mod podged it down on the canvas before painting my image. This painting is a large scale piece… 12” x 36”.  I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. Applying the map & mod podge and waiting to dry bit took a few days…. But the actual painting part only took about 15-20 min. There is still some detail to go back in and do, but it’s finished enough to share with you. I hope you love it, I do!
As always, I am constantly searching for the perfect explanation on why I paint/ sketch what I do. I am constantly asked by people (outside the Lee Fandom)…Do you ever paint anything else? Are you obsessed? What is so special about this guy’s music? And the same worry that I am limiting myself as an artist… but only painting things inspired by Lee DeWyze music.  I’d like to try and explain this again to those that don’t get it. First I will tell you that although I can draw, I don’t nessesarily have the “need” to do it unless I am inspired. Having said that, I have also been asked why I do not draw Owen, or things like that? Don’t THEY inspire you? This is the part that is hard to explain…. I love my family more than anything in the world. I have an amazing husband and son… I love them dearly, they always come first … but it’s different. When I think of them , my heart is filled with love, joy and happiness… the wishy washy love kind. They are my world.
But when I am feeling inspired…. That feels totally different…. When I am listening to music, as soon as I hear Lee’s voice and lyrics… it’s almost like a physical reaction that just comes out of nowhere and hits you. All these ideas just start coming to me, it’s like I can see the songs perfectly through closed eyes and I’m just filled with this excitement that it needs to be brought to life ASAP! This feeling is obviously stirred up while listening to the music, but a lot of times It comes to me in the middle of the night, keeping me awake. Trust me, I have NEVER had this happen to me before, so I am fully aware that it sounds over the top, but that's what happens. I'd probably think the same thing if it weren’t actually happening to me.
Since it is so important to me to find the right words to describe this, I was talking to Sarah Bates, an AMAZING blogger/ Author. She does the “Teaspoon of Happy” articles for HelloGiggles in Sundays. She always just has the perfect words for anything she is trying to explain to you and has been a huge help to me with a lot of things. (I ADORE her!!, she is amazing.. you should go read her work!!!)
You can read some of her work here: http://hellogiggles.com/dream-dream

 So I asked for her advice. I explained to Sarah the point I was trying to get across and she asked me, “Why is it inspiring? It's whatever stirs you deep within - some echo of a shared emotion or truth? Or just an artist that shares your exact wavelength so you hear their voice in super-surround sound. Almost like channeling…” 
Umm.. YES…. To ALL of that! That is EXACTLY what it feels like… it’s weird and I know I’ll never be able to fully explain it...but that's pretty close . Just to prove and echo what she asked me, I think I told this story before but last summer I could not sleep because I could not stop thinking about an idea for 2 paintings. It got so bad that I actually woke up in the middle of the night, sketched my two ideas & wrote out my notes and went back to bed. In the morning, I saw that Lee had tweeted almost around the same time that he could not sleep and was up writing… ooohhh…. queue the Twilight Zone music… Those two paintings were for “Fire Away” (Which I actually gave the original to Lee) and “You don’t know me”.
Last week, Lee was on vacation, so I did a bit of an experiment… I do not know if it was because I know vacation meant he was not writing songs snd creating ,etc… lol.. but I totally went into a creative funk… it was like I could not draw, it was weird, like I had this super power that was taken away… So I spent the week doing sketches of things that were not Lee-related… but ones that have special places in my heart:

1) A portrait of my husband and son: pretty much self explanatory. I love them with all my heart, and capped it off with a song by the Roots. “Lovey love my family”... How fitting ...
2) My cat. Although I am allergic to him…he is a kick ass cat. He thinks he is a dog, he is obsessed with me and I with him… lol… even if you hate cats, trust me… you’d love him….that is him sitting on my sketchbook because he gets jealous
3) “The Drinking Girl” by Edward McCarton- This is a statue that is on display at our local museum. I have been fascinated by it since I was little. No matter what exhibit we are going to see, I always make time to go visit her….
4) Owen on his BMX bike- My son is 6 ½ years old and is a master BMXer. Between his racing and my husband’s racing,that is all we do. We basically live rock star lives with all our travel. Lol…
5) The logo for the Stone Cat Café… my FAVORITE restaurant in the world. Seriously, out of all the nice, expensive and fancy places I’ve ever eaten…. I’ll always choose this tiny, converted old chicken coup. It’s located on Seneca Lake in upstate New York. Not only is the food amazing… it has emotional attachment for me…. It’s a super special place.
 6) my grandmother's house; the house I grew up in. It's the place I always felt the safest in, it's the place I felt the most "me", similar to the state I'm in when I'm bringing Lee's songs to life, and in the words of Miranda Lambert... It's "the house that built me". 
So since I was in this funk last week… I tried to fill that little void with sketching the things I love in real life. Almost trying to keep me grounded, ya know? I'm fully aware that I let the Lee stuff carry me away a bit. It did help though- They are all things that make me smile.  The sketches came out great I thought… they are embodying everything I love in my life…but again, they invoked that gentle loving feeling in my heart… not that spark of pure inspiration that induces the NEED to create…. Does anyone understand what I mean? Have you ever felt like this about something…. I know I said it before, but I just feel like this is what I have to do…like I am meant to do it. It’s not something that I can make a career with (unless of course I can get paid to ONLY paint Lee art) lol… I just feel I have to do it and when I can’t, it makes me sad and anxious.

I told myself I'd not write a book here, but I'll end with this... Mare actually broke it down to the simplest explanation... That makes so much sense ...(duh Jenn,face palm) the reason the Lee inspired art feels do different is because I'm creating them... I'm turning the music, my thoughts , feelings and daydreams Into something you can see also. I'm giving those things life. Those other sketches , of the things that I love more than anything? Those things already exist, they have a visual that I'm merely copying...as she put it (brilliantly I might add) " It's creation vs copying. Concrete versus abstract. Imagination versus still life. The outside world versus what you alone feel." I love my friends , it feels good to know there are people that just "get it" 



  1. Omg! Someone has put into words how I feel!! Jenn, I totally get it, now I can explain itito other people!

  2. Try again, my first comment hasn't come through. I totally get this Jenn. When i first heard this young man's voice i was like WHAT, this guy is something special. So he became my pick. What happened after that was so unlike me.. I started to LOVE music, was never into it before. Now i know what i have been missing out on. I have always wanted to learn piano and Lee has stirred the fire in my belly. Hell i flew 8,000 M to see him LIVE in LA one way! He is special in a whole little package. Love who he stands for and who he is, to top it off he has an amazing voice and is so musically gifted. :) <3

  3. I get it too! With some people/artists, it's like you speak each other's language. You resonate with one another. So cool he owns one of your paintings now. Thanks too for sharing about Sarah May Bates, I like her encouraging tone. I'd never heard of her before now.

    A curious thing...day or so before I read this, while taking a walk I wondered to myself, why am I so into certain people and certain things...the answer came quickly...

    "It's because it stirs up something that inspires you..."

    It made complete sense.Almost the same words Sarah May Bates wrote to you...

    Happy drawing times of grounding and inspiration!