Jeanne Bessette

Every year I choose a new word to live by the following year. This year I chose open. (giggle) not sure what I was thinking because everything came flooding in. Experiences to open my thinking, my emotions my journey. Doors opened rapidly and in some cases I became really overwhelmed. But in the end as I reflect, the word could not have been more perfect. I became more open to new ideas and thoughts. I was offered opportunities to open my heart ( this continues) I opened my doors to others to step in and participate. Open…was quite something indeed. From my heart to yours…j1

I’m mostly interested in the essence of life rather than replicating what I’m seeing, which is why I paint in an abstract way and I consider my approach more intuitive than methodical as I am often responding to the last thing I put on the canvas. At some point something magical begins to emerge and I start to see where I need go. I layer and glaze and scratch and draw. I often scribble and scrape my way through to the layers underneath then glaze over and continue on when it is dry. My glazing techniques create a luminosity and depth in my paintings that make you feel like you could step into them. I love the way paint feels so I often paint with my fingers, sponges and rags. Finding paint under my fingernails at a dinner party is not uncommon for me. My friends don’t seem to mind.

I received my first art kit when I was four years old. I remember pretending I was a famous artist and I would hang my creations all over the house, so it
was no surprise to anyone when I was voted most artistic in my high school yearbook. I studied studio painting in college and tried to pursue my passion. However, the idea of painting for a living was somewhat discouraged, and I began to believe these externally implanted doubts from well-meaning people in my life. I went to photography school as a compromise and became a photographer. That seemed more acceptable to everyone including me for a while. As it turned out, that decision morphed into a very profitable career. I went on to own and operate a highly successful photography studio in New England for over a decade, won many awards and gained clients throughout the United States. My photography career was very rewarding, but there was always a small fire inside that was not being fed. So after thirteen years, I retired my camera for profit and picked up a paint brush. This time for real. It felt like home.

Feeling too old for college life, I sought out master teachers who excelled in their field to relearn the tools of my true passion. Soon, I was accepted into
j2numerous juried exhibitions and offered solo shows. My experience as a photographer offers me the skills I need to see light and composition and I enjoy a powerful palette filled with layers and lots of color. I am now enjoying continued success and acceptance by a new clientele as well as the fine art community. I continue to study with some of the best artists in the world as I feel we can never stop growing. It is a journey that will last a lifetime.
I am the luckiest person in the world to be able to paint every day. Don’t let anyone steal your dream.

As each canvas comes alive with color, I crank up the music, layer paint with scraps and medium, then varnish, then paint, then varnish. Up to 10 layers of my own secret glazing formula gives me the depth and translucency I’m looking for.Each wash of varnish becomes a windowpane so the light can come inside the heart of the painting. The whole process is a meditative, jazzy madness with controlled surprises and big body movement and lots of out loud conversation between the paintings and me.
Like when you lose the time driving home from the grocery store – suddenly you are at your destination and you’re not quite sure how you got there. I love that place where I am in a deep sense of connection to that source of our very essence.

That is where the magic is.


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