Hi there! My name is Jen Herman-Russell (IG: @jen.herman.russell); I'm a watercolor artist from California known for the "View From My Easel“ project. I spent an entire year painting every day to build my skill as an artist and find my style. Making sure I documented every step of my progress with photos and film. Not only was it one of the most challenging projects I've ever completed it was also gratifying in so many ways.
When I first started, I had no real direction other than I knew if I practiced, I would see results. In the beginning, l sketched and painted from my old travel photos for inspiration. Picking random subjects to practice hoping I’d see improvement. Instead, I started to notice all sorts of little things to improve on, such as avoiding harsh outlines, smoothing my color blends, establishing a steady light source, and developing more realistic shadows, which are just a few examples.
I realized the best way to move forward was to work on one particular subject or technique for a week, perhaps two. So I started using themes for each week to help me focus. By the end of each week, I noticed a change in how l would approach things. My confidence also improved as I moved on to the next piece.
Halfway through my project, l could look back at my earlier pieces with similar subject matters and see how far I had come. It was such a boost to compare and see the differences. It encouraged me to continue to develop specific techniques.
Although, I think the most exciting part was towards the end, when my fans started pointing out how much they loved my style. That's when it dawned on me that I had done it! I found my place as an artist with my unique voice. I was no longer in the shadow of my father's inspiration. My father passed away in 2005, leaving behind the legacy of an accomplished watercolor artist. He showed me the artist's way and encouraged me to find my path. I want to think he'd be pleased with my accomplishments and proud of my work. I know I finally am.
Even though my project is complete, I'll continue to grow as an artist as there is always more to learn and techniques to improve. Although, I'll be taking a step back to focus more time with my family and build my brand by selling originals and prints from my studio on my website.
I'm also developing an affordable mentorship and coaching program to help other artists discover their potential and style because one of my main goals is to inspire others like you.
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