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Each artist finds inspiration in something different, but for Andrea Jeris, 66, it’s usually color. That’s how she came to paint the autumnal tree on this week’s cover.
“That one is in my very own neighborhood and coming home on a Saturday from breakfast, I stopped the car and started taking pictures of different colors, those bright oranges and golds against the bright, blue sky,” Jeris said. “Color is what excites me, so I just had to stop and take it and then I had to paint it.”
Jeris’ fascination with art started early. “I was doing watercolors in high school. When I was 16, my dad had signed up for a mail-correspondence art course for a hobby for himself,” Jeris said. “In about three months, he lost interest in the course and he gave me all the supplies that came with it, which included a full set of oil paints. That was what started me in oil.”
It wasn’t long before Jeris began experimenting with a variety of mediums.
“I tried every other type of art as well and I loved them all, but if you want to get good at something, you have to stick with it, so I just kept painting,” Jeris said. “When I was in school, that’s what I did — I painted constantly. That’s why I have two bachelor of fine arts degrees. When I was graduating, they said, ‘You have enough art classes to get two degrees!’ No matter what I was taking, I was always taking painting classes.”
Those degrees are both from Eastern Michigan University, but Jeris holds a degree in commercial art from Oakland Community College as well, along with time spent studying fine art advertising in Detroit and plein air painting — painting out of doors — in Palo Alto, California.
Her time spent studying plein air painting has given Jeris an affinity for painting outdoors, but she isn’t a fan of one subject over another — something that she said makes art “more fun” for her.
“For a long, long time I did landscapes and I did life drawings and people. I never did still-lifes, because I thought, ‘Who wants to paint a bowl of fruit?’ And then I saw some online where they were a lot more modern takes on a still-life and I liked that. So, I tried that,” Jeris said. “They say to paint what you love, so I looked outside and I love the birds in my backyard that I see constantly, so I tried painting a bird. I thought, ‘Well that turned out pretty well, I like that.’ And then a couple of cats and I liked that, so I just expanded my subject matter to include just about anything that I like.”
Although she is retired from a career in graphic design, Jeris said she considers her oil painting to be a second career. She is also a big fan of artist Duane Keiser’s concept of daily painting. Jeris said she makes an effort to create something every day.
“You paint small, you paint quick, it’s just very satisfying doing these little works,” Jeris said. “I think you learn a lot by doing them very quickly and doing small works because if you make a mistake, you can just move on to the next one. And you can use these small ones as study to do large ones.”
Although Jeris usually sticks to fairly small canvases, 6-by-6 to 6-by-10 inches or so, she isn’t opposed to doing larger works. And she certainly isn’t planning on stopping her creative output.
“I just took a trip out to the Shiawassee Arts Center with a friend and she was dropping off some artwork and they have these huge fields of sunflowers and we took a lot of pictures out there,” Jeris said. “So right now, I’m working on painting a field of sunflowers.”
To find more of Andrea Jeris’ work, find her gallery at dailypaintworks.com.
Jeris’ work is the last entry in the second year of City Pulse’s Summer of Art program. City Pulse features art on the cover that the artists donate to the Arts Council of Greater Lansing to be auctioned at its annual Holiday Glitter fundraiser in December. The artist receives a 30 percent commission. This year, City Pulse featured 12 covers.