Artist Jennifer Steck’s delightful animal paintings are filled with whimsy, joy and humor. Visit her website to see more.
I can pinpoint the moment when I let go of perfection and stepped into my own creative skin. It took many years and lots of exploring to get here.
It’s been an unusual journey, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I served my community and worked with some truly incredible people for thirty-two years as a police officer. Law enforcement gave me the opportunity to contribute, to raise my son and to travel to magical places in the world.
Through the years, creativity played a significant role. It was time to get away from all the stresses of life and just play. I was always in one class or another at the local recreation center, craft store and then, the Art Students League of Denver. I tried a little of everything—stained glass, fiber, drawing, acrylics, oil pastels, woodworking and sculpture.
As I approached the end of my law enforcement career, I set priorities for the next phase. I included travel, volunteering and immersing myself in classes where I could explore my creativity.
I started following favorite artists and had the opportunity to take classes from several of them, including the amazing Ardith Goodwin. Ardith, with her bold colors and distorted portraits, encouraged and inspired me to explore and stretch beyond my self-imposed limitations.
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It was during one of Ardith’s classes that I finally got frustrated with trying to be perfect, threw it all out the window and tried something new. I asked myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” And Art was born. Art is a quirky guy with abstracted features and the funniest orange goatee. I laughed all the way through his creation and in mid-November of 2017, my style was born.
The creative floodgates opened and the animals that I’ve loved all my life started making an appearance. Dogs have been a big part of my journey. I’m not sure what I’d do without my furry family members, including my ornery sixteen-year-old cat, Bubba. My love of travel has always focused on places where I can see the most amazing animals in the wild. No beaches for this girl, unless there are whales in the distance.
I never thought I’d be a full-time working artist, until people began asking to purchase my work. After I got over the initial shock, I took some time to really think about it.
I pushed aside the voice that told me I wasn’t good enough and all those other negative things that come to mind when we are moving outside our comfort zone and jumped in with both feet.
Here I am today, sharing my art with the world, teaching online critter classes and still giggling as I create my paintings. My hope is that my characters and critters will bring a smile to your face and serve as a reminder that we have way more in common than we have different. Hopefully, that gives us a place to build from.
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