Soaring to Success
Interviews of Artists, Writers, and Photographers
Their work, creative space and techniques
Interview with artist: Jenny Cochran Hall
1. Introduce yourself.. I’m Jenny Cochran Hall, an artist from the small town of New Albany, MS. My first love is painting with acrylic, but I also enjoy mixed media, sculpting, drawing, designing, crafting, and teaching art lessons. I work from my home as an artist full time.
2. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
My mother is an artist. When I was a little girl she stayed home and did all sorts of little projects with me. I’ve always loved art, and it is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do!
3. What are your fears? How have you faced them?
I do mostly commission work. I’m very blessed to have enough commission jobs to stay very busy. However my biggest fear is becoming a slave to my commissions. I don’t want to only ever paint what everyone else thinks would be a good idea. I’m trying to commit more and more time to learning what it is I really want to do so that I can slowly make the transition away from commission-only work days.
4. What makes you different…unique from others?. (see below- I answered these together:)
5. Any secrets to reveal about the tools you use or your techniques? Tips or tricks?
When I am painting what I love, it is bright, colorful, and cheerful. I love to do a little research and include important documents, sheet music, and the “perfect” mixed media elements to make the artwork meaningful. I love to paint portraits using unexpected layers of color that reflect the subject’s personality is some way.
For years my relationship with God has been important to me, however it is only in recent years that I have started thinking about how I can use my artwork and my art business to reflect the hope that is within me. I wish this is something I had started thinking about right from the start, but that simply isn’t the case. Allowing God to shine a light into my art studio is a process I am learning. Lately I have been journaling my prayers and pulling them back out when I am looking for inspiration!
6. What are your goals and inspirations?
I want to grow and change. I will hopefully always be able to work from home, but I want to step back and LOVE more of the pieces that I create. To me, that means spending more time, heart, and soul on each piece of work. Hopefully as I shed the fear of painting things that will never sell, I will begin to grow a body of work that is a truer reflection of myself and I can begin to show in galleries or have my own :-)
7. Where is your creative space or studio?
My “studio” is a small extra bedroom at home. I am so grateful to have a separate room, because it is wonderful sometimes to be able to shut the door and “go back” to all of the other wife and mom hats that I wear. Also that means I never, ever, (seriously never) have to clean it :-)
|Jenny's Art Room|
8.How much time do you devote to your work? (Is it at same time everyday? Are you disciplined to go into your studio at 9:00am every morning? Or do you wait until you are in a creative mood?)
I get up every morning and after taking my son to school I answer emails and respond to commission requests. Then I write my blog post and start the next job on my list. I also set aside time every day to painting whatever inspires me.
NOT!!!! Oh goodness I wish this was the case! Every day is different. I am still learning after two years of working from home how to time-manage, eliminate procrastination, and plan ahead so that I don’t have to make an art supply run every week. It is a very hard thing for this little gypsy spirit to do!
9. What are your “whispers” or callings begging you to do?
I must paint bigger. longer. more intuitively. That means I must get over my fear and TURN DOWN the commission jobs that will cut into the time I need. It also means I have to learn to leverage my time by making prints!
|on her easel in her studio|
10. Do you keep a daily journal or sketchbook, or write in a diary?
I am incredibly scatter-brained. My inability to stay focused is why I started writing my prayers in journal form. Lately I have been turning to them as a source of inspiration!
11. How do you market yourself? How do you plan to get “the word” out there??
Currently I post all of my artwork onto my website/blog.www.JennyHallArt.com I repost these things to Facebook and Pinterest. Most of this artwork is already sold, but that is how I generate new commissions. On the glorious occasion that I have spent a little time “just painting” I also put the artwork on Etsy (www.ety.com/shop/JennyHallArt).
12. What type of music (if any) do you listen to when you create?
When painting portraits I try to listen to something that relates. Otherwise I listen to one of my stations on Pandora. My favorite stations I have created are “Sleepless in Seattle”, “Harry Connick Jr”, “Contemporary Christian”, “Beatles” and “Jenny’s
favorite Christmas songs”.
favorite Christmas songs”.
13. Who is your favorite artist?
Van Gogh. Sorry that is such a cliche response, but I have a genuine affection for those sweeping brushstrokes. My first time in the Moma I cried. After that I have a love for the “unexpected” artist. There is nothing better than discovering someone you’ve known in some other context is a “closet artist.” So many people say “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler” I love to meet the individual that then says “but who wants to draw straight lines anyway?”
14. Are you encouraged to follow your creative path by your family or friends?
Absolutely. My family and friends are behind me every step of the way. When I got married two years ago I was teaching art in public school. It was my sweet hubby who convinced me that I could “take the leap” and pursue an art career.
|A few students enjoying the Art Lessons|
15. How do come up with titles for your work?
Oh I’m supposed to do that? Hm. Well, I spend a little time thinking of blog titles when I post my work, but that’s about it.
|Jenny's Peacock - detail|
16. Do you work on one project at a time ..or have several going on at a time? This depends very much on what I’m working on. When I am working on commissions, I generally work through them linearly. However when I am “just painting” I work on several things at once.
Jenny, Thank you for allowing me to interview you. It was a sincere pleasure to get to know you and your artwork. After looking at your blog, and other sites, I see you're involved in not only your beautiful mixed media artwork, but designing jewelry and teaching some children's art classes as well! You are one motivating and inspiring person! Wishing you nothing but the best to come your way!!! Joan
I owned an art school in Charlotte, NC for 18 years before moving to Jacksonville, FL., so it thrills me when a classroom full of students, given one assignment, produces such a variety of ideas. …We are all unique, we are all special. We all have a different path, a different way of approaching our art. That is exactly why I want to do these interviews, to celebrate what makes us, US! If you are an artist, writer, photographer and would like to be interviewed for a post on my blog, please contact me for consideration! Thank you for participating : ) Joan Carver (e) firstname.lastname@example.org 904-230-6155