Sunday, 4/10/11: Jolie Guillebeau

Thanks to guest writer Sera Stanton for today’s post.

Jolie Guillebeau is as interested in you as much as she is in painting. She told me that she is doing a painting a day right now and trying to focus on faces and getting to know the people she is painting. “I had a teacher that told me to stick to still lifes,” she said, but now she is starting to learn faces. It goes along with her belief that anyone can draw. “It’s all about training your eye,” she told me.

Today Jolie was painting a Mr. Potato Head toy “facing off” against a Happy Apple toy. She wanted to stick to her theme of faces while painting one of her favorite subjects: toys. Jolie paints with oils and tries to touch into nostalgia and the concept of play. She doesn’t want people to think that artists have to be angst-ridden and upset to make art. It was obvious through her perky attitude that she lived true to her beliefs. To stick with the theme of nostalgia, she says that she often puts on shows from the seventies while she paints toys.

To begin her painting, Jolie started out with a layer of burnt umber paint and a value sketch of her still life on top of it. She slowly builds up forms and values with her paint as the piece progresses. A wise artist, Jolie said that when she works at home she sets a time for an hour. After the timer goes off, she takes a break from her work, stretches, and comes back to the painting with fresh eyes. This process helps keep her from burning out on painting and getting too obsessed with a particular part. She told me that she focuses on keeping her paint and edges smooth; she doesn’t want the brush strokes to distract from the image itself. However, in her daily paintings she tries not to focus on smoothness as much as getting the painting down.

For her palette, Jolie likes to stick to warm foregrounds and cool backgrounds with bright colors – such a playful subject matter requires it. Jolie says that she has been using the same color palette for years and is so familiar with where she places her paints that she barely has to look when grabbing a color on her brush.

It is obvious through her stories and through interviewing her that Jolie has lived a full, interesting life. She’s been painting since 2001 and spent a few years teaching in Africa. Now she paints professionally and teaches classes and private lessons. Her charisma is contagious and you can see a lot of it in her website,

Click on thumbnails  for larger pictures.

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