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Interview with Jessica Lee Findleton

Interview with Jessica Lee Findleton

Sascha Meier of Alexandra Advisory Services shared this recent interview with Jessica Lee Findleton, an artist member of Southern Oregon Artists Resource, in her newsletter email yesterday.

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Thrilled to offer you this spontaneous and relaxed profile of a Southern Oregon solopreneur, mixed media artist and mother of two. It’s a laid-back glimpse into the life of a multi-tasker who walks a path of steadiness, clarity, expression and accomplishment. Exquisite and original. We see her beautifully unique energy and imperfect attitude.

Meet our spirited, charming and charismatic female subject, Jessica Shyama Lee Findleton. Jessica is a mixed media artist, herbalist, nature photographer and garden designer. Her side hustle is green housekeeping for calmer, healthier, eco-friendly homes and air bnbs. I have attended her pop-up art shows and drank cappuccinos next to her installed pieces at local cafes, joined a painting workshop, commissioned her for fabric work – and we share a devotion to gardens.

When did you first feel comfortable saying you’re a professional artist and give us a little background?

In 2015, my art mentor Jean Pierre took me under his wing and offered encouragement to declare my artist path. 6 moons later I had my first official solo exhibit.

I grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the South Fork of the American River in Lotus, California. Since 2015, I’ve been curating art shows in tune with the seasons and elements.  In order to tell my stories, I mix mediums together and combine colors with layers of jewel tones and metallic acrylics. I utilize hand stretched canvas frames and upcycled wood, sourcing ecological materials from nature that give new meaning to my designs. Bringing in personal imagery through paper and fabric collage and unique assemblages to offer depth and texture.

What is your personal philosophy? How do you integrate that philosophy into your life and business?

Persistence and patience go a long way. I keep going no matter what. Fluidity and creativity go hand in hand for me. I find Painting to be forgiving and it allows a full expression. Over time, I have experienced a lot of setbacks, challenges and rejection in the art world.

How do you fit your creative process in around parenting?

It is so tricky as a full-time single parent. Just declaring that creating is essential to my well-being feeds my soul. I often create art side-by-side with my son in the colder months by our wood-stove, or in the summer I’ll bring my projects into the garden.

What is the most bizarre object in your studio?

My son Riley made me a wooden figure and titled it “Husband.” It makes me laugh. He has a cynical expression.

When you start a new piece where do you begin?

A blank canvas invites so much possibility. I tune in and begin with a warm or cool palette. I’m pretty heavy on mixed media, so textures of paper and fabric frame. I inscribe secret poems and paint over them.

What music do you play when making art?

Mostly beach vibes & breezy acoustic. I used to like sad indie songwriters but now I gravitate more towards uplifting tempos.

Describe your morning routine

Rising is always…reaching for water. Hydrating myself and my plants. I like to pick a card from the wild unknown tarot for my alter and journal the morning pages, which is from The Artist’s Way. 15 minutes of brain drain. My to-do lists and answers in the questions are often decided in the process.

Do you meditate?

Yes. After attending Sascha’s mindfulness meditation day retreat, I have been returning to the practice. I mostly enjoy washing dishes. And walking meditation.

If you have windows, what do they look out on?

A bay window plum tree and my backyard garden.

What are you reading at the moment? 

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, by Gary Chapman. And, any wild river guide I can find.

What do you bulk buy the most often?

Tea and herbs.  Brown rice – my kids love it.

What’s the last thing that made you cry?

Low flowing slimy rivers and human trash.

Anything you consume on repeat when you’re working?

I like big jars of tea or lemonade. After I am done working, I appreciate a pot of vegetable soup.

What sort of personal, career or financial sacrifices have you had to make?

Full-time single parenting, homeschooling and working as a housekeeper has really cut into my creative time. It is a huge sacrifice to raise children in this way.

How often do you talk to other artists?

As much as a possible. I love hearing about their process and passions. I find it incredibly supportive as they often have so much insight. I really cherish my dear artist friend Jean Pierre Verdijo who resides in Austin, Texas. His art and voice deeply inspire me.

Have any guilty pleasures?

Buying records. Coffee. Chips.

What would you tell your younger self?

Follow your heart and dreams, not the party. Remember to breathe, let yourself slow down and be grateful for being in between, rather than racing to grow up too fast. There is no rush. Hold your fire close and do not give away your power in trade for approval, it’s not worth it. Stay humble. Stand up for yourself. Don’t tolerate and allow, set boundaries. Listen to your heart – don’t let anyone talk you out of your gut feelings.

Do you have a personal mantra?

Be gentle, wise, and kind. Humble your mind and steady your heart the rest will follow.

Jessica Shyama Lee Findleton. Mother of Solyana Maile, 16 & Riley Finn, 12. She is passionate about sharing art as therapy to children of all ages and offers art workshops and private sessions. Accepting art commissions.   www.jessicaleefindleton.com or Instagram: laceyriverbotanicals

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