I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. Yes, we should give thanks all year long, but this holiday makes us stop, amid the fast paced lives many of us lead, and be more purposeful about showing others that we’re thankful for them. We all should be so grateful and blessed with where we are in our lives right now. I know it’s not perfect and we deal with trials, challenges, tribulations etc. on a regular basis, but this season reminds us to be thankful and count each and every one of our blessings, no matter how small.
And since Thanksgiving is all about spending time with family and friends, I wanted to share my friend and artist Jenan McClain’s story with you today. Talk about a strong mama and an inspiration…
When did you first realize art was your calling?
I’ve always loved drawing and painting. It was a sacred place I could escape to express emotion, from an early age (9 or 10) I would spend hours sketching and playing with paints. Later, I attended the fine arts center in high school (Greenville SC) and was strongly influenced by Jim Campbell, an incredible artist/professor that initially planted the seeds of intuitive art. He was truly the first person that helped me believe in myself.
It wasn’t until much later in life following a traumatic health experience 3 years ago with my daughter, that painting became as necessary as breathing. I returned to the one place I felt safe, empowered, strong, and channeled all of the emotion into creation on the canvas. The outreach, support, and interest from friends, friends of friends, and local influencers gave me the confidence to start selling and exhibiting. Soon after I built a studio behind our home in Mount Pleasant and decided to really pursue my lifelong dream.
My daughter Isla (3 years healthy now!) is an inspiration and believes nothing is impossible-from solving environmental problems to creating the most outlandish inventions. She sometimes helps title my pieces. Isla constantly reminds me to dream big and is the reason my art flourished in the last few years. Becoming a mother helped me find my voice. Motherhood has a way of shaping and bringing out our truest selves.
How has being a woman influenced your art?
I manifest the maternal in all of my work-marshes as mothers and protectors of the sea, flowers as the divine feminine, and the nude female figure studies with flowering body parts-the maternal-always at the forefront of my heart’s center and subconscious. The center of my work is about feeling whole, secure, and grounded in the ultimate essence of femininity and motherhood
Additionally, I am thankful for the local community of women that have empowered my growth as an artist and helped connect me to influencers, retailers, and designers. It’s truly been a blessing to connect to so many uplifting women!
Who are your artistic influences?
The Impressionistic Masters– Monet, Cezan, Degas, Van Gogh. They paved the way for appreciation outside of realism. Seeing their work in person at the Met brought me to tears. My style is considered abstract Impressionism and most certainly influenced by their work.
Tell us some of your other interests!
I love poetry and draw huge inspiration from Mary Oliver. I dabble in writing and many of my titles come from poems around personal emotional experiences.
Isn’t her work just beautiful? As a way to thank you this holiday season, I’m offering you a chance to win a custom piece of artwork by Jenan. Imagine how amazing that would be to win, just in time for the holidays?? I have the piece above and let’s just say, I’m obsessed! It was a very sentimental piece to her and I still can’t believe she passed it on to me, making it even more special!
To enter, head over to my Instagram page for more details.
Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!