Jannine de Boer: life improves with art

Face by Jannine de Boer

I was a late starter to the world of art. Life had dished out a series of hard times that had left me barely coping. It was suggested to me that art might help me cope with difficulties. Someone told me art could help me express feelings and ground me.

It has taken a long time to be able to get past many personal obstacles. The one constant aspect is that art remains such a large part of my life now.

Artistic influences from generous online artists

I started by learning to draw faces and features but found it disheartening that I couldn’t see improvements. So I  searched the internet and found artists like Tam from Willowing and Suzy Blu. I straight away loved the freedom of their work and the different elements you could use. There was no right or wrong and they encouraged the use of different products for so many different effects.

That was my starting point. However, now Instagram and YouTube provide some of the inspiration I need for my art.  Many artists are generous with their work and offer free tips and even  lessons.

Ideas also come magazines, paper and scrapbook stores to name a few. That is the beauty of mixed media: ideas can come from anywhere, and I just have to have the courage to implement them and push my capabilities.

Different styles for different reasons

At the moment I do different styles of art that I love for different reasons.

My paper girls are deliberately made in an old-fashioned style. Ironically I grew up disliking sewing, but I enjoy adding the fabric and stitching on them for effect. This process allows me to use any beautiful fabric that I like!  This idea came from Debbi Crane and her ‘Mixed Mania’ book.

Most recently, I have started small square collages. Again the idea came from 'Mixed Mania’ with Cheryl Prater, and when I don’t have much time I find this my go to work. I try to do these collages a bit quirky just because they feel good and make me smile.

I still like to do large collages as well, getting my hands in amongst it with paint and ink and paper.

Reusing and recycling for sculptures

In addition to all of the above, I loooooove making sculptures, an idea from Cheryl’s mixed media doll (Mixed Mania book) and @threebeans.0 on Instagram. Many of the elements I add would usually be thrown in the bin. I see different items such as lace, and buttons, and think ‘can I use that’?

I like to add jewels and pretty bits & pieces that I buy from second hand shops. Usually, I let what I feel take over while making the sculpture.  It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, but if that wire looks good in that moment then it stays!

Creating has healing effects for Jannine

Of all the art I create, this is the most healing. I have to make what feels right for me, and sit in that emotion for a bit while I am in a safe place. If the work gets too hard, then I put it aside, and come back to it and work on it in a different way.

Lastly, I enjoy painting girls' faces with Prismacolor pencils. This is probably the one area where I would like to improve in years to come. Unfortunately I still compare my work to so many talented artists

Life has improved a lot with the support of family and friends. Definitely, art has been a mainstay of that personal growth and improvement.

If there is one piece of advice I would say to anyone starting out with art is to try many different things until you find something that works for you. Let things evolve from there.

Maybe there is one art style that you want to do... think about it this way -  the beauty of art is that it is not static. You might start with sculpting or illustrating and end up loving painting with oils or mixed media with collage or acrylic pours...

With art, there are no limits and anything is possible.

Who knows what you are capable of doing? Just give it a chance and try!


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