December's first guest artist, Jenny Manno, is the author of several adult colouring books. She shares her artistic life story with us today. She will certainly put a smile on your face with her quirky characters from her colouring books. But Jenny's work goes beyond the quirky, and you will see an artist with a vivid imagination who can easily move from one medium and style to another.
An artistic family
From a very early age I’ve loved all forms of art, joyously finding myself catching on to a variety of projects quickly.
I was inspired by my mother and grandmother, who happened to be very artistic women. We’d celebrate birthdays and Christmases with art supplies and invested in time together painting, drawing or crafting. As a young person, I was very fortunate to have adults in my life who helped me cultivate the confidence to explore my artistic passions.
A teacher inspires a young artist
In the 6th grade I had an art teacher, Mrs.Goddard, who saw a spark of talent in me. She ultimately took me under her wing, encouraging me to recognize it in myself.
It wasn’t uncommon for Mrs.Goddard to send another student to pull me from class to help with large school art projects. On one of the most memorable occasions she asked me to create a giant paper mache Charlie Brown for the school library. Being one of the taller girls in school I never really felt like I fit in, so when Mrs. Goddard would request my assistance with various art projects I always felt special. I knew at an early age that this was a once in a lifetime experience.
That same year I created my first watercolor piece of a carousel horse and I was in heaven when Michelle Ross, whom I had befriended the year before, purchased it for $5.00! Michelle was the first person to ever purchase a piece from me (we are still close friends to this day).
The watercolor carousel horse eventually caught the eye of the school principal, Ms. Lee, and before I knew it, I had another watercolor request. Upon completion, Ms. Lee not only paid me $5.00, she also framed and hung it in her office. I was absolutely elated!
A career as an artist
These early life experiences became part of my identity, eventually evolving into a career. People turn to me all the time with a variety of creative tasks and with questions about how to make something or what I would use to create xyz.
Throughout life I've been given many opportunities to teach others what I know.
It makes total sense that I am now a teacher professionally. It just fits and is one of the main reasons I created the Next JENeration Art, a safe community on Facebook for all artists.
Anyone with any level of experience is welcome to practice weekly art prompts, share learnings, encourage others and develop their creative passions. I want to not only share my heart, but also my lifetime's worth of experience with others who are searching. I LOVE knowing that I have helped someone.
To purchase merchandise with my art on it, visit my shop at Society6 .
You can also find me on Instagram where you can see what I am creating and posting on a regular basis.