Grace Gulley: When people ask you what you do, how do you respond?
Jess Weymouth: I like to share all aspects of my life, so I usually tell people I'm a part-time server at a local Greek restaurant, a full-time student (studying nearly everything under the moon), a watercolor artist, a proud pet parent, a professional Nintendo player, an avid book reader, and a seaside dweller.
GG: It usually is never so simple as 'I'm an artist' or 'I'm a teacher/pie professional' or what have you! It's nice to get a peek into your many layers. Before I get sidetracked talking Nintendo! How did you get started with your present medium?
JW: To be honest, I just sort of had an old watercolor pan set lying around and decided one day to pick it up and experiment. I've always felt driven towards creativity and DIY projects as young as I can remember. About two years ago I went through a pretty difficult time and felt very comforted when working with watercolor. I had recently moved to my current home by the shore and I would walk down to the beach, look up at the moon, and just feel small in comparison to this vast universe we live in (in the most humbling way). My moonlit midnight sandy walks would give me that bit of hope I needed. I found myself being hummed to sleep each night by the sound of our Mother Ocean and her tides-it quickly occurred to me how relative the sea and moon are to our human emotions. How affected we are as a humanity by the phases of our waning and waxing Mother Moon! And that birthed my ever-constant watercolor moon interest.
GG: That's perfect and honest! Makes me think I need to take up more nighttime moon walks. And let's talk about the crystals. I've never seen anyone doing that, they are wonderful. How did you come to that?
JW: I can be somewhat of a 'mesher'. If I like three types of food, I have them together. I tend to take the things from their separate boxes on the 'shelf' and allow them to make each other more beautiful. My fascination with the moon (and it's healing powers) was in full force and I've been collecting crystals (for their healing purposes) for years, so I thought 'why not capture their powers in one image?' My piece 'Healing Us Through the Moon' started the process and I haven't been able to veer away since. The crystals for me symbolize the growth and healing that our Moon brings through Her steadfast presence, always reminding us of our tiny-sized (but important!) lives.
GG: Well they certainly make perfect mates. You do a great job of bringing out their magical, healing qualities. Curious, do you paint as the muse strikes or are you more disciplined and scheduled with your creative time?
JW: I'm more disciplined. I would like to say that art is my first love, but that wouldn't be true. I find myself most in moments with those I love, in late night walks with my dog, in cooking meals for my loved ones, in delving into a novel and finding myself 25 years back in rural Oregon with the author, and in sharing stories with other human beings on this strange but beautiful human adventure. Art is a great love of mine, and some days I want nothing more than 6 hours straight of painting and creating-other days I force myself to sit at my desk and align my heart with my hands-and bring to life to these images that live inside my head.
GG: Well I would say that is a very well-rounded and healthy approach. There's that stereotype of the obsessive artist, to the point all outside interests are pushed aside. It's great you have many loves and passions! I think it only strengthens your art. As a fellow book lover, I'd love to hear what you are currently reading or any recommendations?
JW: I've recently been into a few faith-based books, as a member of a local church plant here in Long Beach, I've been swapping books recommendations with some folks. I've recently read 'The Irresistible Revolution' by Shane Claiborne and it literally shifted my view of the world around me. He perfectly articulates the message of the Gospel and what it means in our lives as followers! I've also forever been in love with the Poetry works of Andrea Gibson, one of my favorite quotes by her (that's quite honestly gotten me through some painful moments) is 'I have been told sometimes the most healing thing we can do, is remind ourselves over and over, other people feel this too'.
I have many books on planets and moons and lunar cycles (some of which I draw my artistic interest from). I recently finished 'Love Does' by Bob Goff, it's a book filled with short little stories of how he and the people around him have learned to just show up for people, to act instead of think about it, to let your love for others make you do crazy unexpected wonderful things. I've promised to finish 7 books by mid-December, 4 down, 3 to go! Next on my list is 'Of Orcas and Men'- a narrative of our emotional relativity to Killer Whales and what they as a species can teach us as a species! And of course, Harry Potter, always Harry Potter!
GG: Well I believe in you! And let's just start a book club! I want to sift through your book shelves. (Side note: Harry Potter-land in Hollywood, could you be any more excited??) Next question, I'm going to jump back to your art for a second, you've gotten quite the positive feedback and attention/features. How does that feel? Does it influence any future plans you may have for your work?
JW: (YES! Let's totally go to Harry Potter-land please, it's going to be the best!) The positive feedback is wonderful, there have been many days where I didn't feel creating-the vibe just wasn't there-but I felt like I owed it to those who have believed in my to sit at my desk and create what was on my heart (even though maybe I would have rather watched Netflix)-and that process has birthed some of my most loved pieces (not just by others, but loved by myself also).
It all kind of happened, one person posted one nice thing, which turned into three people sharing my work, and daily I'm just reminded of these blessings within this wonderful community of makers, the wonderful community of art sharing pages, and the community directly around me who have been supporting me since my paintings looked like mush! One downside I've noticed in my own life, is my sudden need to feel cohesive and proper with the images I choose to share via Instagram. It's easy to feel trapped into only sharing are-related content-to feel that the rest of your life doesn't carry the same validity as your work.
GG: I am struggling with that same thing right now! I think a lot of artists and brands struggle with this. One day when I have the perfect answer I will share it with everyone! Totally agree though, that positive support that comes with sharing your work is well worth the aforementioned struggle. Okay last question, getting very serious now! If you had to play one Nintendo game for the rest of your days, what would it be??
JW: It's comforting to know that we are both swimming our way through these artistic obstacles together! Oh such a tough question! I recently go the Wii U as an early birthday gift. I'm really loving Yoshi's Wolly World, buuuut I might have to go with my first love, Donkey Kong Country on Super Nintendo.
To see more of Jess's work and follow her visit here.