Photographer spotlight: Jennifer Dean

Thank you for making the grand opening of the Pagosa Artisan’s Co-op a success. Many of our 30 plus artists and craftsmen were on hand to visit with you. The Chambers of Commerce was also there for the ribbon cutting.

Mark your calendars for the following exciting event: the co-op is sponsoring a Community Art Contest, beginning Jan. 1. Details will be in next week’s Artisan article.

Classes for oil painting, watercolor and acrylic are available. These classes are taught by Betty Slade, artist and teacher. Call 264-2824 for more information.

Artist in the Spotlight

Jennifer Dean: photographer.

This young, sensitive college student has developed skills beyond her years. Jennifer calls herself an introvert and loves the outdoors, hiking, camping and fishing, and always has her camera with her.

As I interviewed Jennifer I recognized how especially kind and gracious she is. I sensed a real gratitude in her towards those who have supported her and encouraged her to pursue the talent that comes so natural. She is very aware of the things that come to her naturally and knows it is a gift from God.

Jennifer Dean has an eye for looking and observing unique and unusual things.

“Just walking in the woods, I am always seeing things, always looking at everything as a composition with or without a camera,” she said. “I tend to capture nature in close up shots.

“I have a lot of compassion for people. I read people easily, I seem to have insight in people, I can read between the lines. It is important to be able to do this, when you are shooting people you need to know how they feel, be sensitive to what they are thinking.

“I received my associate’s for fine arts in photography from Casper College in Wyoming. My college professor has been very supportive, always encouraging me to try new techniques and alternative processes. He always says there’s not just one right way, but many ways at looking at things. He has opened me to new ideas.”

The co-op has an unusual agreement with Jennifer and her mother, Kay Dean. Jennifer is in Colorado Springs and Kay works her hours at the co-op and supports the things that are required of Jennifer at the co-op. I asked Jennifer about this. She replied, “My mother is amazing. She makes everything good. I appreciate her so much. My Dad is someone I can always go to and talk to when I am going through things. My parents are wonderful, they bought my first camera when I was nine or ten. They have always supported me.

“Ansel Adams is my favorite photographer. He is amazing at shooting details and I love his black and white landscapes. He photographed all the National Parks, showing how important they are. He was shooting before color.”

Jennifer has a bright future ahead of her and her desire is to have her own studio and gallery one day.

Jennifer reinforces in me the importance of supporting the young artists who have that natural bent. Not everyone has been so blessed as Jennifer with the support she has been given. It is a pleasure interviewing this young photographer. Drop by the co-op and see Jennifer’s work.

Life in the Artist Lane

The first inkling I had of an artist being difficult to live with was when my Albuquerque gallery sponsored the Albuquerque Artist Guild and I asked the husband of an artist to speak on how it was to live with an artist. I thought it would be fun. His opening statement was, “It’s horrible.”

It’s horrible? My mind was racing. What in the world was he talking about? His wife was fun, energetic, always up for an artist field day. Grant it, she was a little eccentric wearing a different color hat with every outfit, but that made her spontaneous and alive. After all, would he be standing here talking to us without her? Of course not, he needs her for his social life. He wouldn’t have a life without her.

He proceeded, “I do all my wife’s framing, I carry framed art in and out of galleries and art shows and I have to attend all her receptions and hobnob with artists, but I love her.”

Hang around artists? That doesn’t sound too bad, I thought. But I love her, sounds like a life sentence.

Later, I asked a writer’s husband what he thought about being married to a woman who had written over 60 published books and while he vacationed in Hawaii she was there sitting at the computer with a deadline of writing one book a month. He laughed as he told me his tale of woe. “I carry boxes of books into bookstores and carry them out. I drive the bus from one book signing to another, I do all her research when she starts a new book and I edit her work. I can’t talk to her when she is writing because I might break her train of thought.”

Hey! You got a trip to Hawaii, that’s not too shabby.

So I asked my Al what his take was on living with an artist. Well, he didn’t hesitate to tell me. “I can’t understand how you can put months into a project and then scrap it, or you will have a beautiful painting and you will take white paint and make marks across it. An artist is up and down, off and on. It’s always something new. You won’t answer me when I ask you something. You are in your own world, but I love you.”

Here we go again, “but I love you.”

I consoled myself. I can’t help that inspiration knows no night or day. When the mood hits, I’ve got to jump out of bed no matter what the hour is or I’ll lose a brilliant idea. I must get it on canvas or I must get to the computer. I am motivated by ideas and new projects. It’s just the way I am.

With all my projects and inventory and my artist friends, we have acquired a second house next door to our home for my studio and gallery and to entertain artists and writers.

And my artist friends all love Al. I think he has it pretty good. After all would he have such an exciting life without me? I think not!

So, when you drive down the Lower Blanco in the middle of the night and you see a light on at my place, I am probably chasing that next great idea with a brush in my hand, paint on my night gown and a cup of decaf in my hand, or I’m at the computer writing an article for next weeks newspaper.

With circles and blood shot eyes, my Al has hung in there for 48 years and love has prevailed.

Quote for the week

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” — Edgar Degas.

Photo courtesy Betty Slade
You can see the work of photographer Jennifer Dean at the Pagosa Artisans Co-op.