#yycLCL August 2021

A photo of sketches made at the Johnston Canyon Upper Water Falls by Jessica Semenoff
Sketches at the Johnston Canyon Upper Water Falls | Photo: Jessica Semenoff

#yycLCL August 2021

This past year has been tragic for so many people, and I can’t help feeling guilty. I, like so many others, was laid off last May. However, this fueled me to focus on my art career. While 2020 was miserable for lots of people, I was thriving (which was why I felt guilty). My art was accepted into exhibitions, I painted a bunch of murals, and even won my first art award!

While creating art and murals, I was hyper-focused on maintaining a consistent “style,” which I have always struggled with. I really enjoy trying new mediums and techniques, which makes choosing a style difficult. I decided that linework was a style I could keep consistent. Linework pet portraits, linework paintings, linework murals, linework everything.

I kind of got lost in the linework, which isn’t even my favourite thing to draw/paint. It came to a point that I wasn’t enjoying art anymore.

I started adding more colourful, abstract backgrounds into my murals (still including linework), which helped a bit. At this time, I wasn’t creating anything for myself. It was all commissioned artwork or murals for companies. I told myself I didn’t have time to create artwork for myself, pushing it to the back of my priority list.

A photo of painting tools sitting on rocks
Tools of the trade | Photo: Jessica Semenoff

One day I decided I wanted to go on a solo hike and paint. Since this was a just-for-fun, paint-in-my-sketchbook trip, there wasn’t a lot of pressure to make it perfect. I wanted an easy hike that wasn’t too lengthy, so I chose Johnston Canyon. I had been before, but not all the way to the ink pots. It was a fun, relaxing day, and I got to enjoy one of my favourite things—nature. I felt more joy creating the tiny sketchbook paintings than I had making anything in a while.

I don’t think I’ve found my artistic voice yet, but I definitely want to enjoy the journey of my practice and create work that excites me. I can see more solo hikes in my future.

Jessica Semenoff is a Calgary-based multidisciplinary artist in the early stages of my career. Born and raised in British Columbia, she grew up surrounded by nature. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and visit her website jessicasartportfolio.com to learn more.

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