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Paint -whether or not you think you can

KIMBERLY NICOLETTIsummit daily news

When Suzanne Jenne signed up for a painting workshop in her mid 30s, she didn’t think she could draw, and she didn’t have much interest in painting; her aunt talked her into it.At the time, Jenne was an executive in the sales and marketing industry, working 80-90 hours a week with more than 200 high-powered clients and receiving outstanding sales performance rewards as a top producer.”(But) I wasn’t very happy,” Jenne said. “I’ve always been a creative person.”The painting workshop transformed her, because it employed left- and right-brain methods to help participants break through blocks and paint quickly. Now she teaches a similar workshop, one version of which she’ll host on April 19 in Breckenridge, where people will use big brushes and structured exercises to create at least a dozen small paintings.”(It’s about) getting it out there and being willing to experiment and try something new,” she said about the workshop.Jenne doesn’t buy into the idea that to be a good painter you must painstakingly perfect your technique.”I like to take the snobbery out of painting. I think it’s good to make it accessible,” she said. “In fact, if you can (paint) it quickly, you’ll be more successful in the long run.”She works in acrylics, painting florals, landscapes, travel and ancient culture themes, mostly because that’s what seems to sell in Colorado. But during her stay at the Tin Shop, she’ll focus on her other love: abstracts. She also likes to work in multimedia: She often takes digital photos of her paintings and tweaks them into a whole new look, and lately she’s turned her attention to transforming found objects into art, because as she pointed out, “You don’t have to have a lot of money to make art.”Her creativity helped her recover from corporate burn out; when she left her last job, she committed to being creative every day for an entire year, be it taking photos, painting from photos or even watching inspiring television shows. She believes art helps people through tough times and is especially important in this economy.”People are really looking for connection to creativity,” she said. “It’s the antidote to modern living (with all the technology and information). People are looking for meaning, for what’s important.”Since the economic downturn, she’s obviously noticed a decrease in art sales, but she’s also seen folks show more interest in flexing their own artistic muscles.”I’ve seen more people willing to learn how to paint or do photography (to) take their minds off the craziness of life,” she said. “I think painting is a wonderful escape. It’s very focusing for me.”She began painting full time in 2003 and makes a living by mostly teaching painting, but also by selling her pieces. She remains motivated when sales are slower by scheduling art days, staying in touch with artistic peers, participating in shows four to five times a year and tuning into nature and contemplating how she can represent a specific sight. In fact, right now, she’s photographing a local mountain several times a day over the course of a year to observe how it changes, both in light and features. She’s also considering writing a book on creativity.But for this month, she said she’s simply grateful to the Town of Breckenridge, the Saddle Rock Society and the Arts District for the time to study and completely focus on her art, as well as connect with locals.


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