My name is Jessica Wesolek and I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My watercolors are often described as “Disney meets Dali” because I apply a whimsical style to surreal subjects. This style is very non-traditional. It emerged early on, and I can’t change it if I try.
I first was told I was an artist in the second grade when my teacher and my father decided my sawdust bas-relief sculptures of animals were something special. My father was an architect who spent a lot of time on building sites, and had access to lots of sawdust to donate, and my teacher thought it fine that I create art in the back of the room while the rest of the class learned more mundane things like arithmetic. I still can’t balance a checkbook well!
Many years and many media later. I met watercolor, and there was a satisfying click heard out there in the Universe somewhere.
I own a gallery in Santa Fe and sell my paintings and kiln-fired glass work there, but my favorite thing is to “doodlewash” in my art journals – just for the fun of it. Since these books or their pages can never be sold, I sell prints and some greeting cards of those as well. Gotta eat – right?
My favorite subjects are houses and botanicals, but I will paint from imagination too. That’s where the surrealism comes in. I don’t always see things as they are.
I paint in my garden or in my greenhouse. The light is best and the company of quiet living things is inspirational. My dogs (Siberian Huskies), join me there but they know to be quiet and peaceful too. I have at least two fountains going all the time and some wind chimes with deep, haunting tones. it doesn’t get much better than that.
I try every art supply I hear about, and have very strong favorites. Here are some of them . . .
I searched for many years for the perfect journal for my watercolors, and found it finally when Stillman & Birn created the Beta Sketchbook. The paper is heaven and takes anything I throw at it with no complaint. I use the hardcover Beta for daily art journaling, and LOVE the softcover Beta for random sketching (the stuff that is not about my daily life).
I believe in being able to correct mistakes – so I can love my books when I return to peruse them again and again. Since watercolor doesn’t really forgive mistakes, I get it right with a pencil and eraser first – a 3H pencil for light, easily erased lines, and a soft white eraser.
My favorite watercolors are M. Graham because the color intensity and the flow knocked my socks off when I first tried them. They rewet instantly and a little goes a long way.
I squeeze them into the wells of glass watercolor palettes that I make myself. People would really like me to make those for sale, and maybe I will one of these days.
A couple of years ago, because of some international argument, good red sable brushes became impossible to get. I had never used anything else, hated synthetic brushes, and was at a loss.
Then Escoda, my favorite brush company, came to the rescue with a brand new type of synthetic brush that behaved exactly like a high-end red sable (and cost like one too!). The name is Versatil (ver-sa-teal), and they are my forever favorite paintbrush.
So, with all those favorite supplies at hand, I spend hours in a state of joy and peace, watching my watercolor do its own thing while I try to have some input!