GUEST ARTIST: “Practice, Practice, Practice” by Jenny Tran

Dolphin Watercolor Painting by Jenny Tran

“Practice, practice, practice…” were the three magic words my Papa, Chester Glenn Hawk, would say and it worked in any and every situation. No matter how frustrated, motivated or scared I was, it was all I needed to hear when I wasn’t feeling good enough. And, as an artist, it’s very easy to feel that way. He was the greatest and most creative man I will ever know and the number one reason why I fell in love with art and continue to create it.

When I was eight, I realized just how powerful art was, how much it truly meant to me and how much I needed it. Ms. Thompson, my third grade teacher was another important person to me because she took a genuine interest in me and my art when I was still so young. She supported and encouraged me to “draw it out” whenever words would fail me. I was painfully shy growing up and speaking up in any situation would terrify me. It still does, but whenever I could draw it out, it made all the difference.

Owl Watercolor Painting by Jenny Tran

My name is Jenny. I’m Asian American, born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in printmaking and sculpture. Naturally, I’m a very precise and technical artist. Colors intimidated me and drawing without a ruler was always a scary concept, until I found watercolors. The nature of watercolor allows me to be free. It forces me to think and create organic and loosely. It’s challenging and freeing all at the same time and I love how unpredictable the medium can be and how it can’t be controlled.

I work in a pretty organized chaos which I feel most of us can relate to. I’m not sure what kind of brushes I use, but I have them pictured throughout my Instagram page! I typically go back and fourth with 2 or 3 different sized pointed tip brushes. I’ve had my brushes for years and most of them barely stay on the handle because I leave them soaking in water for way too long.

Panda Watercolor Painting by Jenny Tran

I am currently painting with Reeves and Winsor & Newton Cotman on Canson’s Cold Press watercolor paper that I pick up at my local craft stores. I draw with a mechanical pencil I found on the ground years ago to lightly sketch out my ideas and my ideas evolve from a combination of quick Google searches and memory. As an artist, there are two things in this world that I need.

Number one, great music. I have been listening to the “Dear Evan Hansen” soundtrack on repeat for over a month now, but my other go-to’s are Gavin Degraw, Justin Nozuka or Country. The second thing I need is a dirty, muddy watercolor palette. I think the most beautiful and warmest earth tones are created that way. I connect most to warm and neutral tones so I tend to gravitate towards images with that same color palette.​

Lately I’ve started with very diluted colors that I use to create a rough shape of my subject(s). I then go back by subtly adding more concentrated colors and layers to build shape and form. I think of each layer as if I were to physically sculpt it out of clay. To finish my paintings I like to add and fine tune highlights and details with a white and/or black gel pen or ink and I take photos of my paintings using the camera on my Samsung Note 9.

I’m still finding my style as a watercolorist, but I think it’s natural and important for an artist’s style and process to change. Currently, I am in love with the minimal, fluid and loose watercolor styles that I’m seeing all over Instagram and YouTube. I am so inspired by Charlie and everyone in this watercolor community and in awe of the talent and creativity I see everyday. I am honored to be apart of this amazing group of artists and I pull inspiration from all of it. It’s a frightening and intimidating process to put yourself out there for the entire world to see while at the same time creating an open forum for critiques and criticism, but it’s helped me grow and gain the confidence to keep going, to keep practicing.​

I’m an artist because that is what connects me to the world. It’s become the language I speak and the culture I love. Art allows me to create a world for myself that I can get lost in, it challenges me and motivates me. It’s an expression of my failures, successes, heartbreak, love and everything in between. And, if I didn’t have the people around me to support that, I don’t really know where I would be.

This world needs more art in any and all forms. I don’t think my Papa or Ms. Thompson will really ever know how much of an impact they made in my life, but I hope one day I’m able to make a fraction of a difference for someone else. I want to support, motivate and inspire aspiring artists to follow their art path, to hold on to it, and never let it go. And to always practice, practice, practice.

Jenny Tran

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Miishuangmu 3 years ago

    I love both the blue berries( for the use of colours to create depth) and the cat (for the perspective). Yes agreed with practice makes perfect. 🌹

    • Jenny Mooyman-Beck 3 years ago

      Thank you SO MUCH! That makes me incredibly happy you love them and thank you for taking the time to read my article!! ❤

  2. Mary Roff 3 years ago

    Wonderful paintings and story,Jenny! I especially love your animals. Thank you for sharing!

    • Jenny Mooyman-Beck 3 years ago

      Mary! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article! I am so happy you love my little animals, that means so much! Thank you!!

  3. JA Wilson 3 years ago

    Your work is beautiful! Practice paid off well. I love the blueberries and the pink pig best, but not exclusively, because they are all very pretty.

    • Jenny Mooyman-Beck 3 years ago

      I really loved painting the blueberries and I had so much fun painting the little piglet! Your words mean so much! Thank you for taking your own time to read my article and for your kind words!

  4. Sheila 3 years ago

    Jenny, I LOVE your work. Your use of color and your *looseness* is just what I aspire to achieve. I have told my 5 year old grandson to “practice, practice, practice” since he was a tiny struggling little guy. Now, if I ask him….how do you get better at something…..he tells ME….”practice, practice, practice”. I need to honor my own words. Thank you for sharing your delightful creations with us. 🙂

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Aw! Sheila! I absolutely ADORE this! That is too CUTE! It looks like you’ve got a very smart grandson on your hands and what wise words to live by! This definitely put a smile on my face! Thank you so much for sharing this with me and for your sweet words!!

  5. Ruelha 3 years ago

    just wow!

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Aw! Thank you so much, Ruelha!

      • Ruelha 3 years ago

        your’e welcome Jenny….the paintings are really beautiful

  6. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    Jenny, thanks so much for sharing your story and your art! Practice, practice, practice is what I needed to hear today as I have let non-painting tasks invade too much into my studio time. Some times we need to be reminded of what is so important.

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Karen! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story! Your comment means everything!! And, as much as I try to keep my art separate from life’s distractions I often find myself needing a little reminder of that too!

  7. Sandra Strait 3 years ago

    Hello fellow Portlander! I love your paintings and earth color palette! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Sandra! YAY! Another Portlander! Hello! Thank you so much for reaching out and spending the time to read my journey! It makes me so happy that you love my paintings and palette! I’m loving your artwork and style so much too!

      • Sandra Strait 3 years ago

        Thank you! Are you related to the Trans that run the Columbia Art and Draft Supply store? If so, we may have met, in passing anyway.

        • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

          No, sadly I am not! At least not that I’m aware of! 😀

  8. Lisa 3 years ago

    This is so amazing, Jenny! Thank you for your authenticity in your article and in your work. You seem so relatable and I really appreciate that!! <3 Your work is beautiful and inspiring!!

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Thank you so much, Lisa!! That means the world to me! Thank you for taking the time to read my article!!

  9. Tina 3 years ago

    Jenny you’re story is so compelling and your talent is remarkable. Thank you for inspiring others!

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Tina! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and for your kind words!! It truly means the world!

  10. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 years ago

    Your art is amazing!!!! Thank you for sharing it and your story!!! I agree the world needs more art for sure always!!! 🙂

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Yay, Lisa! 100%!! I am so happy you agree!! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and for your sweet words!!!

  11. Ann 3 years ago

    You had two great mentors. When you have time in your life, I hope you can be a mentor to a young, shy, aspiring artist. Thanks for sharing your wonderful work.

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Ann, thank you so much for reading my story! I hope, one day!! Thank you for that! That seriously touched my heart and made me smile! They were the absolute best and I feel so lucky! I hope, one day!!

  12. Danai Mongkolrat 3 years ago

    Wow! Best composition best paint

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Wow, Danai! Oh my goodness! Thank you so much!!

  13. Tatiana Manukovskaya 3 years ago

    Dear Jenny! I am so glad to meet you here and I was happy to know you, when I joined Doodlewash challenge at the Instagram! I thought: oh, what an artist! Her art is magical and she is so beautiful, like a princess from the fairytale! And then I discovered that you are also very kind, modest, open-hearted! That’s why your art is so beautiful and impressing – because of you and your wonderful personality. And, of course! – because of your diligence and continuous practice! – but they are also the parts of your personality! I wish you to be successful in all of your art endeavours and in whole life!

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Tatiana!!!!!! I get so happy whenever I see your posts and comments! You are the absolute sweetest!!! Thank you soooo much for your genuine kindness and sharing your stunning artwork!! You have an undeniable talent! I am SO thankful that we met here through this art community! It makes me so happy that art has the power to connect people who live on opposite ends of the world together! You are such a bright and beautiful light, thank you for sharing that with all of us!!!

  14. Zertab Quaderi 3 years ago

    Really enjoyed this piece! So true about practicing. Love your art!

    • Jenny Tran 3 years ago

      Thank you, Zertab! I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my piece and for your kind words!! Thank you so much!!

  15. Shannon Frabbiele 3 years ago

    Is there a tutorial for any of these such as the dolphin?

  16. Anita Sinha 3 years ago

    Beautiful animal paintings and an inspiring post!

  17. Slaygirl23 3 years ago

    I don’t have words to express how beautiful it is!!😍😍😍
    May I get your autograph please.

  18. robinwrites 3 years ago

    As a new, sort of self-educating student of art fundamentals, I really loved your story and your works of art. They are so beautiful!

  19. Almas 3 years ago

    Extraordinary paintings!! You’ve got talent!!

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