Hello everyone, my name is Jiaqi He (Jackie). A Chicago-based artist and owner of PenelopeLovePrints. I was born in Guangzhou, China and moved to the United States when I was 16.
Ever since I was little I have always loved the look of watercolor. I’ve never painted watercolor before and it wasn’t until my last year of high school that I experimented with watercolor. At first, I didn’t know what I was doing, however, I enjoyed expressing myself with it and fell in love with the unpredictability of watercolor. Since it was just an introduction in high school, I was never able to get really far with it.
By the time I enrolled in college, I began painting digitally because it was a “thing” everyone else was doing. Class work revolved around teaching Photoshop and it was naturally something I adapted to. Personally though, It never felt quite “right” when painting digitally; I hadn’t even considered using primarily traditional art mediums at this time.
It wasn’t until four years ago, in 2015, that I started painting watercolor again for my brand. At first, I tried using Photoshop to mimic the effect of watercolor using textures and brushes. It was pretty, efficient, and allowed full control over my art. However, there wasn’t a sense of satisfaction in digital watercolor art compared to painting traditionally with paper and brushes.
Since I am a self-taught watercolor artist, I am still unsure of how to describe my work process. I learned the basics from watching lots of speed painting videos online as well as reading a few watercolor textbooks. For brushes, I have no preference, and use the cheapest watercolor brushes bought on sale, but for paint, I like Holbein and Daniel Smith brands the most. My favorite paper is cold press Fluid watercolor, it comes in a block and I can paint right away. And last but not least, I always add highlights with Dr. Ph Martin’s bleed proof white paint, my all-time favorite white paint.
As an avid food lover, I am passionate about food and I paint a lot of food. A lot of food, like a lot, lot. I love the vibrant colors, the beautiful styling and everything about food –dessert especially fascinates me. One of my hobbies is to go on Pinterest or Instagram to collect all kinds of food photographs and paint them whenever I have time.
I also enjoy adding little animals to my food art. The juxtaposition of a tiny bear sitting on top of a giant piece of cake amuses me, something doesn’t belong together yet they look harmonious with one another.
Since I make my living selling artwork at various conventions, my audience also has an effect on my artwork. I do not take commissions, but I started to be mindful about what kind of subject matter may be more popular among my fans. As a commercial artist, it is always tricky to find the balance between what I want to paint and what people are interested in.
But as I’ve learned over the past few years, the art I am passionately creating will find me the most loyal audience in the end. It is encouraging to know that many people love my art and are inspired by my creations. Every day, it motivates me to learn new things and improve myself. I can’t wait to see how my art will evolve in a couple of years.
Jiaqi He (Jackie)
12 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “My Whimsical Journey” by Jiaqi He”
Love your bright colors and whimsical style! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for liking my works 🙂
Wonderful work! The colours and compositions are so joyful and I enjoy seeing the little creatures interacting with the food or the scene. Really charming work. Thanks for sharing.
Your work is delightful!
I love your whimsical style, especially the animals with food.
Just darling! Follow your heart and you will be happy!
Such charming, fanciful work. I especially enjoy your pieces with the dark backgrounds. The jellyfish are amazing!
Thank you for sharing! Your art is like a ray of sunshine after a gray day 🙂
Jiaqi, I love your animals and whimsical settings. Every piece makes me smile! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us!
Love your style of painting! Thanks for sharing your artistic journey.
I am in love with your work, it makes me happy and uplifted.
I live in uk. Have been wondering if l can purchase the bleed proof white paint for highlights.