Pickett Range, North Cascades National Park, WA
Watercolor & Ink on paper
Jess Greenleaf is an artist and adventurer. Greenleaf & Blueberry was born out of her pursuit of painting on mountain tops, on trains and planes, in tents and on benches. She wanted to take her studio wherever her travels led.
Jess knew she wanted to be an artist from the beginning. In her wee years she was always getting into some sort of creative mess-- from building a bow and arrows out of sticks to hunt behind the old barn, creating epic sandcastles on lake shores, selling colorful drawings off a clothesline in the front yard, teaching her classmates how to knit and make flower chains on the playground, or sculpting little animals out of the wet clay deposits in the schoolyard, she was always making something-- art and messes.
She has experimented in every medium she can get her hands onto: metalsmithing, silk painting, sculpture, wood and metal fabrication, drawing, painting in acrylics, oil, watercolor, and encaustics, mural painting, hand-drafting, mold-making, papier-mâché, pysanky, stage make-up, knitting, crochet, quilting, printmaking, carving, weaving, wildcraft, and many more.
She sought and earned a tailor-made degree with a BFA in Art History which required a concentration in Stuido Courses, and extended her coursework to live, travel, and continue studying Art History in Italy, France, and Switzerland. She has worked as an apprentice with several professional artists specializing in different mediums and continued to pursue her studies in art materials research through independent workshops and courses taught by experts in the field. She has also worked professionally in the art supply industry, as a gallery director, and has exhibited her artwork in a variety of shows in different galleries.
Jess began making paint as a derivative of her studio practice of creating everything from scratch. She enjoys building her own frames, stretching her own canvas, and priming her own supports. She prefers working everything from the ground up and believes that doing so provides both a deeper understanding of materials and a more significant appreciation of the process while increasing the overall quality and integrity of the final work of art.
Her pursuit of oil painting was sidetracked by the portability and simplicity of watercolors. She was regularly climbing, hiking, or camping in the mountains and a more portable palette proved impossible to resist. As she continued her work in watercolors, she discovered the beauty of natural pigments and the intrigue of historical palettes. After scouring the market for high-quality pure paints in very specific colors and coming up empty-handed, she began working to make the paints she sought but could not find. Very slowly, color-by-color, a new palette began to take shape...
Now, many years, tons of research, and thousands of batches of paint later, Jess paints exclusively with colors she and her husband Matt make by hand in their private professional studio.