Meet the Artist: Jo Bradney
Jo Bradney is participating in the SOMA Artists Tour on Sunday.
Over the past eight years, the phrase “the first Sunday in June” has become synonymous with the visual arts in South Orange and Maplewood. This is the day reserved for the popular South Orange Maplewood Artists Studio Tour. Newly improved and sporting a new logo, the 2012 tour boasts an expanded website with interactive maps and artist information, and one additional and particularly welcome new feature: this years’ South Orange Maplewood Artists Studio Tour will be free for visitors. Visit the site to plan your tour.
In anticipation of the event, a number of artists were willing to answer questions about their work and what they will be showing on the studio tour this year. Here is an interview with Jo Bradney.
What do you find beneficial about being an artist in the South Orange and Maplewood communities?
SOMA has an amazing network of supportive artists, teachers and art advocates. Each one prepared to share their experiences, knowledge and enthusiasm - each artist is a mini mentor.
When did you start making art?
I took the How to Draw Class at SOMA Adult School in Fall 2001 (when I was 29) and “Oil Painting 101” at Summit Art Center in 2008.
Was there someone (teacher, friend) who initially encouraged you to create?
Barbara Minch and the other artists in The Exhibitors’ Co-op are a constant source of enthusiasm and encouragement. I would not be where I am today without their feedback and support.
How would you describe the artwork that you create?
My small oil paintings share a light-filled, intimate moment, creating a personal window of peace and tranquility. Things I have seen a thousand times, while cleaning the kitchen, preparing dinner or taking out the trash, illuminating what has become familiar and commonplace.
How would you describe your artwork on twitter (140 characters or less)?
Real life, Still life. Oil paintings that capture the extraordinary beauty in ordinary things.
What is the most surprising experience you’ve ever had?
Finding out I could draw at the age of 29 – who knew!
The first time the pleasure of painting spilled out of the studio into my real life - when I noticed the light shining through a red onion skin glowing like stained glass. It was then I realized that, beyond the immediate pleasure of pushing paint around a canvas, I had been practicing a more sustaining joy of appreciating what is under my nose every day.
Chopping an onion has never been the same since.
(NB – do not practice this meditative skill when driving)
What compels you to create?
I want to share those small pockets of serenity that illuminate my daily routine.
Moments of joy, when an accidental juxtaposition of colors and shapes suddenly snaps me awake from the daily grind. When the uncommon beauty in the commonplace finds me, I see the world again with the wonder of a child. And selfishly, I want to find the next surprising nuance of color, compelling texture or arrangement of shapes – a new delight to light up the day.
When do you create your artwork?
Mornings are the best time for me – after a good protein filled breakfast, I can usually work from 9:30am through to a late lunch at 2:30pm. Afternoons are reserved for business: scanning, framing, printing, fulfilling Etsy orders and marketing. Evenings are for updating the website, answering email and blogging, with a nice cup of tea and a sit down.
Jo Bradney was born in London, UK and grew up off the south coast of England in the idyllic much-thatched Isle of Wight, memories of which are still the subject of many of her smaller works. After a fun-filled three years studying ancient history and literature for a BA in Classical Studies from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England’s far north, she married and moved to America in 1996. She came looking for adventure – and found out that she could draw.
Jo has exhibited her award-winning paintings and drawings nationally, as well as in regional solo exhibitions at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park and the JCC in Whippany. Jo keeps her fans and patrons informed about her studio creations through her blog http://bradney.com/joblogs and even more information can be found on her artist page at the Studio Tour SOMA website: http://www.studiotoursoma.org