Be­ing Right Here Right Now

Arabella - - CLAUDE LANGEVIN - writ­ten by Sheila Bla­grave

come to­gether in re­mark­able har­mony in the work of Jen­nifer Sparacino. The B.C. na­tive who lives in Chilli­wack draws on Eastern re­li­gions’ un­der­stand­ings of na­ture as teacher, the in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness of all liv­ing things, and the im­por­tance of be­ing in the mo­ment. “Na­ture,” she says, “takes us as we are and can help bring the mind back to what is right here, right now.” Her cur­rent na­ture paint­ing, though, is a far cry from the con­tem­pla­tive pas­toral or rugged land­scape tra­di­tions, fo­cus­ing in­stead on an­i­mal life. Wild an­i­mals have be­come for her “a way of show­cas­ing the in­tense pres­ence or im­me­di­acy of liv­ing in the mo­ment—they are sim­ply be­ing.” Jen’s fam­ily sup­ported her artis­tic ef­forts through­out her child­hood and through col­lege and beyond, en­cour­ag­ing her to fol­low her dreams. They also pro­vided in their Mis­sion B.C. prop­erty the per­fect set­ting for the de­vel­op­ing young artist. Grow­ing up on a small acreage back­ing a large tract of un­de­vel­oped crown land “formed in me a very deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion and con­nec­tion to the nat­u­ral world,” she says. Now a mom her­self, she is able to con­tinue the twin sup­ports of fam­ily and na­ture. Her stu­dio, near her own home, is in her mother’s base­ment. Three large win­dows, ex­cel­lent light, and built-in babysit­ting make it an ex­cel­lent place to work. In the stu­dio, Jen­nifer sur­rounds her­self with art med­i­tat­ing Bud­dha to re­mind her “to trust life and ‘be here now’.” There is an an­tique arm­chair too for sip­ping tea and con­tem­plat­ing work in progress. From the stu­dio, she has easy ac­cess to the Ved­der River trails with stun­ning views of moun­tains, river, and farm­land.

Lessons Learned

Stud­ies in graphic de­sign and com­mer­cial il­lus­tra­tion at Capi­lano Univer­sity, fol­lowed by work as a graphic de­signer for a news­pa­per and on both Jen’s style and her work­ing ap­proach. Strong com­po­si­tion, care­ful de­sign struc­ture and the ef­fec­tive use of white space are all el­e­ments de­vel­oped in her de­sign back­ground and ev­i­dent in the style of her paint­ings. On the busi­ness end of things, she says: “I think the de­ci­sion to work as a graphic de­signer in a mar­ket­ing set­ting helped me to think more like a mar­keter and de­velop some busi­ness savvy. It helped fur­ther my time man­age­ment skills and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment. I also learned how to be cre­ative un­der pres­sure or how to push through pe­ri­ods of ‘not feel­ing cre­ative’ and get on with my work.” At Capi­lano, she stud­ied un­der Kiff Hol­land who pro­vided a role model both aes­thet­i­cally and pro­fes­sion­ally. It was a se­nior project in which she in­ter­viewed Cana­dian paint­ing le­gend Robert Genn that con­vinced her that not only was it pos­si­ble to be a full­time artist but that this was the path for her. Although her cur­rent sub­jects are not hu­man, Jen keeps her hand in from time to

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