Straight from the Heart: For Liz Jardine, There's No Other Way to Create Art

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"When people meet me, they say that they knew I'd be a happy person from the way they experience my work--and I am!" exclaims artist Liz Jardine.

And she certainly is. Warm, exuberant, vibrant and sincere, the stories of Jardine become more interesting as she talks about her art and her many life experiences.

Growing up in New York, according to Jardine, is the best possible place on the planet for a budding young artist. "Visually, it is the most exciting city on the planet," she says.

Her mother was a docent in an art museum and kept Jardine enrolled in a series of art and dance classes. Her father, also a painter, would take her to a different museum every Sunday. Jardine's earliest art memory was being instructed to blur her eyes in front of a John Singer Sargent canvas so she could begin to see the composition more clearly. She also remembers being amazed by the restored Pompeiian room at the Museum of Natural History in New York.

Asked if she thought she had a natural talent, the artist replied: "I only knew that I loved it and never wanted to do anything else."

Jardine concentrated on textile design and clay forms as an undergraduate student at the State University of New York at Buffalo. It was there that she developed an interest in incorporating fibers into porcelain wall pieces. The resulting series was displayed in an exceptional solo exhibition that was granted to her before her graduation from the university.

After graduation, Jardine began apprenticeships with a graphic design studio and developed skills in advertising art and production techniques. She then became a freelancer and built a strong reputation as a skilled concept illustrator and art director. This work paved her return to watercolors in various genres including florals, landscapes, still life and abstracts. Her love and appreciation for nature inspires her creativity as the beauty and infinite colors of the natural world define her color palette.

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Never experiencing an artist's block, Jardine explains: "I ask the canvas what it wants to be, and then I listen for an answer. My favorite painting is my next painting. If I plan too much, the piece looks stiff, and then no one is happy."

Jardine's collages are transparent imagery, which she creates by using water-based mediums. Many other mediums are used in her work; acrylic with silver leaf and a mix of oil and water-based stains work well together.

Which medium is her favorite? "I primarily work in acrylic on canvas or paper, but lately I've been on different surfaces (metal, Plexi, wooden boxes and rusty steel)," Jardine explains. "I sand the steel, add a coat of gesso and then paint. Designers are being brave and experimental, and I have recently painted a hunk of rusty steel with the image in the middle of the steel."

Jardine feels bliss while creating the work. "My collectors and their appreciation have allowed me to have a fascinating, fulfilling life." Jardine's home and studio are overflowing with collections of her artist friends' works. She believes in supporting living artists and buys work at every show she attends.

Giving back is also an important part of her life. Her studio in San Diego is a welcoming haven for emerging artists. Applications are received and evaluated, but the students who work with Jardine have been chosen because "there is an element of magic about them and their work," she says. Working in her studio loft, the young artists develop a synergy while creating together and learning the business of becoming successful artists. Filling orders, ordering supplies, sending JPEGs and creating images are all parts of the young artists' days. And when they're painting and hit a glitch, they then know it's time to move onto the next one.

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In speaking about her work environment, Jardine says the most important element is the women who assist her. …