< Back to All Articles

Art to “Brighten Your Day”

Art to “Brighten Your Day”

It's one simple word to describe how painting makes Laurie Jarrett feel, but it says it all - happy.

Laurie can typically be found in the TECH Art Studio, part of the Adult Life Skills program, though recent events have changed her usual routine.

"I am disappointed when I have to do something else."

Laurie is a prolific artist, often working on at least three project at one time. When inspiration strikes, she puts aside what she's been working on and starts a new project, eventually returning to finish her former projects.

"I kind of get stuck sometimes, but then I rest for a while then go to another one."

While Laurie has always enjoyed creating, her talent blossomed while working alongside TECH Art Coach Julian Stropes.

"Laurie has a great energy. Her work ethic is really high, and she has lots of new ideas all the time. She has a really good idea for detail, like small touches that make it more unique to her. She has a kind of whimsical quality."

Julian may be a fan of Laurie's artistic talent, and as it turns out, she's a fan of his, too.

"I like the way he thinks."

Although Julian's job is to teach others how to produce art, it goes far beyond painting techniques and color theory.

"Art sort of makes your subjective reality objective. It's no longer just yours, it's a form of sharing between tow people--communication that helps people tell their story. I especially like helping clients realize that their art is truly theirs--especially when they've been used to doing things to please others. They can let go and just be themselves."

Laurie agrees. "I'm happy and goofy and let a little of my rottenness come out."

One project Laurie and Julian are proud of is a commissioned piece that pushed Laurie beyond her comfort zone. Laurie has spontaneous creativity and ad libs as she creates; but on this particular project, great precision was needed as the canvas was custom made and the background being mostly white, needed to remain clean for the end product. It being taller than her, posed an additional challenge in that she painted a large portion of it while having it turned on its side. It was a large-scale floral, but she rose to the occasion--and beyond. And what to call it? Well, Julian gives Laurie credit for that creation as well.

"We threw some options around, but Laurie would say, 'No that doesn't sound so happy.' But she lit up and came up with the name 'Brighten Your Day.'"

Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. - Amy Poehler