Thursday, March 27, 2014

Painting The Texture of Tea

Maybe it's the second cup of coffee, the time to myself, or that I truly love painting and I forgot how much I missed it! I just finished my first real painting since I closed up my gallery last year in April, and I'm truly giddy. I missed my lunch, I'm blogging, trying to use up every last second before I have to pick up my son at the sitter's. 

Tea Reflections, Oil on Canvas, 8" x 8", ©2014  Jennie Traill Schaeffer

I've been working on this off and on since last Wednesday; about three or four painting sessions, maybe a total of six hours. This piece was done with a sample set of oils by M. Graham, including only five colors: napthol red, azo yellow, ultramarine blue, phthalocyanine green and titanium white. I loved the consistency and color quality of these oils; buttery, dense, and bound with walnut oil something new I'm trying. I'll touch on this in a future post.

I began this piece with a quick colored pencil drawing, then started applying local color. I gradually built up more local color, thicker paint, and finally the brightest highlights and whites. The part I had the most trouble with was the tea bag. I began trying to replicate all of the highlights and text on the bag (it's a Stash tea bag), but it never seemed to work (my brushes are too thick) and the detail took away from the tea cup. I finally ended up destroying all of the detail on the bag by brushing over it with some of the creamy yellows from the mug. It felt good to make that very committed risk; the outcome is much better. 

Can't wait to share more future paintings with you. But, in the meantime, I'll be submitting this work to the Annual Faculty and Studio Assistant Exhibition in the Sally D. Francisco Gallery from May 31- August 3, 2014 at Peters Valley Craft Center. 

If you're interested in exploring painting tea and its paraphernalia, then consider joining me this summer for a three-day workshop, Painting The Texture of Tea, at Peters Valley in beautiful Sussex County, NJ. You can visit me and get a preview of the upcoming workshop during their annual Bevan's Day Open House on May 4th, where I will be painting throughout the afternoon. Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's been Some Year! A Look Back . . . and Ahead.

I hate to say that it's been more than a year since my last blog post, but heck, I've been a bit busy. Unfortunately with our life in flux last year (selling and moving so quickly, closing my retail gallery and studio in Newton, having a baby, and now adjusting to life with two children) I never made a formal announcement about the birth of Auggie (pictured below). Considering all of our life changes, I've been on an extended maternity leave from my business.

This month I've found a part-time sitter for my youngest - five hours a week -which feels like an eternity of time! So, little by little, I am weaning from my maternity and settling in by painting some new pieces, preparing for an upcoming workshop, teaching some lessons, redesigning my marketing materials, and beginning a web redesign! I will be blogging more in the forthcoming year, but I'm home full-time with a 10-month old and my 5-year old when he is not in pre-k, so at this point I'm not ready to schedule a commitment. 

Here's a brief visual overview of what I've been working on over the past year:

One of the few sketches (Joel watching a movie) I completed prior to giving birth to Auggie.
Living in a temporary apartment for six months, boxes were everywhere.
Most of my art supplies were in storage, inaccessible.

August (Auggie) born May 15th
Joel snuggling with his little brother (summer '13)

Shot of the STUDIO - TraillWorks on the 3rd Floor. I was ready for lessons by the end of September.
We purchased a home in West Orange and moved in at the end of August.

Joel breaking in the studio, making woodblock prints place cards for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Our new home in West Orange during the December snow storms.

Auggie growing up, March 2014

In my next few blog posts I'll share more about some of the art I've managed to squeeze in over the past year, as well as lessons and workshops I've been teaching, and some other shots of my studio. In the meantime, stay in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter, where you'll find me the most. It's great to get back to the studio, and to my art!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Take an Artist Retreat Weekend in Sussex County, NJ

TraillWorks has two fantastic workshops coming up for the month of March. Both are one day workshops taught by teaching artists. These are great opportunities to explore a new medium or hone your skills / approach. And, we're partnering with the local Wooden Duck Bed & Breakfast, to offer you a discounted stay should you sign up for either workshop and want to make a weekend artist retreat out of it. If you reserve a room at the inn, you'll have an opportunity to save 10% on your workshop enrollment at TraillWorks!

Floral Watercolor by Marilyn Rose

The first workshop on Sunday, March 3rd, is Fabulous Flower Watercolors with Marilyn Rose, of West Caldwell, NJ. She is know for her fast and free approach and can be found in plein air events on the East Coast. I met Marilyn when she participated in our Paint Newton event last summer and have exhibited her works at TraillWorks since. She will definitely help you crawl out of your watercolor shell and find a renewed or new love for the medium. 

Woodblock Prints in Progress by Amanda Gordon Miller

The second workshop on Saturday, March 23rd, is Woodblock Printing with Amanda Gordon Miller, of Baltimore Maryland. Amanda and I attended Syracuse University together; she was a very talented painter. We didn't keep in touch, but about two years ago, I found her on Facebook and she has been exhibiting at the gallery since. Her work moved in the direction of printmaking when she had children, as a result of looking for a process she felt she could handle at home. She now is a resident artist in the Howard County Center for the Arts and teaches art and design at two community colleges in Maryland. 

Learn more about both workshops and the Wooden Duck Bed & Breakfast offer at

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Figure Drawing at TraillWorks Ending

It's been a good year and TraillWorks has enjoyed offering artists of Sussex County figure drawing opportunities. After much thought, an attempt to build our audience in January and the impending changes at TraillWorks, we've decided to end figure drawing open studios. 

Thank you to all of the models and artists who have created a great environment in which to draw and develop a community at TraillWorks. 

There are plenty of opportunities over the next couple of months to take advantage of what TraillWorks offers, from lessons, workshops, and exhibits. Stay in touch on our web site or Facebook page for events and news about future plans.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Changing Directions

It is with mixed emotions that I share with you the news of TraillWorks' future. Over the past year, many changes have occurred in my personal life, from getting pregnant to the possibility of relocating our family. After much deliberation, we put our home in Newton for sale two weeks ago, and are now under contract. My husband commutes quite a distance to his job and we've decided to relocate to Maplewood, NJ, to enable a better quality of life for our family. With this decision means my transition from running the retail studio space in Newton, to working in a home studio for awhile once my baby is born in May. 

The past seven years that I have been in business in Newton have been rich with experiences. I have met the most amazing people from very loyal customers, supportive business owners in the community, as well as many talented and special artists, many of whom are now friends. Opening up a retail space and gallery was never my intention or dream, but happened out of the necessity for studio space. What transpired has been truly remarkable. I am very proud of the space and services that I have developed and offer to the community, and will be sad to leave it and all of you. However, I'm very excited about the prospect of spending time with my new baby, more time with Joel and my husband, and getting back to the roots of my business - making my own art!

While this is the end of my involvement in Newton with my studio and gallery, I am embarking on the next step in my artistic career. Who knows where this will lead me, but I know good things are in store. And I do hope to keep in touch with many of you.

During the next few months, I will be informing you of my plans. In the meantime, our current exhibit is ending and what will probably be the final exhibit at TraillWorks, EVOLUTION, will be opening. Lessons are continuing through early April, as well as some workshops. There might be some changes to the schedule as I learn more about the closing date on our home and our moving plans. In the meantime, I have listed the studio and gallery for sale on Craigslist. If you or someone you know is interested in taking over the studio and gallery, I would love to talk to them. I'm looking for a business-minded person with a background in art education and art making. Any serious inquiries can be made via email to

Sunday, December 2, 2012

25 Artful Days at TraillWorks

Jewels Garnet, Fiber and Found Object Collage, 6" x 4" Martha C. Hall
On December 1st we kicked off a holiday gift program on the TraillWorks' Facebook page. From now through December 25th, we're posting a gift idea daily on the page. Most of the gifts stem from our current exhibit, "Good Things, Small Packages," while a few come from TraillWorks in general. 

Cover, 2013 TraillWorks Calendar

Throughout the month, we encourage you to like our page, comment and interact with the ideas we're posting. At the end of each week, the fan with the most interactions during that period will be awarded a complimentary 2013 TraillWorks Calendar featuring the work of ten of our artists. Winners will be announced every Saturday in December on Facebook.

Feel free to share this on Twitter by using the hashtag #25ArtfulDays. We hope you like the selections we've chosen for you - the gallery is full of really unique and meaningful handmade gifts, made by local and regional artists. Enjoy your holiday season and remember the importance of buying local and from artists and artisans.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You're Invited to Dedicate the Mural at St. Joseph's

A portion of the mural, ©2012 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
On August 18th I put the finishing touches of varnish and officially signed the St. Joseph's mural. After a year and a half of work, my biggest project has been completed. Now, I'm excited to announce an official Mural Dedication which is set to take place on October 14th from 1 - 3pm at St. Joseph's Regional School in Newton. 

The school is located at 20 Jefferson Street, but the mural is accessed by alleys on Halsted and Jefferson Street to the rear of the school. St. Joseph's is putting together a HarvestFest to celebrate the mural. They will be hosting a family-friendly event with a bounce house, pumpkin decorating, face painting, music, and carnival games. 

I hope you'll join me in this very special day! Learn more about the event and the mural process in this Sunday's New Jersey Herald - St. Joseph School to dedicate mural at HarvestFest.