During my K-12 school days there were no visual art classes offered. Since my Father owned a supermarket there was always a good supply of boxes and roll paper for my sisters and I to use. Luckily our Mother was very patient with our creative messes. After H.S. I wanted to go on to college and maybe major in Home Ec. In 1955 my folks and I went to Viterbo College in LaCrosse to tour the various departments. When we walked into the art area my eyes lit up and I told my Dad I wanted to be an art teacher. After that instant decision I never waivered and art became my lifelong career both in teaching and as an artist.
As I learned more about art, it became clear to me how much it could enrich people’s lives. After experience teaching K-12-Adults, I made a decision to focus at the elementary level where all students take art-not to make them all artists, but to help develop an artistic component in their lives.
As with my own art, students were taught to be spontaneous and confident enough to create their art directly with the selected media. We absorbed impressions with our senses from nature, other cultures and artists, personal and peer experiences and meshed them together to give an individual response: an expression. As students were motivated by my art experiences, created for them, I became motivated by their creative responses and those were reflected in my own work.
My early works of art were abstracted compositions based on nature done in oils and acrylics. Things started to change when I took a watercolor class for my final Master’s credits. This class opened a lot of new options which eventually led me into multi-media explorations. One day as I was cropping some watercolors, I picked up a lot of little strips laying by the paper cutter to throw away. It occurred to me they were wonderful gems of useable color and that was the start of cutting and gluing bits and pieces of watercolor and oils together to create collages and of adding textures into them with colored pencil and markers.
Since retiring from teaching, I again became active in the Janesville Art League and became involved in helping plan exciting art trips for members and guests. I also became aware of the unique Permanent Art Collection that has been collected for over 100 years that is housed in the Janesville Woman’s Club and started to review, research and collect data both on the collection and the artists. Many works are currently being restored as a result of the renewed interest.
Since moving to Sheboygan I am continuing to live in the art world and am becoming more involved by being a member of the Sheboygan Visual Artists. The group has many talented artists and being with them is stimulating me to continue to create art.
As I taught and continued to create my own art, I also became aware of many excellent artists locally. It became a mission of mine to support those artists through dialogue, helping them mat/frame their works and buying their art.
The arts have such a value to all of us. I can’t imagine living without being involved in them.
Contact Kay Jelinek at (920)-287-7179