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Jes Gordon - An Abstract Expressionist at Heart

Q&A with Artist/Instructor Jes Gordon

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Jes Belkov Gordon and I’m a painter; an intuitive painter. I graduated from the Atlanta College of Art with a BFA in Painting in 1997. After school I went on the study with the IACC, (International Association of Color Consultants/Designers) where we focused on the human response to color. This study was mostly focused on the built environment and I’ve spent about 15 years consulting on color choices for all sorts of applications.

Jes Gordon Image Courtesy of the Artist

In recent years my devotion to liquid color (painting) as visual art instead of design has taken back over my professional life. I had continued to paint and teach art after college but I’d say that I have decided that my life needs to be about Art or bust! So, my family and I have made some choices to lower our expenses so neither my husband (a musician) or I have to make money doing things that don’t fall directly in line with our PASSIONS. Design is not my PASSION. I love painting. I love color. I love teaching. Now that this is what my life is all about, it makes for a really happy me!

“I’m probably an abstract expressionist at heart. But I’m just a happier person… I don’t know if I’d be allowed in the club since I’m not in a tortured state of existence.”

2. Tell us about your studio space at…

I recently moved my studio. I was happy at Sycamore Place in Decatur for about a year and a half. The winter began to really get to me, and the cold was not helping my materials or my state of mind. I really wanted a temperature controlled environment, so my search began.

I am blessed to live at East Lake Commons (a co-housing community). I approached a neighbor and asked if they would be willing to rent me a portion of their basement. He already has a woodshop down there, so it seemed like a possible fit. I’m thrilled to say that they said yes! And now, my studio is literally 25 steps away from my front door!

I love looking out over the woods and the pond and painting to my heart’s content. It is also a ton easier to be there for my 8 year old son. Since he spends most of his time playing outside with his friends, I can get studio time and hubby can get rehearsal time and son can get play time all at the same time. It’s a magical existence!

3. How would you describe your creative process?

Intuitive painting is a practice where you allow yourself to connect to your inner creative source. So that means that I walk up to a blank sheet and communicate with the materials to be guided. Sometimes I will ask the paper what it wants, or the brush what color it needs, or the palette what color needs to be mixed. It’s about finding the joy in the process of creation. Once color has been communicated I use a myriad of techniques to connect with inspiration to make quick decisions about shape and form and line and texture. I look at it like a playground.

Jes Gordon An Abstract Expressionist at Heart Image Courtesy of the Artist

In school we focused on a lot of prep before we paint. I have to say that took out all of the fun for me. I know a lot of artists really enjoy the process of studies and prep before each painting. For me that was like painting with my hands tied behind my back. I NEED to be free! I’m probably an abstract expressionist at heart. But I’m just a happier person… I don’t know if I’d be allowed in the club since I’m not in a tortured state of existence.

4. What are you working on currently?

I have a few series that I keep coming back to… one is about my thyroid. I had my thyroid removed when I was 17. About a year ago I discovered that the images that I kept painting looked like thyroids. I did a little research and saw that I really was intuitively painting a gland that I no longer possess… So I find myself painting thyroids and now I’m drawn to making them as well. Some sculpture may be in my near future.

Jes Gordon An Abstract Expressionist at Heart Image Courtesy of the Artist

I have these floaties that have recently appeared in my work and I’ve become addicted to them as well. I kinda look at them like my creative source spirits. And they just keep appearing. I’m wondering if the thyroids and the floaties will combine… We will just have to wait and see…

Jes Gordon An Abstract Expressionist at Heart Image Courtesy of the Artist

5. What do you hope students will learn in your Intuitive Painting courses?

For me, I hope that the Intuitive Painting students begin to believe strongly in their own creativity. I want them to feel confident about their desire to create art, and that it is a valid practice that deserves their time and attention. I have a lot of students who come to me kinda crushed. I want to build them back up and help them feel like they are worthy.

I think the best thing that I offer is a separation of skill and talent. We can take classes in skill and learn anything if we practice at it. Talent is untouchable. Talent is something we all have access to and no one can take away from us. When a teacher from a class is criticizing your work harshly, they are speaking to your skill. So we should never take that personally. I mean we wouldn’t get mad at or feel attacked by someone for explaining how to use a new computer program that we’ve never used before, would we? For some reason the line between talent and skill has gotten blurred and it is my desire to clarify the difference so my students can go on with their art education without feeling bullied, embarrassed or belittled. And whenever they need a pick-me-up, I hope to offer a safe place for expression.

Jes Gordon An Abstract Expressionist at Heart Image Courtesy of the Artist

6. And your Color Mixology?

My color mixology students are introduced to color in a very practical way. We approach color from the perspective of scientists looking for new color discoveries. The mixology is just that… MIXING! We make a TON of colors and experiment with colors that we buy regularly to colors that seem brand new to us. The idea is that we use the color wheel as a theoretical tool to place over the materials that we are using in order to understand the complexity of how colors respond to one another.

Jes Gordon Color Mixology Image Courtesy of the Artist

Mixology Classes

Follow Jes at her blog Buckets of Color

Written by Jacob Gunter

For questions, more information, or registration please contact the BINDERS Education Office at 404237-6331 ext. 203 or email jacob@bindersart.com.

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