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Style El Dorado County Foothills

Gold Country Artist Jann Noddin

08/29/2017 03:42PM ● By Heather Becker

Bay Area native Jann Noddin received her first art kit when she was seven years old, and has been painting ever since. After high school, she earned a bachelor’s degree in art with an emphasis in printmaking at San Francisco State University and worked as a professional photographer and printmaker for a number of years before obtaining her master’s in clinical psychology—eventually becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist. She then went to law school and practiced for over 20 years, only to return to her first love of painting. Noddin now uses her unique skill set to produce lively pet portraits, landscapes and local scenes with saturated color and simplified shapes, which she proudly showcases at the Gold Country Artists’ Gallery. After relocating to Pollock Pines, Noddin was pleasantly surprised by the area’s burgeoning art scene and has formed invaluable bonds with other artists. “It’s important to have a strong community of fellow artists,” she shares. “The work of creating can be so isolating.”

HLB: What draws you to impressionism?

JN: The use of complementary colors, bold brushstrokes and flattened forms. Impressionists mastered the gesture—the impression of something without having to fully articulate it—which gave space for the viewer to interpret the image [and] actively engage them. They captured moments of ordinary people in natural settings, like working in the fields (Van Gogh), dancing (Degas), enjoying a picnic (Monet) or bathing a child (Cassatt); and rejected the linear perspective in their approach to space, [thus creating] a more personal, emotional space. All of this has influenced my approach to art.

HLB: What defines success to you, in terms of your work? 

JN: When I began painting full-time, I allowed myself to paint poorly. My only goal was that I completed an image, for better or worse. I struggled at first, and chose simple images to work from. I found I enjoyed painting pet portraits, and was pleasantly surprised that they turned out pretty good. After, I expanded into plein air—painting landscapes quickly and loosely—[but that] was difficult, so I returned to photographing nature and to the studio. I feel I’ve been successful when the piece I’m working on has the energy and emotion I’m trying to convey. 

HLB: How do you overcome setbacks?

JN: I confront my inner critic and tell her to get the heck out! Even then, sometimes I get so wrapped up in my work I get too picky and end up overworking a piece. That’s my worst enemy, as I’m working on loosening it up, making a break from the details and concentrating on the broad strokes, simplified shapes, and editing details to mere gestures. This past January, I lost my beloved dog, Cherie, and couldn’t paint for months. I was also busy moving, but once [established], I set up my studio and got back to work. The first piece I worked on was a painting I started 30 years ago, Mazatlan Marketplace, but never finished, because I found it too difficult. I’d packed the canvas around with all my moves, and this time tasked myself with completing it. I did, and am proud of how it turned out. The beauty of painting every day is you can’t help but improve.

By Heather L. Becker // Artwork photos courtesy of artist. Artist photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

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