A few years ago, I ran into Jeanetta Darley when we both frequented the shop run by The Locals. I quickly found out that she was a kind lady with an eye towards art, and in fact, she is an artist. At that time she was serving one of the local churches and did a plethora of tasks for them.
The past few years I have run into Jeanetta in setting such as Arts Fest, Eco Fest, pop up art shops and more. I have had the chance to see her vibrant, colorful artwork of nature including fruits and veggies. You can often find her outside working on her next art project.
Recently, I asked if she would do a Q&A article for Conway Scene. I am delighted to share her answers to my questions today!
How did you get started as a professional artist?
I decided that after 20 years of talking myself out of it, that it was time to just invest in my true calling. I studied art and theatre in college but never had the opportunity to explore it as a career once I got out. I took jobs I felt were safer bets than the art field, but they left me bored and hollow.
What are some challenges you have had with being a professional artist?
Definitely, they all revolve around money. Either just flat out not getting paid or being asked to work for free. This is my job, it’s not a hobby.
What are some things that have been rewarding about being a professional artist?
Seeing people fall in love with your creations and want to give them a place in their lives. Also being abl
e to get up and make things. My brain is constantly thinking of new creations and when I couldn’t act on those ideas it stressed me out. Now I have the opportunity to let the ideas get out of my head and in front of my eyes.
What do you like to do when you are not engaging in art? Hobbies? Passions?
I love hiking and camping. Nature is a big inspiration for my art so I like to be immersed in it from time to time. I love reading although I have to be careful when I start a book because I don’t want to do anything else until it’s finished. I also like to crochet and give lessons at The Twisted Purl here in Conway.
How has your family influenced your art career? Others?
My dad was a maker and artist and my mom could sew anything. They were both very supportive and enabling of my creative endeavors growing up. I had projects all over the house that were just allowed to sit until I finished them. My husband suffers the result of this enabling but he’s terribly supportive of my projects. My kids help me a lot at shows.
What are some lessons you have learned about being a professional artist?
You can’t pay your bills on exposure, so be careful how much time and artwork you give away. Organize! Your space, your time, everything. Obviously, this is something I still struggle with.
Be careful of trends. You’ll be happiest about your work when it’s coming from your heart not just because you are trying to compete with Hobby Lobby’s decor section.
Support your fellow artists. Share what you know about the business of being an artist because that isn’t in the course curriculum for an art major. And encourage the creative spirit in those just starting to explore their inner artist.
What are your favorite art mediums? What do your customers like best?
Drawing is my true passion. I love pen and ink and have recently combined it with watercolors and I am obsessed with the look.
I am always surprised at what people are drawn to at different shows and venues. I think my customers like my attention to detail.
What has unexpectedly impacted your life as a person? As an artist? Epiphanies?
You can’t do everything. If you try you will only succeed in making yourself and others around you unhappy. Let your heart and head work together. Things usually go haywire when one of them always leads.
Make something! Anything! I believe people are unhappy and dissatisfied so much these days because they have removed the act of creating from their lives. We were all made in the image of a Great Creator (whoever you believe he or she to be) so we are all creators.
What is the value that drives you as a person and/or as a business person?
Being honest. Being helpful.
Where do you see your art business in five years?
Still painting and drawing I would hope. I’d love to illustrate a seed catalog or a book on the natural species of Arkansas.
Where can we regularly see your work?
In Conway, you can find original artwork and framed prints at The WunderHaus, Streetside Creperie, and Bledsoe Chiropractic. My cards are available at Brothers Honey and The Twisted Purl. I am also working on some murals for the model train exhibit at the Faulkner County Museum. You can also find original artwork and cards at The Prestonrose Farm & Brewery in Paris, Arkansas. You can always find my cards and prints online through my website www.JeanettaDarley.com or check out my events and see me in person. I post on Instagram and you can see what I am working on by following me @jeanettadarley.
Wrapping it up
We are big fans of supporting local businesses, artisans, and small businesses. As you prepare for Holiday Shopping, a print or piece of artwork from Jeannetta or any of our other artists would make a great gift.