Layers Of Color

Entertainer
2013
January

For most true artists, it’s impossible to keep the desire to create completely under wraps. The need for creation and expression just flows from an artist, but it’s not always easy. When the pressure’s on and the creative juices are stifled, many artists take a much needed break to get re-inspired. Sometimes they discover inspiration in another field, where the creative muscles are flexed and the desire to make something wholly new is rerouted. In any case, there’s simply no denying an artist’s impulse... something they discover at a young age and something they’ll never let go.

Jennifer Moreman grew up in Dallas and discovered a passion for art early on. “Ever since I was little, I felt drawn to coloring books,” she recalled. “My mom would give me one, and I would sit there forever and go after it.” Moreman attended a weekly art school called Capers for Kids. At such an early stage, access to materials, instruction and an encouraging atmosphere were crucial. So, when Moreman moved on to junior high, art was her top priority.

“My sister was an art major, too, and my brother enjoyed drawing cartoons,” she said. “So it’s always kind of been in our family. I feel I got it from both my parents, but neither of them did anything with it – they were accounting and science majors.” Moreman attended Baylor University and graduated in 2004, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art. While in Waco, she met her husband, Greg, who was studying at Baylor Law School. 

After graduation, Moreman wanted to take a break from art, full time. “I started working with a non-profit organization because my mom had started a small charity in Carrollton, [TX],” she said. The non-profit endeavor came naturally, and she worked with Goodwill Industries of Dallas as their grant writer. However, she never really left the art world behind. At home, she was still painting, drawing and creating. After five years of saving a bit of reserves while working with non-profits, Moreman began to make her art business a full-time endeavor.

“It’s been a really good adventure,” she said. “It was a lot of late nights at first, trying to get established. I would go to a day job and come home at night to work until midnight or [later].” 

The Moremans moved from the
Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex to Tyler when her husband accepted a job right out of law school at a local firm. “I was still in school when he started working in Tyler,” she explained. “After I graduated, we got engaged and he accepted a job as a prosecutor. Then after we were married, we decided to make our home in Tyler and have been here for almost eight years.” 

The style that Moreman has cultivated is fresh and a unique extension of herself. She layers colors upon colors, building something that can stand alone. “I took a fabric design course at Baylor and it was a lot of painting with dyes on fabric, kind of creating a watercolor effect,” she explained. “So that started it. Then I developed my portraits [from figure classes, which lead to] the animal side of [my work]. People don’t like to buy pictures of random people and hang it in their living room – I’ve learned that. So, I started creating animal portraits; I’m a huge animal lover.” 

Moreman then transitioned from acrylic to her unique watercolor style with a stroke of luck – the kind of luck only talented, creative people seem to have. “It was really hot outside [one day], and I was playing around with some watered-down, acrylic paint,” she remembered. “I started putting it on the canvas in layers and layers and it dried really quickly because [of the heat], and it created a really cool effect. So, I went with that. My abstracts come from me just playing around. When I get bored or frustrated, I paint something abstract and see where it goes.”

The direction Moreman normally takes her art is nature, where her love is evident. She gives each traditional subject a colorful, vibrant, spirited twist. The one animal that’s close to her heart is the longhorn. “My husband actually went to the University of Texas, and that’s how [my love of longhorns] started because he wanted one,” Moreman explained. “I painted him one, then it started. I realized how fun they were to do. You can do so many different things to make them have different expressions. They’re sweet, they’re furry, you can change up their hairstyle. You don’t have to do them [only] in brown. You can do them in hot pink if you want to, purple, red. They have so much character in their eyes. You can play up their expression.” 

Moreman’s passion can be easily seen through her paintings. But it’s the buyers who appreciate and adore the style that propelled her career. 

“Before I had a baby, I played tennis,” she recalled. “That’s the way my business started growing in Tyler, because all the ladies I played tennis with started buying [art] work from me, which is fun. I appreciate their investment in me and my work. I started showing at Caffè Tazza, that was a good way to get myself going in Tyler. It’s been a lot of online [business]. I had a gallery show in Dallas a couple years ago. That went pretty well. [Then came] the online business... you can market yourself online and people buy online.” 

Despite all of the success through her art, Moreman says that her 1-year-old daughter, Heidi, is her biggest accomplishment. She strives to keep family as her center. “I had a really hard pregnancy ... She’s my greatest work of art, I sometimes joke. She’s really sweet and hopefully she will enjoy painting with me one day. I had commissions while I was sick; I was still trying to do some stuff. Right after she was born, I had three people waiting on pieces. So, I just set her in her bouncy seat, and she would paint with me. [Heidi’s] definitely going to grow up around art.”

Moreman ships her work all over the world for customers via Etsy.com. (She has sold to Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, to name a few.) Someone from HGTV reposted one of her chevron paintings on Pinterest, followed by more and more reposts and her artwork’s popularity exploded on the Web. As a result, there are paintings on her Etsy site with over 30,000 views each – all in a single day.

Now that she has international appeal, Moreman is hoping to take her art into more homes. “I’ve been in talks with getting my works in print production for places like Target, Pier One, that sort of place. It’s a slow process, but hopefully something will come out of it. I’m not going to hold my breath because it takes a year or two to get it [finalized] because we have to approve the samples, then we have to order it and all that kind of stuff. It would be nice to see my stuff in Target one day ... Forget having a museum, I want my own wrapping paper!” she said with a grin, and a laugh.

So, next time you purchase a roll of stylish, colorful wrapping paper; take a look at the name on the roll, it could be a Moreman design. That sort of passion and talent won’t be held back, whether it’s experimenting to find new mediums or turning the animal kingdom into technicolor. Her works are available on Etsy.com, and she plans to hold a show later in 2013. In the meantime, you can find her in the studio with Heidi, hard at work.  

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