IN FULL BLOOM
of nature serves as a major inspiration for Sandra Jackoboices
For Sandra Jackoboice, art is all about
sharing. Thats the reason I paint, she says
with a bright smile. I like to be able to share what
I do. The woman who bought my painting of a big yellow hibiscus
told me, I just love to get up in the morning and look
at it. Its so sunny! Thats what I like.
And, typically, thats just the
sort of reaction Jackoboice gets to her work. Whether its
a painting of one of her oversize and incredibly detailed
flowers or a scene from her many travels, her works strike
a chord of recognitionthe sense of getting lost in the
blossom or the feeling of having traveled that particular
road. Although realistic, they are personal enough to evoke
a wonder that holds the eye and speaks to the soul.
Not bad for someone who once thought,
Ill never use my art. As that statement
suggests, Jackoboices artistic path was a winding one
that took her from dreams of being a fashion illustrator to
the board of the International Association of Pastel Societies
and an artist whose works are collected around the world.
Jackoboices first exposure to
art came at an early age, when she would watch her commercial
artist father at work. There was always a drawing table
in the middle of the room, she recalls. I would
sit at his desk and draw. I was about six or seven years old,
and I would draw borders around the papers.
At the same age, Jackoboice was captivated
by the illustrations in childrens books. As she got
older, however, she discovered the Sheena of the Jungle comic
books and found a new love. She started copying the pictures
and dreamt of becoming an illustrator. She pursued her art
through high school and had her very first painting exhibited
at the University of Michigan. Fired up by art by this time,
she decided to pursue a major in art at Michigan State University.
Then reality came calling. I
didnt really like it, Jackoboice says. At
that time, it was all fine art. You got all the basics, but
I didnt like the fine-art aspect. In drawing class,
I was always elongating the people. I dropped out after the
first semester of my second year.
Jackoboice developed an entirely new
focus at that point, that of wife and mother to two children.
She dabbled in art from time to time, devising logos for companies
or painting once in a while, but nothing serious. Then, in
1979, an artist friend came for a visit and noticed a painting
of a swan that Jackoboice had just done as an anniversary
present for her husband. She told me, Youd
better pursue your art. Thats what got me back
to school, Jackoboice says.
Still, she wasnt convinced that
art was her future. Instead, she majored in communications
to build the business shed started to assist companies
in developing more professional images. Art, however, refused
to be ignored. I finished all the required courses but
had some electives to fill, says Jackoboice. So
I went back to the art departmentand I got hooked. I
stayed an extra semester to get a complete minor in art.
Although the art minor got her painting
again, her artistic journey still had some twists in the road.
Two months after graduation, she was hired by the Franciscan
Life Process Center in Lowell, Michigan, and asked to start
some sort of art program. Jackoboice decided to start an artist-in-residence
program, modeled on one shed seen during a trip to Floridas
east coast. The program was a great success and led to other
I had the most wonderful boss,
she says. I would come up with these hare-brained ideas,
and her answer was always, Well, lets try it.
If it doesnt work, we wont do it again.
That relationship lasted until 1999,
when Jackoboice and her husband bought a home in Naples and
decided to spend more time in Florida. The retirement left
her with more time to devote to her own artand she did
so with great enthusiasm.
Like her life, Jackoboices art
reflects her wide-ranging curiosity and willingness to try
things. She works in pastels, acrylics, and a combination
of both. Her subject matter ranges from flowers to people
to landscapes from places she has traveled. The variety is
essential, as she proclaims on one of her artists handouts.
The reason I wrote that,
she says, was because someone once asked, Why
dont you stick to one thing? Well, what if someone
likes one of my pastels but doesnt want glass? I wouldnt
be able to help them.
Instead, Jackoboice might offer to
recreate the piece in acrylic or in pastels and acrylicor
in a new technique shes developed of doing pastels directly
on canvas, alternating layers of pastels and an acrylic fixative.
The new process, she explains, allows her to retain the softness
and immediacy of pastel work but does away with the necessity
for a covering of glass. The work has been quite well
accepted, she says modestly.
That acceptance comes not so much from
the new process as from Jackoboices talent. Her paintings
of children or Buddhist nuns leave viewers feeling they have
come face-to-face with the subject. Her landscapes pulse with
vibrancy; you seem to hear the birds in the distance or the
waves crashing on the shore.
And her flowers are marvels of detail
that beg for contemplation. Save room for the flowers
that are a reminder of beauty in a world of turmoil,
Jackoboice says. I like to get to the heart of them.
Thats exactly what she does,
pulling the viewer right along with her. This is artand
an artistthats definitely in full bloom. And that
is something well worth sharing.
Sandra Jackoboice is a co-founder of
both the Great Lakes Pastel Society and the Southwest Florida
Pastel Society. Her works are displayed at Sweet Art Gallery
and at her studio, both in Naples. For more information, visit
Freelance writer Janina Birtolo
is a frequent contributor to Times of the Islands and RSW
© 2009 Times of the Islands