Artist shares experiences through paintings

by Mallory Higgins

Illustration artist Jeni Reeves’ work will be on display Feb. 3-25 in Farnham Gallery.

Reeves said her inspiration comes from her own head.

“I look at things broadly,” Reeves said. “I love travel, beautiful scenery and people’s lives. I also love to look at wonderful paintings and work from the early Italian Renaissance.”

Reeves has traveled and lived all around the world.

“I grew up in New York and then went to Italy to study for two years,” Reeves said. “I also married an Englishman, so I lived in London, England, for a while before returning to the States when we had children. My husband got a scientific job in Cedar Rapids, so that’s what brought us to Iowa.”

Reeves’ history with art dates back to when she was a teenager.

“I started exhibiting when I was 15 years old,” Reeves said. “From there I did things like Art in the Park and shows at galleries. I have done about six solo shows, including Simpson and other group shows. My solo shows did not start until I lived in Kenya though.”

Sophomore Jenn Allan viewed Reeves’ work and loved it.

“I thought her work was fabulous,” Allan said. “I’m very impressed with her ability to convey the story lines of children’s books in a successful manner through her art.”

Allan said she loved how colored pencils were used.

“I can’t believe someone could turn colored pencils into something so warm,” Allan said. “It really inspired me to go back to the basics such as colored pencils and markers.”

There were two pieces in particular Allan liked.

“I loved her pieces of a Kenya family and a girl holding a ball of light,” Allan said. “When [Justin Nostrala, associate professor of art] was talking about going to this, I thought he just said it was good to get us to go and fill seats on the 24th, but he was really right this time.”

Allan said she is looking forward to meeting Reeves and hearing her talk.

Junior Andrew Bergman also enjoyed the art.

“I thought her work was very interesting,” Bergman said. “It was cool to see how she constructed work for the children’s books.”

Reeves said it’s difficult to make it as an artist, but one should never give up.

“There are many things that prevent art students from putting themselves out there,” Reeves said. “I suggest that if you are given an opportunity, take it no matter what, even if it takes you a step back. You will learn from it.”