Although New Orleans is her hometown, Jeanne Umbdenstock grew up in three different cities and attended seven different schools. Quite the chaotic life, art proved to be a grounding place for her and learning more about how to create art was the only reason she wanted to attend college.
Upon graduating from the University of New Orleans, Jeanne founded her decorative art business: painting murals and faux finishes. She did this for twenty years. She had just been written up in her local newspaper’s exclusive pull-out section in July 2005, when just days later, Hurricane Katrina devastated her home, studio, community, and business.
In the aftermath, there was no decorative art business to go back to. Change was thrown in Jeanne’s face once again. She had been longing to go back to painting on canvas for years. So, she began over again by using one of the rooms in her gutted house as her studio composing her ideas on savaged paper and house paint.
Jeanne’s main themes in her works is about mankind’s relationship with the natural world. Being a city girl, her go-to-place to connect with nature has been New Orleans City Park. If she cannot escape to it physically, she admits that she daydreams about being there or reminisces about the many pastimes she’s had there either strolling by herself or with loved ones.
Presently, Jeanne has been working in her sketchbook, rolling out the red carpet of her imagination about her beloved New Orleans’ City Park. She speaks of how this place is well-pressed into her memory banks as well as into her heart and soul. And that often when she is coming to a completion of a drawing, she will see figures just come thru where she’s already composed a scene. She believes that these are the ghosts of the park’s pastimes. She respects the gift of these given figures by incorporating them as part of her finished artwork.
After one of Jeanne’s exhibits, the gallery owner said a patron recognized the fisherman in her painting and that this fisherman was always there at the park.
In her early works, she won a place in the 2009 Artvoices Magazine’s Top Ten Emerging Contemporary Artist Competition with her painting, “Changing Landscape”. It was exhibited both in New Orleans and in Chicago. Mid-career, she won first place in Poydras Home’s 2013 Competition, with her painting, “Between Esplanade and Bayou St. John”. And soon after, she held two yearly solo exhibits with her projection pieces and paintings at a well known New Orleans Restaurant during New Orleans LUNA FETE
To begin a painting, Jeanne looks through her sketchbook for particular drawings that speak to a theme/idea that she is interested in at the time. Often times she chooses more than just one sketch and conjoins them together as one. Next, she uses tracing paper as an overlay to try different color schematics in colored pencil and then scans the colorized image into her computer to do some editing(playing with values and new color schematics). When she is satisfied with what she sees on the screen, she prints it out to use as a guide for her painting. To paint, She put layers of acrylic on first and then oils. She reserves strategic areas for applications of collected fabrics or a recycled collectible objects that speak of the theme of the painting
Jeanne’s canvases sing with cool Gulf Coast blues, grape purple, and parrot greens, and dance with lemon-ice yellows, hot ice cream pinks, and sunset oranges
Drawing - Jeanne prepares for her paintings by drawing in her sketchbook. She uses a combination of pencils, pastels in gray and black tones, and charcoal. She draws the shape of her canvas that she'd like to work on and then she writes a short narrative some topics or situations that are personal to her at that particular time, as if I was writing in her diary. After writing these down, she casually make a general composition of soft shadings with mid tone gray pastels. On top of those tones Jeanne create shapes that come to mine(most especially of images from N.O. City Park) that she can develop into what she calls “a play of images”. She keeps her mind open to interpret what comes out on the page, allowing her drawings to seemingly create themselves, with the end result that her drawing will still allow for even more developing, if and when she uses it to create a painting.
Digital Projections -
Jeanne’s digital projection pieces appear as virtual moving stained glass on a wall. She choreographs her digitalized images in storyboard mode to move to a musical interlude...(go to the Digital Projection page and CLICK on the white arrow on the art piece to view its trailer)
Below are some detail pics of her paintings and ink drawings ... just CLICK on the ones below (if you would like her to send you detail pics of some of her other artworks, please contact her...She'd be happy to send them !)