A paint-by-number kit of The Last Supper—that’s the first thing Anderson Artists Guild member Jeannine Holmes remembers painting as a child. “But I didn’t like the way everything had edges,” she said. “Nothing blended.”
Over the years, she has gradually moved as far away from “paint by number” as possible. She used to draw and paint, mostly from photographs, and sold a lot of commissioned animal portraits. In the 1960s in Los Angeles, she hawked her pieces rain or shine each weekend at an outdoor flea market for artists. Nowadays, inspiration comes from inside her head. An example is Beginning of the Third Day (the waterfall pictured above). “I started from scratch at the top,” she said. “I started doing mountains. It was all from imagination. I wasn’t looking at anything, and I haven’t seen anything like that. Then I threw a waterfall right through it.”
Holmes works primarily in acrylics and considers herself a realist. “I just like beauty,” she said. “Anything attractive, comfortable to look at, pleasing.” She admires Andrew Wyeth, John Sargent, and Rembrandt and has learned from Jerry Yarnell on PBS. One of her favorite subjects is the sky. “There’s one painting I have with a winged shape moving through the center light (Sky in Flight, pictured above),” she said. “I took a photo coming out of a restaurant on Highway 81. The sky was opening up as I sat in the car. That was God’s creation. Something was given to me in the sky that day.”
Growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts, Holmes went to work at a print shop after high school, then moved on to textbook publishing houses in Boston and California. In all, she spent 30 years as a typographer. When she and her husband moved to Florida, she decided to get out from behind a computer. After becoming a master gardener, she went to work in retail garden centers, first at Target and then at Lowe’s. “It was very physical and fun,” she said. She drove a forklift, unloaded trucks, and mostly handled plants. She’s now widowed and retired but continues to work during the busy spring and summer seasons, and she maintains a wondrous garden at home. She’s lived in South Carolina for 14 years, drawn by the weather. “The climate is perfect for gardening,” she said.
Jeannine Holmes’ paintings are currently on display at the Anderson YMCA through May 31, part of the “4 Dimensions of Art” exhibit that also features three other AAG members.