Local artist Jackie Impey gets most of her inspiration from traveling, she said.
Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Impey spent five years living in Perth, Australia, where she began her painting career. She moved to The Woodlands with her family about three years ago.
Last year, a trip to Indonesia inspired her to paint an entire collection called “Bali 2015,” part of which can be found on display at the South Montgomery County Community Center on Lake Robbins Drive.
“I was traveling in Indonesia, and I just loved all the images of the Buddhas; and it’s a beautiful seascape [with] lively markets,” Impey said. “It just becomes easy to be inspired when it’s something personal for me. I’d much rather paint from my own photograph and a personal experience than a magazine picture or something like that.”
After studying at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary, Impey earned degrees in social work and cultural anthropology.
“I got [my cultural anthropology] degree because of my love of travel and different cultures,” Impey said. “I guess that’s more the social sciences side of it, but I love the traveling and the visual part of meeting different people and seeing where they live.”
Prior to becoming a mother, Impey was a social worker in Calgary. When her husband’s job prompted a nearly 10,000-mile move to the western shores of Australia, Impey was not planning to try her hand at painting.
“I met a friend [who is] an artist, and she encouraged me to start painting,” Impey said. “I said, ‘I can’t do that; that’s really hard.’ She said, ‘Yes, you can.’ So, that’s how it started.”
Living in Australia, Impey drew inspiration from the bold contrast between the turquoise ocean water and the red desert dirt. Most of her pieces incorporate vivid and bright colors on large canvasses.
“I did a painting that I entered in a show and the critique said, ‘I just feel joy when I see this painting,’” Impey said. “I love that because when I was painting it I was feeling joyful, and I wasn’t necessarily expecting to elicit that response, but it turned out that way. That makes me happy.”
Impey mostly learned her craft by taking classes and workshops led by professional instructors, which influenced her work. However, it has since evolved.
“I think for all artists, it sort of takes you a bit of time to find your own style after painting under someone,” Impey said. “I’d say it’s just an ongoing exploration. I don’t like the theory that you have to stay with one type of style or one type of medium. I think it’s exciting to have the option to paint what inspires you and what you love.”
Now that she lives in The Woodlands, Impey is on The Woodlands Art League board of directors. She has been in charge of membership and publicity with the main goal of getting more of the community involved in the art scene through classes and workshops, she said.
“Her support and creative ideas are invaluable to us as WAL changes to better reflect our community, members’ needs and interests, and the changing art culture,” WAL President Lauren Combs said. “From my point of view, Jackie is the ideal art league member. She has taken advantage of our workshops, demo artists, and painting groups and used them to enhance her own talents and vision.”
Impey also participates in community service projects with WAL, Combs said, including Habitat for Humanity, The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival and The Woodlands High School Art Trust.
“Somehow, she also finds time to help coordinate our newest painting group for abstract artists,” Combs said. “It is quite a privilege to work alongside her, and a delight to see her art develop and mature.”
Impey paints in her home studio, and even though her schedule can be busy, she said painting is something she finds time for in her routine.
“I would like to say that I’m a full-time artist, but I paint when I can,” she said. “I have two kids, and they keep me busy. I do volunteer work for The Woodlands Art League, so that takes some of my time. Obviously kid stuff takes some of my time, and … I try to set aside specific times to paint.”
In a departure from Impey’s earlier pieces, many paintings from the “Bali 2015” collection are abstract, she said.
“For me, the process is the most fun part,” Impey said. “Every artist’s art evolves. My art started out a lot more realistic and representational, and then as I’ve been developing, I’m leaning more toward abstract expressionism. The process is so much different, but it’s so much fun. I think it’s a lot more of an internal process, and you don’t necessarily have a set outcome.”
Impey’s art can be found at Crisp at 2520 Research Forest Drive until the end of June. Her full gallery can be viewed on her website. Pieces typically cost between $500-$1,800.