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Daily Inspiration: Meet Jeni Reynolds

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeni Reynolds.

Hi Jeni, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Hi, I’m Jeni Reynolds of ‘ArtWorks by Jeni Reynolds LLC’
Allow me to tell you my artistic story.

ArtWorks by Jeni Reynolds LLC was started in 2016, with a huge life shift.

I’m a self-taught artist who has presented artwork through many ways.

Starting as a grade school kid, my creativeness took on many side projects such as: hand-drawn store flyers, cartoon portraits, and even starting a custom wedding cake business at age 12.

I continued doing various side work through the years. Through high school and my twenties, most of the projects I worked on were craft-like requests and I also started into small commissioned paintings. I continued to work full-time in the non-creative workforce. Also, I continued my cake business for a total 29 years.

As I went into my late twenties and early thirties, being touched by others’ needs, I started doing some watercolor portraits for some different charities.

I received several side commission jobs throughout these events, besides the auctioned pieces. In my thirties, I was blessed with my best creation- my daughter Julia, who is also artistic with her music in the Kansas City area. During the years of raising and homeschooling her, my art fell to the projects of my involvement with community theater set painting, murals, and 4-H project leadership in various topics, but slowed on my own creations. Then my life shift.

While my daughter was just in grade school, I had an onset of health problems, which put a stop to most of my heavier and larger projects. I continued on with just the smaller projects for a while, but as limited as I was, it kind of just dwindled away until it wasn’t hardly there anymore. I also could no longer keep up my wedding cake business, murals, or anything else that required heavy lifting. As time went on, I gradually fell into a very dark place. With that, I kind of lost myself, and lost my sense of having interest in much at all. I tried to stay focused on my child, but I didn’t realize that I was neglecting my own needs. I wasn’t seeing it, but my friends were, and I was being pushed to figure out what I needed to do to solve it. 2016, in the midst of my dark pit, I received a challenge to commit to some painting again. It was not very easy for me to do, but still I agreed to try to do any kind of painting per week. Once I got started though, I couldn’t stop at just one piece a week. 153 pieces spilled out onto the canvas from my emotions that year. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with it all, but I knew that I didn’t want my struggle to be left a negative. I decided that year that I needed to do something with my art and make it have a purpose, so I started the LLC and made it a business, not only to make it go forward, but to force myself to not give up on it, or myself. The following year 2018, I began setting my own goals. That year, I chose to see how many art shows I could participate in, which ended up being a total of 22 different art shows. I received a lot of positive feedback, and I allowed myself to accept this as encouragement. 2019, my goal was shifting, as I still had my struggle with depression. I looked at all my paintings and decided that I needed to put them to use to help others, since many of them depicted various images of things that I thought others may relate to also. I began to work on more pieces about important topics that need to be brought to light, such as depression, trauma, anxiety, and PTSD. I felt that, as lost as I had been, there must be others struggling in this way also. Today, I continue building on this idea, and plan to have an exhibit with all those pieces. My goal is to continue to heal, but also to help others heal in the way of seeing and experiencing my work. I feel it’s really coming together, and hope to have it complete soon. Until then, you can see some of my work on my website gallery.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
(Covered in story) The obstacle and challenge that I had to use, rather than get through, is the depression/anxiety that I struggle with. I work through it as my sort of therapy, yet also try to focus on finding ways to make purpose of it. I cant accept that it is what i am handed unless to help others with somehow.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
My story covers a part of the paintings that I am currently working on. The other work that I do is portrait work. I love painting acrylic portraits. They are what I consider a constant in my projects. I really enjoy doing them because they usually are done to bring joy to the receiver. Probably my favorite are memory ones of loved ones that have passed. Recently, I was hired to do one of a father and daughter, after he was gone. They didn’t have any recent photos together, so they gave me several of each of them, so I could paint one of them together. I received a Thank you that had a photo of the daughter holding it with tears on her eyes and smiling. It really touched my heart that I could offer that.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
What matters to me most? I suppose love. I find it’s the foundation of everything good in life. Faith, relationships, and how everything should connect in the world. I guess that is what I focus on in my day to day,

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