Our friendship with Gessica began when she unexpectedly wandered into Live Oak… in her words, she was “drawn to us”… we instantly connected with our mutual love of people and art.  In the past year, Gessica has taught countless painting  & homeschool classes through Captured Community, championed & led our first ever Camp Equip program.  She is a mentor for our Moxie Girls club and has recently started Prayer and Painting workshops.  Gessica’s passion, enthusiasm and warmth lights up a room and makes you feel as if you have been best friends forever.  Here is a little more about Gess, enjoy friends:

Where are you from?

Middlebury, IN

We all feel awkward at times… can you tell us about a time you felt particularly awkward & out of place?

I was asked to give my testimony in front of a group of college kids and their parents (for the first time)… I stumbled over my words and felt like I made no sense. I was horrified because all I wanted to do was encourage everyone and I could not get any words to flow right.

When did you first fall in love with Art and why?

Ever since I can remember I have always been doodling. I really began to appreciate Art a few years ago. I watched a woman paint during a church service and it really touched my heart. I was captivated by the positive message through a simple painting.

Who is your favorite artist?

Mindi Oaten (she is the artist I wrote about above). Olivia Alexander as well. They both allow God to guide their paint brush and process and I aspire to be like them. As far as “famous painters” I love them all for different reasons!

What is your favorite thing to create?

Pastels! Your hands get incredibly messy but the end result is beautiful!!

Tell us about the emotions you feel when creating?

I feel every kind of emotion. In fact creating is what helps me control my emotions sometimes. I feel at peace, I feel good and excited that the end result will eventually lead to a masterpiece.

What breaks your heart? What things would you like to make better in the world?

What breaks my heart is kids without parents, never truly feeling the love from mom and dad. I would love to create a place where there are moms and dads taking care of their children – they did not have to focus on their hurt but had the capacity and resources to love and love well.

How has art helped you to process pain, joy, & sorrow?

When I feel pain and sorrow, I force myself to draw, paint, doodle something. It reminds me there is an end to the process, but the process is necessary. Sometimes the pain and sorrow have to be felt in order to really see and feel the joy.

Do you think art can change the world?

Yes, it has the ability to transform lives & make our world a more beautiful place

In what ways has creative expression helped you learn new things?

Creative expression has helped me learn new things because it helps me appreciate others creative expression. Whether that be through latte art, crocheting, creating furniture, making music, etc. Art can be expressed in so many ways and we can learn a lot about people and really truly appreciate who they are. Art helps me see the world through the lens of beautiful and capturing great moments versus what is wrong with it.

Do you have any advice you could give to a person trying their hand at art & desiring to explore their creative side?

Go for it. Be kind to yourself because art is a process. Practice. Practice and Practice. Make a “creative challenge” – for example a 10 day create challenge (or choose whatever number you like) – this forces you to create. Do not beat yourself up on how it looks but ask how you can learn from it and get the result you are looking for. Surround yourself with other creators. Ask for thoughts and opinions but remember that everyone’s art is personal and may not always captivate the audience. Sometimes it is simply for you and your God.