Some might say that artist Andrea Jorgensen, of Webberville Michigan, is an overnight success. You might agree, especially after hearing her say, “I didn’t start painting until the fall of 2015.” Since that time her paintings are drawing considerable attention and have given her the opportunity to build a career from commissioned pieces. The Bullvine recently had the privilege of interviewing Andrea and finding out about the evolving story behind her art.
Everyday Objects Are Given New Life
All good success stories must look back to the earliest beginnings. “I have always been artistic starting from a very young age,” says Andrea as she looks back to pastimes where creativity sprang from whatever was close at hand. “I can remember constantly creating random DIY projects with trash around the house, building nonsense wood pieces in my grandpa’s workshop, sewing anything I could think of with my grandma’s scrap fabric, and always drawing.” It is obvious that Andrea’s loving family surroundings impacted her artistic talents.
Studying Art Has Always Been a Happy Choice for Andrea
As a child growing up in Williamston Michigan, Andrea was drawn to the creative subjects at each different level of the school curriculum.” I took almost every art class possible all the way through high school. That was my time to really be myself and to create and to learn art with different mediums.” From the beginning, Andrea knew she had found something she enjoyed and excelled at. She recalls, “I mainly leaned towards drawing with a pencil because it came easiest for me. Even through college, I took art classes because it was fun and exciting.”
Through the Eyes of an Artist
Andrea Jorgensen now living and loving life on Ri-Val-Re Farm in Webberville, Michigan unexpectedly declares that her journey to becoming a bovine artist wasn’t the usual one of lifelong familiarity with cows. “I wasn’t raised on a farm, so the whole dairy industry has really opened my eyes.” Andrea’s eye-opening experience has art also opened the eyes of dairy art lovers. Those familiar with her art, admire her eye for dairy anatomy and the way her paintings capture the nuances of the different personalities or her subjects. From a single painting or a hanging of several pieces, it is easy to see what set’s Andrea’s work apart. Her unique, ultra-colorful paintings, are comprised of layers of bright acrylics that enhance and expand our usual perception of the black, white and brown dairy cows that dairy folk love to admire. (Read more: BREEDING RI-VAL-RE: Where Looking Good in the Stall Is Just As Important As Looking Good On Paper)
Andrea Began by Using Her Gift as A Gift
So, let’s return to consideration of the relatively short amount of time that Andrea has been painting. “I didn’t start painting until fall of 2015.” says Andrea giving the time and then goes on to explain the reason, “My husband, Jerry, had gone on a hunting trip and I had an urge to surprise him with a painting of one of his donor heifers, Hope. Plus, we had moved into our farm house earlier that Spring and I wanted a cow portrait in our living room. Next thing I knew I was painting a 4 x 6 ft. portrait of my husband’s beloved cow, Redwing.” She might just as well say the rest was history, because she explains, “After that Jerry really encouraged me to continue painting cows and that’s when I created Artwork by APJ.”
From One Love-Inspired Gift to Creator of Many Gifted Paintings
You might say that Andrea was inspired by a favorite from her husband Jerry’s stable and, as a result, Andrea has created a stable of painted favorites to send out into the world. Much of Andrea’s painting has been done on commission and frequently the products of her talent, like the gift she painted for her husband, become gifts given and shared between other dairy admirers.
“The World is My Inspiration!”
When asked who has been the biggest influence on Andrea, her answer is as unique as the pieces that she produces. “Art wise, I can’t really think of anything or anyone particular that has had a significant influence on me,” she says and then expands dramatically. “The world, in general, is my inspiration and influencer.” She shows her artistic awareness when she analyzes how that inspiration affects her work. “I can look at a bowl of strawberries and automatically get inspired to do a red scheme background.” I think having that perspective has really helped me find my known style.”
Andrea Paints Bold, Colorful Bovines
Andrea’s artwork is a bright representation of her subjects, and she doesn’t aim to be low key. “Bold and colorful! The more colors, the better. My style also involves visible brush strokes with every layer I paint.” It is unique and immediately evokes a response. For more of her work visit her website. Scrolling through Andrea’s canvases, photographs and projects will quickly highlight and showcases her love of animals, nature, family, home, and farming.
Love Inspires the Artist’s Journey
As we get to meet this artist, we are in the fortunate position of being able to use hindsight to discern what events were responsible for getting Andrea’s artistic career started. Andrea gives credit for her introduction to dairy to one her husband Jerry Jorgensen, known to many as a successful dairy breeder and recognized dairy judge. “I probably wouldn’t be painting at all if it wasn’t for him. Not just because of the support and encouragement but because of the family dairy farm. I wasn’t raised on a farm, so the whole dairy industry has really opened my eyes. I always thought cows were dumb, stinky creatures before I met Jerry.” It is an understatement to say that he changed her initial perceptions of cattle, “Yes, they can still come off (as smelly) but I have a different respect for their beauty now.”
Andrea Reveals Love That Goes Beyond Cows
At this point, I must make sure that my reporting does not limit Andrea’s artistic talent to cow portraits only. As much as this is what drives The Bullvine, it isn’t fair to this gifted artist to limit the reporting of her talents to dairy only. Indeed, when asked to list her favorite works to date, Andrea responds the same way that dairy breeders, cattle judges and show string historians do, by first proclaiming what a difficult question that is. “It’s so hard to choose one! I have an attachment with all my paintings! There’s a top 5 favorites list which is constantly changing as I do more paintings.” Her diversity shows in the list she provided us with, which included what is hanging in her own home.” Right now, I would say my top 5 favorites are (in no particular order): Burt & Ernie (a painting of 2 pigs that is hanging in our living room), Antoine (a ram), Gizzard (a longhorn), Alfred (a rooster that is hanging in our kitchen), & Gatsby (a custom Jersey).
Andreas Goes Beyond an Exact Likeness to Painted Poetry
If, until now, you’ve never seen Andrea Jorgensen’s work, you are in for a treat. In a world of photographic realism and real-time animal videos, it is especially refreshing to find a talented artist who uses deft strokes to create unique portraiture. She doesn’t target a perfect likeness. Her clients already know what the subject looks like. What makes Andrea’s work unique is that it goes beyond the restrictions of a portrait or video frame to a composition that skillfully reveals a deeper understanding of her subjects. Which inspires the question, “How do you decide what to paint?” Andrea gives us a look behind the scene with her answer. “Ninety-five percent of my paintings are commissioned, so I work with the customer to get a good reference photo before I start painting. Otherwise, I will randomly find a picture on Facebook or Instagram that really catches my eye.” Andrea’s business portfolio “Artwork by APJ” continues to grow at the pace of her enthusiasm and growing recognition.
Whenever you see someone doing a successful job of using their talents to build a career, it is human nature to want to understand how they have managed to do it. As a successfully productive artist, Andrea is in the position of not only growing from her own life choices but also being able to help others who wish to start their artistic journey. Her suggestions, like her art, are bold, forthright and forward looking. Here are the three that she urges others to use.
- DO NOT compare your work to other artists.
- Find your style
- Don’t be afraid to push your comfort zone
It seems obvious that artist Andrea also has talents to share as a mentor.
The Artist. The Mother.
Now that we have glimpsed what goes on in Andrea’s studio, our natural curiosity leads us to find out more about Andrea herself. Readers of The Bullvine can all relate to the fact that there are times in life when our passion for our work inspires our daily lives and prepares us for new pathways. This is true for the Jorgensen’s too as we learn from Andrea’s update. “By the time you read this, I’ll be working on something different. I have a few custom pieces I’m finishing before I have to take a pause, we are expecting, a little girl the first part of August. I’m also getting things organized for my dream-come-true-booth at World Dairy Expo.” We all look forward to seeing her at Dairy Expo, but her other life benchmark also has us applauding.
Congratulations to the Jorgensen Family
We are thrilled to join with friends, family and Bullvine readers in congratulating Andrea and Jerry on the arrival of their baby girl. Izadore Irvette Jorgensen was born on August 1st. We wish you all the best as you hold this work of art in your arms and create a beautiful family together.
Hand in Hand. Romance. Cows and Art.
Andrea concludes our interview with a special thank you for those who have helped her get this far in her career. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for my husband. He has encouraged me from day one.” It takes special support to pursue art the way Andrea has, and she is grateful. “A huge thanks to everyone that follows me on social media and those who have commissioned or bought a painting. Their support keeps me motivated to continue creating new pieces of art. It means more than they will ever know!” As a result, Andrea has built on this exceptional support, to grow an impressive following in just two years. She is justifiably enthusiastic about the future. ‘My goal is to keep creating colorful pieces of art for other people to enjoy. I hope to keep growing and evolving with all of life’s changes being thrown at me. I could not be more excited.”
The Bullvine Bottom Line
The Bullvine wishes Andrea Jorgensen all the best with her growing business and growing family. We enthusiastically hope that she will continue to open her gallery doors and continue painting until the cows come home.