Jan Geyer stood in her City Marketplace studio, Studio Dow, the last week of December studying her paintings, contemplating which ones best represent who she is as an artist. Geyer had recently been named Flagler County artist of the Year for 2014 by the Gargiulo Art Foundation, and she was preparing for not just one, but two shows.
“It was very exciting to be acknowledged as a top artist in the area,” she said while siting in her work space. Canvases leaned up against the wall behind her. “For me, it’s a great boost, and I feel energized about new work. When people are excited about my work, it keeps me motivated to keep pushing.”
Geyer grew up in a creative family, her mother a water colorist and her father a musician.
“They were both very encouraging,” she said.
Geyer attended the school of Visual Arts in Manhattan, majoring in painting and printmaking and maintained a studio in Connecticut for 10 years before moving to Palm Coast and opening Studio Dow at City Marketplace. Although she has been painting her whole life, she was not always a working artist. She owned and operated a jewelry store for 30 years, which she sold before moving to Florida.
Geyer’s figurative paintings focus on both images of figures and the emotional interaction between the figures in the images.
“I try to feel like I’m getting an emotion out of the character,” she said. “I try to fall in love with the character — they have their own life.”
Using both oil and acrylic paints, Geyer has experimented with different styles in the past couple of years but found that she comes back to the figure.
“A lot of my art is conceptual,” she said. “For me, I’m not so much about the talking part about it. I really hope that people see the painting and put their own meaning in to it themselves and connect it with them in their own lives.”
A great influence for Geyer is abstract expressionist painter Herold Garde. Geyer has been using Garde’s Strappo technique to create prints on glass.
For Gargiulo Art Foundation founders, Tom Gargiulo and Arlene Volpe, naming Geyer as artist of the year came rather easily, as she was at the top of everyone’s list.
“Jan’s work is personal. She paints people she knows, portraits, family members,” Gargiulo said. “Her work is very good, very contemporary, very professional.”
Geyer’s artistic talents also involve dance, and that can be seen through her paintings of dancers as well.
“Painting is very solitary, and dancing is very good activity,” Geyer said. “It’s a nice balance for my artwork.”
Geyer’s work will be showcased in completely different exhibits this weekend — the first at Salvo Art Project Friday, Jan. 9, and the second at Geyer’s own studio/workspace Studio Dow on Saturday, Jan. 10.
“It’s so great to be in the artistic community here because everyone is very supportive — the other artists, the collectors and the people who just enjoy art,” Geyer said.
IF YOU GO
What: Artist of the Year reception
When: 6-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9 and 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10
Where: The Friday reception will be held at Salvo Art Project, Old Brick Road, Bunnell, and the Saturday reception will be held at Studio Dow, 160 Cypress Point Parkway, Palm Coast
Info: There will be a $10 entrance fee for the Friday night exhibit with live entertainment by Dr. Cash.