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Alumni Profile: Jessica (Chalk) Haymaker '05

By Karen Beman

"A blank canvas is one of the most daunting things in the world."

Jessica has a passion for art and education. "Art is an extension of yourself—something that lives within. I can’t imagine a life without art," says Jessica. As a student at Bear Creek and then Western, Jessica was exposed to a number of influential artistic styles, teachers, and professors who have shaped her current body of work.

Jessica is a graduate of Western Washington University with a B.A. in education. She currently lives in Abilene, Texas with her husband Thomas who serves in the United States Air Force.

Although she has produced a variety of pieces including cityscapes, figure studies, floral, and natural element works, her primary inspiration is reflected in mixed media, which often includes paper, oils, pastels, and charcoal.

Often inspired by the natural world around her, many of her art pieces reflect the profound beauty found in the natural elements, the form of the human body, and a creative marriage of various art mediums to create new images.

"So often we take the things around us for granted," reflected Jessica. "The simple things few people notice can often be a source of inspiration, reflecting the beauty God made all around us."

What began in an Upper School art class turned into a more refined passion. In mixed media art, Jessica has found a creative expression for emotion and beauty. "Art can impact people. It can be a whole new way to express something deep within and communicate to others. And the people around me have given me the courage to begin."

While a student at Western, Jessica also discovered her love of working with kids. As an education major, Jessica was able to see the power of art as a vehicle to allow kids to tap into and express the complexity within them. She became a youth leader, and for four years combined her love of kids and art. During that time Jessica says her one-on-one time exploring art with students gave kids an outlet and freedom to express emotions in a healthy way.

Advice for those who have an interest in art or for those who would like to perhaps discover a passion for art:

"Keep moving forward. Art is a scary thing. You put your heart and soul into something and you release it, knowing that others will critique it."

"Don’t sell the world short. Summon your courage to share your vision and ideas with others. Art is a great way to give permission for others to experience something beyond themselves."

"The risk is worth it. Even the worst mistake on a canvas can turn into something that has great potential."

Jessica hopes to return to the Seattle area and intends to teach and have her own classroom where she can utilize her passion for artistic expression.

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