UNDER THE LEAF with encaustic artist JESSIE BENSON

Thanks to all of you visiting our site! Today our "Under the Leaf" artist discovery visit will be with Jessie Benson. I hope you enjoy this time with Jessie as much as I have!

Selena: Morning Jessie! Thanks for taking this time with me!  Could you tell me about your favorite EVER piece of art you've created and why it is your favorite?

Jessie: Favorite ever piece?

“With Grace”

beeswax & oil


She turned out so elegant and more beautiful than I could imagine. I literally dropped to my knees when she came through as I was making the piece.

Selena: Wow! Goose bumps. What was the inspiration for the piece? An owl has a VERY special meaning for me personally.

Jessie: I love birds because of the inspiration their lives offer, to be free. I chose an owl for this piece because of her embodiment of strength and beauty.

Selena: She is quite large considering your usual work. Was this a commission?

Jessie: No. I made this piece for a show and ended up loving it so much I kept it. That is a photo of it hanging in my home.

Selena: Have you done anymore that size? 

Jessie: A few and larger. Those were commissions with the largest being 42 x 42, another owl. The largest not custom is 30 x 30.

Selena: Are the large pieces done on purchased cradled boards or do you have to make them?

Jessie: The company makes custom sizes for me.

Selena: Like the wall color by the way.

Jessie: Thank you. I love it, too. It’s like a sage.

Selena: Nice. Is that a favorite color?

Jessie: The sage? Yes, I knew before I built this house that I wanted this color in my house. I love sage color.

Selena: Is it in all rooms? Your studio?


 Common room

 Entry, kitchen, living, art/music studio



Selena: Beautiful home and color! And that view…sigh. Do you ever wear that color? Sage?

Jessie: I have owned a couple pieces of clothing that color.

Selena: So, what exactly is it about the color that speaks to you? Feelings? Emotions? AND have you ever used it in your art and why or why not?

Jessie: This color is very soothing to me and also helps me feel connected to nature even if I am indoors. The mutedness of it is especially appealing in its softness.

I have not used this color in my art. I have used a brighter, darker fern green. I probably would not use this color in my art because I typically want the color in my paintings to pop. For my home, though, it is perfect because I like the peaceful feeling it offers.


 Jessie sent this photo.

Selena: Love the pink apron! Crazy how "light" changes everything. Your walls look yellow and the trim cream but they are really sage and white, yes?

Jessie: They are yellow. The sage I was referring to was in the studio in my home. I have two studios.

Selena: Well you lucky thing!!

Jessie: Yes! This is my music and art studio in my house. Standing behind me is a piano.

Selena: We need to talk about the music sometime....but that's for later. Why yellow instead of the sage out here?

Jessie: I chose the color in my professional studio to be subtle and not take away from the color of my paintings.

Selena: Ahhhhhh...professional space vs. personal space? 

Jessie: I usually do my printmaking at the easel that you see in front of the Buffalo (Mountain view) windows. I make my cards but usually not over there, usually at my desk or at my kitchen island. Since cooking and baking is a major part of my creativity as well, most of my house is just one big creativity studio.

Selena: And mine...is one big mess. Haha!!


Selena: Hey, the photos of your home? Truly beautiful! But I haven't been able to get the photo of the sage in the jar out of my head. What a cool painting it would make with a sage relatedish quote AND since the sage in the bottle would be the focus, use the sage color! It would pop because it would be the only color and there would be a lot of it. Which brings me to this question. What is the smallest size you've ever done and would you consider creating a smallish sage in the bottle painting for this blog installment? Please????

Jessie: I agree. The sage in the bottle imagery is beautiful. The smallest I have made is the size of the one for your mom, 6x6 (I had commissioned Jessie to create a painting for my Mother for Christmas this past year). I will spend some time on the idea. I would have to find the color if so because my green, as I mentioned, is a fern green. I will do some sketches and see what I think. 🌱

Selena: Yay!!! Are the colors oils? Could you use acrylic?

Jessie: Oil. Oil is best.

Selena: Gotcha. As you sketch could you take a couple photos of the process? Don't stop in the middle of anything if it would mess up your flow.

Jessie: Okay to the sketches.


Jessie: Sketch shot. I have decided to do a pen & watercolor card for this piece

Selena: Can't wait to see it finished.


Selena: This is wonderful, Jessie!! We’re definitely going to revisit the music, cooking and baking in another blog installment. But…would you consider a set of herb cards? No…don’t answer now. We’ll wait and see. Thanks again, Jessie!

 And thanks to all of you taking the time to read about our uniquely interesting artists and visiting our website.

To see more of Jessie's work please click here.

Be watching for another "Under the Leaf" blog installment featuring artist Karen Sewell coming soon and if you didn't read our first installment with Jennifer Carpenter, please do! She is great fun!

 We'd love to know what you think about our new blog series and would appreciate you thoughts and comments. Our CONTACT US does collect email addresses but if you include NO EMAILS with your comment we promise, we won't send you anything!



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