Getting creative with Jessica Yenawine

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Watercolor painting of Kali Ledger. Photo courtesy of Jessica Yenawine.

Caroline Schaffer

Jessica Yenawine. Photo courtesy of Jessica Yenawine.

The charismatic and bubbly personality of Jessica Yenawine flows right through her hand and into her captivating artwork. 

Emmaus junior Jessica Yenawine’s love for art began as a young child but eventually grew into her passion for watercolor, especially in the eighth grade. Inspired by artist Claude Monet, nature, and her friends, she is able to create vibrant and realistic cartoon-like portraits of people. To keep her artistic flow, she aims to create art at least four times every week, whether it is a professional piece or just a simple doodle. While expressing herself through her artwork, she also finds stress-relieving benefits. 

Yenawine finds the artistic process almost necessary to be in a “good mental state,” or else she never likes the outcome. 

Art by Jessica Yenawine.

“I get in a mindset [when creating art] and I can’t get out of it,” Yenawine says. “I am determined to finish and make it the best I can while also finding a way to relax myself. If I’m ever anxious while creating art, it never turns out well.”

During her time so far at Emmaus High School, Yenawine has taken a few art classes to help her advance artistically. Katie Pfenninger teaches Drawing and Painting 1, a class that Yenawine took during her sophomore year. Currently, Tracy Maley teaches the 2D Foundations class that Yenawine is taking this year. 

Pfenninger recognizes Yenawine as a dedicated artist who constantly looks for ways to improve her skills and a student she can always count on. In her opinion, portraits are Yenawine’s strong-suit.

“Jessica’s art tends to utilize multiple mediums and shows a high level of craftsmanship,” Pfenninger says. “She has the ability to show emotion and meaning in her work.”

Watercolor painting of Eliza Fowler. Photo courtesy of Jessica Yenawine.

Maley describes Yenawine’s art as vibrant, matching the kind personality she radiates.

“Jessica is a natural painter [and] an artist that works from her instinct,” Maley says. “She is not afraid of trying new things with her art and seems to have fun creating. She pays close attention to detail and takes a lot of pride in her work as an artist.”

Unlike many, Yenawine has an ability to see auras, a person’s energy field, which she often incorporates into her artwork. From the moment she meets a person, but especially with those she knows well, she visually sees and senses the person’s energy field. For her, this energy field presents itself as a ring of color or colors that gives her insight into the person. 

Graphite art piece. Photo courtesy of Jessica Yenawine.

“I see them as textures, tastes, or smells, so it’s really nice when I’m making art,” Yenawine says. “It helps me see exactly how those colors should come across on paper and that’s how and why I make my art so vibrant and bouncy because colors to me should all be seen exactly how they want to.”

While everyone is different, she typically sees at least three dominant colors illuminating a person. These colors are able to be integrated into a piece of art she creates of a person. 

“When I paint people I make sure the dominant colors I see around them pop out more than others, like blues or reds rather than blacks or skin tones,” Yenawine says. “That’s why I will outline some of my drawings in red or blue ink rather than black because it makes those colors stand out over others.”

Due to her ability to perceive auras, she often finds herself overwhelmed by an immense amount of energy by the end of the day. In order to release the energy, she turns to her creativity.

“I make my best art when it’s like two a.m., so I’m usually just all over the place,” Yenawine says. “I have so many colors in my head that I have to let them out. So, whatever I’m feeling that day, I’ll find a picture with those colors, and I just paint them out to release the energy that’s blocking my own. It’s really therapeutic for me.”

After taking art classes in high school, Yenawine hopes to attend school to one day become an art teacher for high school or college students herself. She feels that teaching a high school or college art class would allow her to do more with art rather than teaching younger children. 

Yenawine speaks with delight while talking about what art means to her. Despite how time-consuming Yenawine finds her beloved hobby to be, she finds it rewarding in the end.

“[I love] how happy I make people with my art,” Yenawine says. “I do it to make myself happy, but it also makes others happy and I think that’s so cool. I just like making things I think are beautiful and able to share things with people.”