Impressionist painter Tatiana Jackson showcased at Hawkeye Art Gallery

Artist Tatiana Jackson posted on Monday, November 14, 2022 in  College News

Impressionist painter Tatiana Jackson explores concept of flow in Waterloo gallery exhibition

WATERLOO — Effortless. Enjoyable. Joyful.

Those are words impressionist painter Tatiana Ivaschenko Jackson uses to describe the sensation of losing herself in a painting.

In such moments, it feels as if her brush, loaded with paint, moves across the canvas of its own accord. Or Jackson may sit down to paint for an hour, but much more time passes before she looks up – and there’s a completed painting on her easel.

“There is such joy when it happens,” she said. “I always have ideas and inspiration, but there are times when I struggle, when a painting doesn’t come together like I want it to, so it’s important to have moments when everything just flows.”

“The Flow” is a theme that runs through the collection of Jackson’s paintings on exhibition now through Dec. 10 at Hawkeye Community College’s Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center, 120 Jefferson St.

“The biggest joy out of life isn’t when everything goes the same way. It’s when we are challenged that we gain new skills and make progress. Being challenged is important because that’s what makes your mind work to find that flow. When your work flows, it makes your day,” said Jackson, of Cedar Falls.

All of the roughly 30 paintings she selected for the show were created “in the flow, in the zone, in the groove, or whatever people want to call it. The state of flow is fascinating to me.

Jackson researched the flow concept when one of her children began experiencing anxiety.

Yale University researchers discovered that people had similar physical responses during anxiety attacks to people who were in a state of their best work performance. In both instances, people experienced adrenaline rushes and increased heart rates, for example. That adrenaline boost positively impacts athletes, students, actors, musicians and artists, sharpening performance, focus and memory. People suffering from anxiety attacks, they learned, could channel their fear and energy into short, strenuous bursts of exercise.

Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is responsible for recognizing and naming the concept of “flow,” described as “a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity.” Jackson uses one of his quotes in the artist’s statement about her exhibition: “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times … the best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limit in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

Impressionism is an artistic love affair for Jackson. She creates still lifes and landscapes, frequently inspired by her own flower garden, figurative compositions and portraits. Religious icons, such as statues of saints and angels and rosary beads often find their way into her paintings, valued for their beauty and symbolism.

The exhibit includes several paintings Jackson painted with a palette knife, in some instances scraping away paint to the canvas surface, leaving behind only color and texture.

“To paint from life is wonderful, it gives me pleasure. As an impressionist, I take colors from nature and beauty and put them on a canvas. I’m not looking for perfection or putting embellishments,” Jackson explained.

“Being in the flow always brings a great outcome in my painting,” she said, comparing the sensation to “the freedom that comes from letting go and having complete trust in God.”

Jackson was born in Ukraine in 1968 and received her artistic training in Russia. She earned a master’s degree in teaching art, art history and technical drawing from Krasnodar State University and later studied in an after-graduate program at Herzen University in St. Petersburg. In 1992, she participated in an exchange program between the U.S. and Russia and was transferred to the University of Northern Iowa. She received a master of fine arts in painting degree in 1994.

Her work has been exhibited at galleries, art centers and museums. It is also part of public and private collections.

By Melody Parker, Waterloo Courier


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