Local artist Jeri Lynn Ing continues to find tremendous fulfillment and the best means of self-expression through her stunning approach to painting.
For more than a decade, she has owned and operated Gallery I.S. in downtown Red Deer, and she treasures the time she spends there focusing on her craft – Ing’s paintings can be found in an array of places from private collections to corporate and government agencies.
Ing earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta and has practiced her art for the past 18 years in Red Deer.
Currently, she is working on several paintings which will ultimately be featured in a single show.
“I’ve got probably 30 pieces that I’m working on,” she explained of a current body of work. “It started about two years ago when I had started working with a musician Roman Thaueren.”
Thauren, who is from Germany, was studying music and the pair decided to produce a collaborative body of work.
“While he was here, I would paint to his music. So we built up some work and this past May, we showed some of it. Each painting was co-related to a particular track that he had composed,” she said.
The show was called ‘blooms and beats’ and was a truly unique means of showcasing Ing’s vibrant and compelling collection of works in an exciting new light.
“Making music is like making paintings. There are layers, rhythms and processes.
“Every piece has layers and layers of paint and it’s not until the very end that it becomes the painting,” she explained of her process. And for Ing, there is no hurrying that force of creativity.
“Sometimes, it takes two years. Sometimes I’ll have a piece that’s on the wall for a year and a half before I know how to finish it,” she added. “But when the whole body of work feels right to me, then I will say they are done.
“They are experimental to me. It’s really an expression of my work and where I’m at at that moment,” she said.
“When you are doing something, whether it’s a health journey or a journey of going somewhere, you don’t really feel like you are done until you get there,” she said. “I’ve also always been very influenced by the paint itself – the textures and the colours and how they relate. I’ve really responded that way whether I’m painting a figure or a landscape. I’ve tried to be in the moment and see what the painting ‘wants’.”
Ing said she was a kid who would make comic books for her friends – certainly an indication of a gift that would only grow over the coming years. “People, I think, encouraged that. So it was reinforced. And I always wanted to do it, but I never really pursued it until I got to university.
“It was a journey (of study). First it was business, then it was arts. And then it was fine arts,” she recalled with a laugh.
Even after that, pursuing art singularly didn’t happen right away, as Ing worked in the banking industry for years. She also married and is mom to two daughters, so the years – and the demands on her time – were full.
And with motherhood came opportunities to dabble in creative ventures. Something in her was further sparked. When her youngest went to kindergarten, Ing, along with five other artists, opened a cooperative gallery on Ross Street called the Red Block.
Eventually, Ing and fellow artist Erika Schulz eventually opened Gallery IS.
Schulz moved on in 2015 to open a home studio, but Ing continued to host group shows and run a commercial gallery.
Today, the space is a cozy, comfortable spot for Ing to follow her dream.
It’s also been a kind of refuge of late, as several years ago Ing lost both of her parents and her brother within a relatively brief span of time. Her marriage also came to an end.
“It was a very terrible, traumatic time,” she recalled. She was plunged into a long season of loss and grief, but the road to healing and hope included turning to her art.
“What came of that was me here painting – everyday.”
A show called ‘Flower Talk’ emerged from some of those sessions, too.
“What happened is these flowers started to appear in my work. It was like from the darkness came these blooms – this hope of renewal and rebirth and of life going forward. It was very cathartic for me.”
When Ing looked over that particular collection, she could see how it reflected her working through the sadness and grief and of just finding her way. “It was a way for me to have a voice, a simple voice, here by myself through painting.”
Looking into 2019, exciting ventures await.
Ing has been accepted into a two-week artist residency in France this Fall.
”You just love it and you can’t wait to get back to it,” she said of the continued joy she finds in her art. “It’s what I think about in my off-time. I also read a lot about other artists and it really inspires me because I see other people that think the way that I do, and I don’t feel alone (in it). I see that I’m on this path, too.”