Art, travel and teaching are three passions that one Fishers resident holds near and dear to her heart. Her accomplishments in each area have set her apart and made her the Fishers Art Council’s featured Artist of the Month for January.
Jeannette Pomeroy Parssi, 63, will debut her newest exhibit, “Impressions,” Jan. 13 at the Collaboration Hub at 11810 Technology Dr. in Fishers. The exhibit will feature Parssi’s art and allow attendees to learn more about the accomplished local artist and her international travels.
Parssi first began painting nearly 30 years ago when visiting her mother, who encouraged her to try out the oil paints set up in her home after taking a community art class.
“I didn’t really know painting was for me,” Parssi said. “I graduated from Kalamazoo College in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Economics. I worked in the printing and advertising world in Chicago for 15 years. When my first child was born, I took her to Cincinnati to visit my mother. My mom had just started taking oil painting classes and recommended I try them. I picked up a brush and a reference photo nearby, and I was hooked.”
Prior to that fateful visit, Parssi had not dabbled in the arts. In school, she was much more focused on science. The experience inspired her to enroll in oil painting classes at her local community center in Chicago. The rest, she said, was history.
“I’m 100 percent self-taught,” Parssi said. “It took me a long time to be able to say that with confidence because so much of the art world revolves around pedigree. I think my business degree helped me sustain and put together a career doing what I love to do.”
In 1997, Parssi moved to Florida, where she continued taking community classes. She later created and began teaching at an arts education nonprofit in south Florida called Art Start in 2006. The nonprofit oversaw outreach programs for underserved areas of Palm Beach County, which is where Parssi’s art teaching career began.
Parssi moved to Fishers in 2018 with the goal of continuing the nonprofit in the area. She said she initially faced difficulties “finding (her) footing” but soon found her way. She was named maker-in-residence at Ignite Studio for three months in the spring of 2019.
“That’s really what helped me get my footing in the area,” Parssi said. “The community exposure through that venue helped get my name and art out there.”
Now, Parssi teaches at Nickel Plate Arts, online and in-person. Classes include drawing, painting and mixed-medium arts.
Parssi looks forward to having her exhibit displayed by the Fishers Arts Council. The exhibit is comprised of work with a painting technique that she has “always wanted to do.”
“I’ve always wanted to paint oil on paper,” Parssi said. “I also always wanted to go back to palette knives and see what I could do with just that. So, the paintings featured at the exhibit are what a colleague called ‘little gems.’ They’re 6-by-6 inches and painted only with a palette knife.”
The “little gems” were painted after Parssi’s “creative sojourn” in May of last year that led her to Loire Valley in France. She said the focus on the paintings is the color, a major component she tries to capture in her artwork.
Parssi said her travels and affinity for nature landscapes are what inspire her to paint. Artwork inspired by a recent trip to Ghost Ranch, a 21,000-acre property previously owned by modern artist Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico, will also be featured in her Art Council exhibit. Parssi said the trip was a “dream” that came true.
“For me, it was a channeling of a spirit that was so cool,” she said. “It was incredible to stand on the ground there and actually look at the same landscapes that (Georgia O’Keeffe) painted.”
Because travel is a major component of her work, Parssi plans to lead a group on a creative trip in May back to the Loire Valley, the place that inspired her most recent artistic work.
“Having a successful adventure in May in France is high on my list because I can foresee going to the south of France, Italy, leading other sojourns, as well,” Parssi said. “I love traveling, and this will be a great way to merge both art and travel.
“This is my life. It doesn’t ever feel like work, so I’m really looking forward to the year ahead.”
For more, visit jpparssi.com.
History of the Loire Valley
In 1420, after England had won some important battles during the Hundred Years’ War and gained control of most of northwest France, the English and French signed the Treaty of Troyes. The treaty allowed King Henry V of England to become king of France when Charles VI died.
Henry and Charles died at about the same time, however, so Charles’ son, Charles VII, proclaimed himself king, although the French would not recognize him as king until he was crowned in the cathedral in Reims, which was then under English control. So, the Dauphin (as the uncrowned heir to the throne was known) hid out in the Loire, where the population was loyal to him.
The Loire River simplified trading goods and is said to have contributed to the quality of wine in the Valley – two things that convinced the Dauphin to stay in the region.