Jamie grew up in a suburb of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2003 at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. After this she moved to Bloomington, Indiana where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2005 at Indiana University. After graduate school she taught courses in painting, drawing, color, and design theory at the Herron School of Art and Design. In 2010, Jamie authored a revision of the book Drawing for Dummies. She also relocated to the fringes of Washington, DC where she lives in beautiful Takoma Park, Maryland.
My current body of work started with a piece of decorative paper I found at an art supply store. The paper was obnoxious, covered with bright orange and hot pink zigzag stripes and specks of silver glitter. I took the paper home. I cut it into a skirted one-piece bathing suit shape befitting the funky paper. I glued the suit down on another piece of paper. I used torn bits of other papers to build bodies into the suits. Soon I had characters running across a beach. That was the beginning.
Part of the fun of art for me has always been the surprises that happen. I start with an idea about color or shape, and subject matter and then allow my ideas to transform in response to the work as it grows. In this body of work I used repetition to organize the paintings. For example, in a piece called Unsynchronized Swimming, I started with pink. I mixed a pink pile of paint and without any other planning I used a palette knife to scatter daubs of the pink about the rectangular shape of the canvas. Once the color was there, I started to manipulate the pink daubs into bathing suit shapes and swimming cap shapes. When I looked at the shapes of the suits and caps, I could imagine what kind of movements and facial expressions the people wearing them would have. I mixed colors for the skin and goggles and built the swimmers into their suits. The development of the characters is my favorite part. Since I really only fiddle them into being, I always sense they have a kind of autonomy.