Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center has a stunning art exhibition titled “The Audacity of Self-Love” by Artist Jacqueline Maldonado through July. Jacqueline Maldonado is a surface pattern designer and a watercolorist. In 2012, Jacqueline took a leap of faith to pursue her art as a full-time endeavor. She works in a variety of media and explores many styles and modes of artistic expression but is best known for her work in watercolor.
Her abstracts in watercolor can be understood as emotional landscapes expressed as color and movement, communicating the essence of an experience; music, a memory, loss, joy, uncertainty, defeat, triumph, love and longing. She is drawn to pattern, finding inspiration in the repetition of forms and forces of nature and the world around her.
Jacqueline spoke to Hamptons.com about Art, The Audacity of Self-Love Exhibition and the Hamptons.
What drew you to the Art world?
I’ve always viewed life through the lens of art; everything is art, from nature to design. Art as a career happened in a roundabout way. I originally went to FIT to study fine art, but gave up on myself as a painter to study design which had more “practical” applications. I worked in various aspects of the fashion industry where I picked up my affinity with prints and patterns. However, it wasn’t until I went back to school in 2008 that I began my journey with watercolor painting. The paintings I created at that time would wind up being my first surface designs to have commercial success several years later. In 2012 with the advent of print-on-demand technology, I saw an opportunity to marry my fine art with practical applications on a range of household products. From that point on, I‘Ve dedicated myself to learning the ins and outs of the surface pattern design industry, all the while exploring the relationship of painting fine art with pattern creation.
This exhibition showcases your watercolor works, has this always been your favorite medium?
The first medium I fell in love with was oil paint.At 16, I was mentored in tradition oil painting techniques and I thought I wanted to paint that way forever. However, going to college in the city and living in an apartment in Queens, it wasn’t the most safe, cost-effective nor the most feasible in such small spaces. I begrudgingly moved on to acrylic painting but it wasn’t until 2008 that I really explored the potential of watercolor painting. At that time in my life, painting with watercolor became my refuge and my compass back to myself. It was transformative and nothing short of magical.
Art is subjective but what do you hope your watercolor paintings invoke in the viewer?
What I hope for the viewer is that they experience what I do when I view a piece of artwork. I hope that their heart flutters a little bit, that they recognize something in the painting that exists within themself, that they make a connection that invokes a sense of belonging, of kinship, of hope, of beauty.
You stated that each artwork in this collection is an expression of self-love, can you elaborate on that?
Painting takes a certain amount of self-trust; a belief that my art is a worthwhile pursuit and deserving of being seen. In this way, my paintings serve as metaphor. As a woman, as a domestic abuse survivor and as diagnosed neurodivergent, it’s a daily struggle with imposter syndrome, internalized misogyny and derogatory conditioning. These paintings are visual, tangible evidence of my ability to overcome the self-doubt and negative messaging. It is proof that innate beauty exists within me and that I have the courage to show it to the world, despite my own worst critic.
What is your painting process like? Can you walk us through a typical day/session?
My process is ongoing; it’s always. My life, my experiences, my emotions, my thoughts, my curiosity; everything is a part of the process, everything goes into the painting. A typical day of painting begins with coffee, my meds, deep breathing and music. Music is a vital component and acts as conduit. I don’t think I’m synesthetic per se, but my paintings wouldn’t be what they are without it. Combining music and painting is like alchemy that transports me to a magical plane of existence. Some call this state “flow”. It alters the perception of time (with ADHD, I don’t exactly have a firm perception of time to begin with). It’s a state of bliss. Especially in the darkest of times, it’s always been necessary for my survival, to be able to fight another day.
What are some of your favorite pieces of artwork?
My favorite artworks are whatever ones I am currently viewing. I like to stay open and curious. It may sound like a cop out answer, but it is genuinely how I experience art. If I had to choose a particular piece that stands out at the moment, then “La Vie En Rose” (1979) by Joan Mitchell, recently on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I encountered the painting, my heart fluttered and I felt an instant and deep connection to it; exciting and new (to me), yet familiar all at once.
Favorite gallery in the Hamptons?
Anywhere that I am surrounded by art is among my favorite places to be and the galleries in the Hamptons are no exception. If I had to choose one, it would be the White Room Gallery, owned and curated by two incredibly talented, accomplished and philanthropic women, Andrea McCafferty and Kat O’Neill.
Favorite places in the Hamptons?
I grew up and now live on the north shore beaches of Long Island, but if I venture to any other, it’s always Cupsogue Beach. It’s a beautiful place to take in the best Long Island has to offer. With a beautiful sand beach and calmer waves, it’s an ideal location to enjoy summer with my family.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to share my work and story with the readers. My message is to love yourself.. and if you don’t, keep trying.
Check out her work at https://www.jacquelinemaldonado.com/collections