Local Artist Inspires Others to Follow their Own Style
Jolynn Forman, a long-time resident of Santaquin, who currently resides in Provo, is a Utah County artist with a unique painting style.
She has learned from experience that defying the rules and developing your talents in your own way can pay off.
Forman hasn’t always been passionate about art. Instead, she explained, “I grew into art.” She took the subject in high school, but it wasn’t her first choice for a career back then.
It wasn’t until Forman went to college that she realized pursuing art made sense because it was the only subject she liked. So, she got a degree in studio art.
After that, Forman decided to serve a volunteer mission for her church. When she came back, she started up her own mural business. She did murals for homes around the Wasatch Front for about a year. Then, she got married and took a sabbatical from art for about 10 years while she and her husband raised four girls.
During that time, Forman didn’t paint. Not once. But painting was never far from her mind. She explained, “I craved it. Oh, I craved it.” Once her youngest daughter turned six and went to first grade, Forman felt like she was free to pick up the passion she left behind for a while.
But she wanted a backup plan in case she couldn’t make it as an artist, so she went back to school. Once again, she was able to foster her love for art and worked hard to earn an art education degree from Utah Valley University.
Following the rules her art professor wanted her to follow was challenging for Forman. Her naturally rebellious spirit didn’t conform well to the strict methods taught. She knew what she wanted to paint, and how she wanted to paint it. She explained, “I had a professor who was determined that I paint a certain way. He said anything with people won’t sell. He was very strict in that I needed to do it all realism or all abstract.”
Fortunately, Forman couldn’t bring herself to comply. She explained that though her rebellious streak had gotten her in trouble in the past, it was just what she needed to create unique art that breaks from the norm in a beautiful way. In response to her professor’s insistence that she paint like everyone else, she decided, “No. I’m going to do it my way.”
And her way is refreshingly beautiful and full of whimsy. She explains, “I have a very abstract style.” Forman’s imaginative works of art start out with paint thrown on the canvas. She describes the rest of the process in the following way, “I take stencils and make a big mess and have a ball with emotional abstracts, and then I throw on some cold wax.” Then, Forman draws on and scrapes up the canvas.
It’s only after she creates multiple canvases in this way that she goes back and figures out what she wants to paint on them. That’s when the realism comes in. Forman loves to tell a story with realism narratives. She integrates them into the textured backgrounds to create an unusual and charming combination of styles that pulls viewers in.
When she finished her degree from UVU, Forman became a full-time artist and did well. Her accomplishments included a mention in the newspaper, having a piece featured on the cover of the Ensign magazine in 2018 and picking up four art galleries.
Despite her success, Forman was dealing with a major hurdle in her profession: she was lonely. She explained, “I would be in my studio for eight hours and I’d begin to talk to the paint a little. I’m a social person and I craved the interaction. Most good artists are hermits and I’m not a hermit.” At the time, she explained, her daughter’s school was looking for an art teacher. So Forman decided to step in and teach for the rest of the school year.
Within just three months of teaching, Forman fell in love with it. She loved the kids and was so happy with the interaction. She knew she had to decide between full-time art or full-time teaching. It wasn’t an easy choice, but she decided to continue teaching because she’s naturally good at it and the kids love her. But she refuses to give up art, so she puts in full-time hours teaching high school art class at Timpanogos High School before going home and working on art for her galleries.
Forman thrives on teaching others how to create and find joy in art. She says one of the most rewarding things about teaching is when kids who don’t like art enter her classroom for the first time, and within two weeks they love it. She said she has the most amazing attendance because the kids adore her and her class. Some come back and retake the class multiple times, even when they don’t need to.
Though she teaches full-time hours, Forman still finds time to create the art she loves. Her piece Raining Cats and Dogs was just accepted into the American Women Artists National Online Juried Show, Lifting the Sky: Elevating the Works of American Women Artists.
Forman also recently exhibited a show in Greece and has had exhibits in England. Additional accomplishments include multiple Best in Show awards. She also just finished her Master’s Degree while teaching, painting and raising four kids all at the same time. When asked how she does it all, Forman chuckled and responded, “I never watch TV, hardly.”
Forman wants others to know that it’s never too late to pursue a hobby or dream. After all, she didn’t discover she wanted to be a teacher until she was 35.
“There’s no hurry to figure it out,” she says. She also learned from her experience in college that breaking away from the “rules” freed her to create art her own way.
She wants people to remember that “being a bit of a rebel can get you a lot out of life.” Oh, and hard work, too. “Anybody can be an artist if you’re willing to put the time and effort into it,” she says. “I know that for a fact.”
Anyone interested in purchasing Forman’s art can find prints for sale on her website (https://www.jolynnforman.com/). She is also on Instagram and has an Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/JolynnFormanArt) where shoppers can find and purchase her prints. (Peterson is a Serve Daily contributor.)