Light streams in to Jean Childs Buzgo’s art studio in her home in Yardley. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her latest work “Abundance”, a 30x30 oil on canvas of an apple tree from a recent visit to a local orchard. Though she is currently sharing her studio with her children who are attending school virtually, she still considers this space her refuge.
Jean’s artistic journey started in high school, when she began taking the train from her home in NJ to Philadelphia on weekends to attend workshops at Moore College of Art, an experience that sparked her dreams of becoming a professional artist. She recalls, “It was really exhilarating to be commuting into the city as a young teenager. I had my portfolio and toolbox of supplies in hand, and felt so independent. I was in my own transcendent world when I created, so I knew I had found my purpose and passion.” Her path to a career in fine art was sidetracked during college, however, when she took a more practical route, studying graphic art and packaging design, eventually landing a career in the corporate world. It wasn’t until she moved to Bucks County in 1999 and started a family that she began to feel a gnawing desire to paint again. “It was like this tension was building in me and I needed to address it, it’s quite hard to explain. So I took some workshops with local artists to rekindle some long neglected skills and I began painting full-time professionally in 2008.” With her talent unleashed, Jean quickly built up a portfolio and a following. It wasn’t long before she was represented by the Silverman Gallery in 2014, after meeting with the late Herman Silverman and now gallery owner, Rhonda Garland. “Although I was new to the scene,” she said, “they believed in me and my work. It was the boost and validation that I needed and a total career changing moment. I knew I was finally on the right track.”
Jean’s artistic style oscillates between impressionist, semi-expressionist, and semi-abstract impressionist. While her work is based in reality, she captures and renders her subjects in a stylized way to evoke an emotional connection to her subjects. She explains, “If I’m feeling a strong emotion, whether it’s joy, or sorrow, or frustration, or enthusiasm, it’s important to me to channel that emotion into a painting. I can’t just sit or stand at the easel without that impetus and force the work to come out, it has to be fueled by something. I’m grateful that I have these ever-changing emotions and that I have art as an outlet as a way of translating them.” While much of her work is considered impressionistic, as in her painting “Rain on Bridge Street” and “Starry Night Over LaVille”, lately she has been experimenting with loosening her brush stroke in a more expressionistic and semi-abstract style (as in “Canal in Turquoise” and “Blue Monday”). She notes, “Lately I’ve been feeling the need to do something different. I’ve been working more freely with my brush, expanding my color palette and painting larger canvases. I’ve been enjoying creating pieces that allow viewers to interpret the scene on their own, rather than directing what they see.”
Jean’s subjects are inspired by everyday moments that grab her attention, whether it be a trip to a city or town, a walk along the canal path, or a drive somewhere. “I basically get this 'ah-ha' moment, a sort of snapshot in my head of what would be a potential painting, so I’ve always got a camera at the ready for when that moment strikes.” Sometimes she chooses subjects like florals as her muse to play with colors and shapes, or she paints a scene from memory in a more abstract fashion, working purely from imagination. One of her most interesting recent works is a 30x30 mixed media painting called “Water Lilies” which she began painting after a visit to Longwood Gardens. The underpainting began as an abstract acrylic painting, rendered with drips and thick paint. She then created an overpainting in oil to create a stunning piece that blends reality and imagination.
Not surprisingly, the beauty of our local area serves as a constant source of inspiration for Jean. “Bucks and Hunterdon County are very inspiring to me. The historic and quaint river towns are aesthetically pleasing and evoke such a peaceful, calming feeling of home. I’ve painted Phillips’ Mill quite often because it’s such an iconic, historical building and also, the twist in the road there is quite memorable. I’ve also created paintings of the Bucks County Playhouse, The Bucks County Theater, Lake Afton Church and local restaurants and bars in Lambertville because of their beauty and the fond memories I have of being there and I like to share those memories.” Her serene impressionistic paintings of the bridges, river and canals in the area convey the movement of the water and the reflections created, while her vibrant abstract paintings of Manhattan and Philadelphia capture the energy of city life.
Jean is represented by the Silverman Gallery in Buckingham, PA year round, where she has solo exhibitions every 18 months, with group shows in between.
In May 2021 she will have a solo exhibition featuring approximately 35 new works, covering various subject material in varied sizes with beautiful handmade frames by a local artisan.
Follow Jean on social media for her latest work and up-to-date information on her shows: