ANN ARBOR – You may know her by her Instagram account Garden of Edin, or her poster designs for the Ann Arbor Folk Festival.
Jocelyn Edin has deep roots in this town, and it all began when she was a student at the University of Michigan.
"I decided to come to U of M because it was a family tradition," said Edin. "My dad went here, my mom went here and my grandparents."
Her father, an artist, was a high school art teacher. She took his classes and says that art runs in her family's blood.
When she arrived at the University of Michigan, she entered the College of Literature, Science and the Arts with a plan to be a premedical student.
But a tragic loss made her think differently about her major.
"Between my freshman and sophomore year, my mom passed away to breast cancer," Edin said. "It was super tough. She was sick for just a year and a half. And that actually steered my direction a little bit. I just wanted to take art classes."
She transferred to the arts school and never looked back.
Straight out of school, Edin was hired by local design firm Q LTD in Kerrytown.
"I was at Q LTD for 14 years," she explained. "I think in Ann Arbor, they’re the coolest little shop. And they do it all so you really get to work with a bunch of different types of clients and that’s when the relationship with The Ark started. Q has always partnered with them on the website, marketing materials for the Folk Festival.
"I had done two or three (posters for the festival) throughout the years and then art-directed some of the younger designers on a few. It’s always been one of my favorite projects every year. Free rein on the creativity, such a good client. And the music!"
Just as Edin was making the transition from Q to becoming an independent artist, The Ark offered her to join its board of directors, a position she still holds.
"I was part time at Q at that point because of kids and schedules, but I was just having this bug where I just really wanted more time to create. So I started Garden of Edin. I’ve been balancing creating art and doing some design work for The Ark and other clients. I spent a lot of time (at Q) when I was making the transition just figuring out what was inspiring me: what was I drawn to? What made my heart flutter? And it was watercolor.
"I bought some paint and paper and just started painting. I started with very organic floral things, and over the last few years I’ve been pushing myself to draw more, to do more illustrative work, more landscapes, things like that. The process for watercolor is so fun to watch. The act of making it is part of the whole thing. For me, that’s the really exciting part: It’s spontaneous. You don’t really know how things are going to end up. Some people are very controlled about it, but it’s much more fun watching things mix on the page."
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Time to get back into cityscapes, I’ve been asked to do a live painting at the Ann Arbor Art Fair next week(!) Typically I stay away from the crowds and the heat during fair week but this seemed like such a cool opportunity. Great reason to get my plein air supplies out and active again. This piece is a favorite from a while back. Unfortunately, I was not plein air #painting in Morocco. It was based off of a photo my former boss Tom Rieke (@qltd ) took while on his worldly travels. This #watercolor now lives in his home.😉🌍✌🏻
Edin has partnered with A4 to do two plein air scenes at the Ann Arbor Art Fair this week. All proceeds will go toward the four nonprofits that put on the event each year: The Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original, The State Street Art Fair and The South University Art Fair.
"I'm excited!" she said. "I do sketch typically for those. Because there will be so many people, I’ll probably take a photo as a reference for whatever scene I’m looking at, but then try to capture some of the colors and the people that are in the scene."
Edin does two commissioned works each month for clients, including a beautiful painting of koi -- her largest yet. See her live demo below.
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My client asked for a sneak peek of her commissioned piece so here it is! The biggest #watercolor I have done to date, a beautiful scene of nine full size jumbo #koi. The logistics of such a big watercolor were challenging, handling the big roll of #paper, flattening it, trimming it, painting on the floor in the garage... with a bum knee... but success! I’ll share more finished pics soon (after I figure out how to photograph it!!) Happy Friday!
Check out her online shop here.