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Meet Jana L Bussanich

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jana L Bussanich.

Jana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It was around 2008-2009 when I first began to self-identify as an artist, even though I’d spent most of my life following various creative interests. I was talking about myself as an artist sort of secretly. There would be those first moments in a conversation when someone would say to me, “What do you do?” and I didn’t know what to say. I felt like a total fraud. My art was living in the gallery of my mind, where it was carefully hung and perfectly executed. There was very little evidence on the outside of my inner reality. I knew I had to begin expressing who I am if I wanted to transform how I was operating in the world. At that time, I would say I was still a blocked artist because I wanted to produce work, but I hadn’t gotten there yet. But I knew it was an essential part of my whole being.

I had a deep sense of beginning to understand this part of myself that had been allowed to go dormant, that had not been cultivated and had been, in a way, cut off. Some of that was my own doing, and some of it was circumstantial, not enough time or money or raising children, other things that steal your time away. It’s easy not to get to the idea that you care about most. Also, the awareness that the creative process requires a certain amount of space around it. It feels almost like time-wasting, and if you don’t have a lot of time to waste in that way, it is challenging to emerge. It meant that I had to make calculated decisions about building space around myself to begin to move in the direction of producing work. And that takes linear time when you’re raising a family since you can’t shift everything all at once. Sometimes it feels like you can’t shift at all, and sometimes the shifts are small, and sometimes they’re big. The author Parker Palmer was influential for me during this time. I was teaching, and I was reading his book, Let Your Life Speak, where I encountered the idea of what it means to live with the integrity of Self. The integrity of Self is to live from the inside out. Is who you are on the inside congruent with what the world sees on the outside? So, I had this increasing awareness of the distance between who I knew I was and how I was expressing that.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
By my estimation, becoming is never a smooth ride, a straight line, or a cup of tea. As an artist, or a creative, the thing is living inside you, and it’s demanding something from you. It’s demanding to be heard or seen. It’s pushing from the inside out. So then, when it feels hard to do the work, there’s this weird kind of wrestling match you have with yourself about existence. You know it’s coming from the inside – that it’s something that you want or maybe it wants you? And, you can feel surprised when you run into unexpected obstacles once you decide to let it emerge. Besides things like constant practice to overcome technical gaps or your own resistance, which are part of that internal wrestling match, external disruptions, and problems to solve like the need for adequate workspace, financial considerations, and now, the obstacle of COVID-19 – or is it an opportunity? The thing persists; whatever it is, that voice continues.

Working under the pandemic constraint underscores my lifelong experience to express as my artist-self, in finding my voice. When the lockdown occurred, I transitioned my art students to online instruction. The learning curve is steep, the commitment is high, the technology can be daunting, and screen time exhausting. We don’t know what we don’t know, but as soon as we do, then everything changes. I had a sense of how much work it is to convert and deliver my content online, so I had not done it. But now that I’ve made to leap to online instruction, I am not looking back. Students are thriving, growing in their knowledge as artists, and doing good work.The pandemic created an opportunity for the Yellow Couch Classroom to expand beyond the traditional classroom walls with students worldwide.

We’d love to hear more about your art.
Jana L. Bussanich Art and Yellow Couch is the home of Fine Art painting, art instruction, and related services. We create and sell original high-quality Fine Art and offer watercolor technique and color theory classes online. Founded in 2012, we are based in Colorado, USA, serving clients worldwide.

We specialize in equipping you to make your art your way. The Yellow Couch Classroom is an online learning community for those interested in exploring painting in watercolor with Jana L. Bussanich Art. We provide high-quality art instruction by qualified instructors and coaches, taking a multi-level approach in this online learning environment.

At all levels, beginner through experienced painters, we focus on literacy, competency, and mastery of the skills needed to make compelling art. Our Five Essentials of Watercolor Technique and Color Theory mini-course launches in December 2020. It moves students along sequentially from essential beginning skills to further application as ability develops. A beginning painter can have mastery of one aspect of water and pigment management, for example, while a more experienced painter does not.

The Five Essentials mini-course is for self-paced learning, allowing beginners to work independently and practice basic technique and color theory. Simultaneously, more experienced painters can “dip into” a specific area to fill their technical gaps.

What sets us apart from other online E-Courses is ongoing live instruction and mini-session work reviews via Zoom with Jana, our Yellow Couch Coaches, and students. During the mini-sessions hosted on Zoom, we review your work posted in the YC Classroom. During these calls, students identify weaknesses and ways to strengthen their art in keeping with their expectations for the piece. We believe this approach allows all painters to make more compelling, satisfying, and sophisticated – complicated – art.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Since the shutdown, we’ve completed 28 weeks of online instruction and produced over 40-hours of recorded video lesson content. We are in the process of developing our E-Course, The Five-Essentials of Watercolor Technique, and Color Theory. Students who earn a Certificate of Completion at the end of this mini-course can make a smooth transition into the Yellow Couch Classroom, our online learning community for those interested in exploring painting in watercolor with Jana L. Bussanich Art.

The narrowing of life is often the passage to clear knowing. The reduction of options in our work as artists can also be the passage to clear knowing. While my artistic journey is characterized by the constraints of money, time, energy, family obligations, and health, developing a steady art practice is serving me well during the most epic constraint of my career, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to present our new mixed media collection by Jana L. Bussanich, where you can dwell with us in the landscape of possibility. There is freedom in constraint. This new work is emerging under the pandemic’s limitations where life feels narrow and expansive, desolate yet joyful, bound yet free.

Works on paper and Birch cradleboards using watercolor, ink, pencil, oil pastel, charcoal, and collage. We are also celebrating the new Yellow Couch Gallery’s official opening January 1, 2021, located at 218 W. Colorado Ave. under the Colorado Ave. Bridge in downtown Colorado Springs.

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