Beautiful on the Inside,Reaching Out

Creating Art with Meaning

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I have really exciting news to share!  The My Daily She team is growing!  We’ve got two lovely ladies that are coming on board.  Say hello to Jenny Hansen Lane! She is a beautiful, very talented Artist, Photographer, Writer, Mother and Wife, who truly loves people and serving them with her time and talents.  Living in Lexington Kentucky, she will be assisting with interviews, photography, editing, and marketing.  I am so grateful to have her as a new team member!  Stay tuned next week to meet another new team member.  Take it away Jenny!

By Jenny Hansen Lane

Hey!  My name is Jenny and I’m going to give you a glimpse into my life with the idea that I don’t believe “everything happens for a reason,” but that we can learn and grow and change from those experiences and that gives us our “reason.” Our reasons are like our passions, they drive us to “do good” no matter what happens to us.

A lot of my inspiration is seeded in my life experiences. From a young age I grew to enjoy staging my Barbie’s house.  My favorite part of babysitting my siblings was cooking their meal for the sole purpose of presentation.  I’d like to think they were healthy, too. 

I grew up with 5 sisters and two brothers, so it was loud and fun and messy.  I attribute this environment to the many creative juices that allowed each of my siblings to flourish in their own right. 

Among my experiences, there is one that still remains a core memory for me, mostly because it was truly life changing.  

I played soccer for as long as I could remember.   I had a handful of distant thoughts and feelings where I thought God had ordained me with this gift and thus it was my job to live out the right of my life (80+ years) playing His sport! HA!  It’s comical to look back on the twist of irony.

My freshman year of college I received All-American for having the most goals and assists in the region! (Further affirmation of God’s Will for me).

While back at home I pick up a notice league where I got injured.  It required reconstructive surgery, being bed ridden and learning to walk again.  But worst of all, it required me to face the fact that there may be other things to life.  If soccer truly was Gods purpose for me, was my life ending then and there?

Enter Paula, aka “The neighbor who changed my life.”  When I was bed ridden, she offered to teach me how to bind a book.  I couldn’t use one of my legs so the thought of using my hands excited me.  It gave me a sense of creative spirit while doing physical therapy.  Later that spring I enrolled in Printmaking and never looked back.  I graduated from college with a Fine Arts degree that allowed me the freedom to express my experiences through art

Sounds peachy right?  Not so fast!  I know you have heard that artists are weird and maybe even depressed.  I mean, you would be too if you had to learn to walk again, or you had to grieve the loss of your boyfriend. “Whoa!”  You must be thinking, “Wow! That came out of left field.”  But hang tight with me for a little more insight.

Let me take you back to my soccer days.  I had a best friend when I 14.  I was kind of young to fall in like or in love with someone but it happened and it was with him.  Fast forward to the time I hurt my ankle; he was there.  He helped carry me off the field and took me to the ER.  On the way to the hospital I remember telling him that it was only strained, hence the lack of crying on my part.  I was in shock and painfully made it through the X-ray.  But, I lost it when the doctor told me I needed surgery. 

So, my boyfriend had to help me lots.  He was serving me daily, and my love for him grew.  As I matured, and turned 22 I felt the need for some spiritual growth in my life.  Unfortunately, this drove a wedge between us.   I made a decision to serve my church for 18 months, which meant no dating of any type for 18 months.  I also decided to I break up with him because he had relapsed (he struggled with addiction to painkillers).  We just couldn’t maintain the healthy relationship we once had.

After my time volunteering for my church in Arizona, we remained friends and I still loved him, but I decided to focus on school and navigating the single life. A couple months later, he passed away from addiction related complications. 

The grief I endured was so dark; it took me to a place where everything was on pause, except for the world that was immediately in front of me. All my artwork after his passing was about death and grief.  It was one of the only ways I could make sense of my purpose without my best friend. 

I didn’t know who I was without him and now it was time to figure it out. 

I changed my hair color every month.  I’m not sure if it was to hide, or become, or remain. 

I made self-portrait videos and photos of me just crying (my poor video class).

It led to my thesis work of creating a quilt out of hair,  I staged a room and brought everyone into that room where I was sorting out my feelings and my new identity.

See album here

Something amazing happened to me after his death and surrounding this project.  People were being placed in my path or life that understood what I was going through.  These relationships strengthened my work and help other women realize their identity pertaining to their own experiences.  Perhaps, at a later time it would be fitting to explain in detail how art can transform one’s life.

A friend messaged me: “I was checked for cancer and was more worried about being bald than actually enduring the cancer! Thank you for your project.”  Ironically, I had a skin cancer scare during this time, too.

Creating artwork with meaning is one of my deepest desires. It must bind me to another person through a story or a feeling.  I thrive when I’m building relationships and I take it really hard when they end.  In my mind, relationships are works of art in and of themselves. And they take work!  

Fast-forward almost ten years: I’m still making art.  I’m married to the smartest, most handsome man I know.  We are a great team with definite differences of opinions and preferences.  We share similar core values.  Our motto is, “We get hard stuff done.”  We have 3 boys and I am a step mom to our oldest.  We run a company garden at the local university and I specialize in portrait photography

PC: Aria Photography

So, I’d love to hear from you!  What experiences have inspired you?

(Check out my local news here and here, to see a personal project I’m working on: Mothers Who Save).

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  • Sara Lewis
    June 6, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Hi, Jenny!
    Thanks for sharing so courageously!
    Best of luck to you, and I look forward to seeing more of your work. 🙂

    • jenfolioart
      June 6, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Sara, Thank for reading and commenting.

  • Brenda Jo Paynter
    June 6, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I recall the lyrics to the song: No man is an island, no man stands alone. Each man’s joy is joy to me, each mans grief is my own. Relationships are high on the human priority list and when they are neglected for a variety of reasons, man suffers. Thank you for teaching as you reveal yourself that everything we do should give support to mankind. Art is just one endeavor that supports our race.

    • jenfolioart
      June 9, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      I agree Brenda, I think relationship are more valuable than we realize. And neglect does result in suffering.

  • Martha
    June 6, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    welcome Jenny, very excited for moreeee!!!

  • Barb
    June 8, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I identify with you saying that relationships are a work of art – emphasis on work. I feel like we complain a lot about our human relationships. I’m not saying that people don’t have problems with their relationships with family, coworkers, supervisors, etc, and that people should bottle it up. However, I think we neglect the complicated nature of relationships and all of their beauty, and pain, and everything in between. Some relationships are the source of sorrow for us but others are the source of our greatest happiness. Sometimes we experience both from the same relationship. I feel like the relationship with my spouse is a work of art with all of its ups and downs. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

    • jenfolioart
      June 9, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      @BARB! You get it! I completely agree. We need to nourish what we value.

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