What you may NOT know is that behind the scenes we engage in a HUGE debate to pick out the two cards for the year: one for the gals, and one for the guys. It hasn’t quite come to fisticuffs and dueling swords yet, but we are each passionate about our favorites and willing to go to extreme lengths to garner votes.
This year was easy: we all agreed that our fantastic client, emerging artist Jeannie Fafoutis, was our choice. She has shared some of her incredible artwork with us during our meetings, and we have completely fallen in love with her point of view and palette. As an emerging artist, she had not yet created a card line, so we encouraged her to use us as her launch, and we are thrilled she agreed to take us up on the challenge. I know you will enjoy her special art this year, and you can also view one of her original paintings in Laura’s office in our new suite.
I really wanted to feature her this month in our Blog, not only because of her amazing talent and desire to share her with all of my readers, but also because she really exemplifies the spirit and passion of forward thinking and hard work. Some of us are left brain thinkers, others are righties….she’s an ALL brain thinker and there’s not much she cannot do and isn’t interested in. We enjoy meeting with her so much, if for no other reason than she’s always interested in something new and keeps us on our toes! We enjoy being cheerleaders for you all, as you find your niches and avocations, or slow down and retire from those life passions. I feel you will relate to many parts of Jeannie’s life journey and will truly enjoy getting to know her. We'll let Jeannie take it from here.
Tell us a little bit about your personal life, Jeanie. Where did you grow up, go to school and live?
Whenever someone asks me where I grew up, I say, “Chicago!” But, the truth is I have lived in California for the past 43 years of my life. I have a huge place in my heart for Chicago though, because I grew up there for the first 10 years of my life, my sister still lives in Naperville, Ill., my grandparents and dad lived there, I worked in downtown Chicago later in life and had my first son in Chicago.
|Going back to visit Dunsmuir!|
I attended Chico State briefly, then randomly decided to finish out my college years at U.C. Santa Barbara because I had never lived near the beach. It was a hard place to study with all the distractions of the beach, surfers, sun and fun, but I did graduate in 1984.
You actually worked in the investment world for many years. What drew you to the profession?
During some of my summers in high school and college, I went back to Chicago to live with my Dad and work for him. My Dad owned a clearing firm on the CBOE (Chicago Board of Options Exchange). He put me to work in this fast, furious world of trading and I loved it. I started off as a runner on the CBOE trading floor, delivering trades to the trading pit brokers to execute. Then, I became a clerk for top producing broker in the IBM pit (remember IBM?), which was then the biggest pit on the floor. I held his trading deck of anticipated trades and was in charge of watching the market screens and helping him execute those trades.
After I graduated UCSB, I started work at EF Hutton as an assistant to a broker. I moved to Los Angeles a year later, got my series 3 and 7 registrations, and started working on the bond trading floor for Security Pacific Bank as an investment banker/bond salesman for the next few years. When my first son Alex came along, I hung up my registrations and became a full time mom.
|Original watercolor by Jeannie Fafoutis entitled "3 Boys on the Beach."|
My biggest joy and accomplishment in my life was becoming a mom to my three boys. A fun fact about my boys - all three of them were born at 7lbs. 14oz., 21 inches long. They are now all 6'3" tall, give or take!
|Jeannie's three sons, Nicky, Chris and Alex, July, 2015.|
Chris is 21 years old, striving to become a master jeweler and gemologist. He will be starting his jewelry school program in San Francisco in October. In the meantime, he has started his own jewelry line/company and has had great success on Instagram and Etsy as an entrepreneur. I love having a son make me all my jewelry and share in my creative side!
Nicky is 17 and a senior at Campolindo High School. He is starting the college process – taking the SAT test and looking at different college campuses. He’s a catcher on the varsity baseball team and an offensive lineman and linebacker on the varsity football team.
I had all three boys home this summer and I have the electricity, water, hot tub and food bills to prove it!
|Chris, Nicky, Alex, Sean, Jeannie and Bobby in Thailand.|
|Bobby and Jeannie in Puerto Vallarta|
|Original watercolor by Jeannie Fafoutis entitled, "Foggy East Bay Hills."|
I would say I have more of a super passion for being an artist and the arts, but not necessarily a super talent! (Editor’s note --- ahem, not true!) I will always be a life-long learner and enjoy the journey along the way.
I accidently stumbled upon my super-talented art teacher and watercolor class that started my artistic journey, back in 2004. I had never taken a formal art class in school or college and I had worked in the left-brain world of finances. One day, I was in an art store looking at supplies, after inquiring at the Art Room in Lafayette about taking an art class on a whim. I just thought it would be fun while my kids were in school, but had no experience whatsoever. This nice lady came up to me in the store and told me she was a watercolor teacher, and offered to help me pick out supplies. I guess I looked lost and bewildered surrounded by the array of brushes, paper, paints, etc. to choose from. I told her that I had just signed up for a watercolor class with Camille Young, at the Art Room. She said, “Well, that’s me!” It was fate from there, that I have been blessed with having such an amazing teacher throughout these years of my ups and downs of learning the difficult but exciting medium of watercolor. I have been with the same teacher and same watercolor group for over 10 years now. Not only have I learned a tremendous amount of technique and some different mediums, I have grown as an artist, developed my own style, gained confidence in my art work and have grown personally in my journey.
|Original watercolor by Jeannie Fafoutis hanging in Laura's office.|
My style has really come naturally. I have taken what I have learned from my teacher in watercolor technique and the art of realism, and have expanded on what inspires me. In class I was always known as the rebel, because I would go outside my box and use bolder colors, design, loosen up and make the composition my own. My style has evolved from what I love to do most and what motivates and inspires me. My travels around the world have brought a lot of insight and opened my eyes to different ways to paint. I took several art classes in Singapore and have been drawn to the Urban Sketching that is so popular there. It’s amazing if you sit down on a bench and watch the world go by. I see things differently when I go to sketch and paint them. Painting has opened my eyes to see things clearer, notice details, magnify color, see shadows, light, reflections, beauty, expressions, angles, lines, foreshortening and things fading away in the distance. My main inspiration is nature and hiking in the beautiful San Francisco area with my Norwich terrier, Ziggy and Bobby. I always bring my camera to capture the sunsets, the poppies in the hills, the shadows on the trail, the reflections on the lake, the cloud formations and colors of the hills, trees and flowers. I paint what I see and that creates great joy, peace and wonderment in my life.
|Hiking buddy, Ms. Ziggy Fafoutis.|
|Charcoal drawing of Ms.Ziggy.|
|Original watercolor by Jeannie Fafoutis entitled "Poppies."|
I have been a Mom for 23 years and have done a lot of charity and non-profit work while I raised my kids. But, I felt the world was rapidly changing before my eyes with technology and social media and I wanted to get up to speed. I also wanted to get back in the working world somehow and I wanted to enjoy what I was doing.
I know I’m dating myself, but in college I didn’t even have a cell phone and still typed my papers on a typewriter! I decided on the marketing program at UC Berkeley extension because it was a flexible program that still allowed me to raise my kids and go to school at the same time. I thought marketing would be a great avenue to learn about social media, small business, technology and it would one day serve as a valuable tool to help me market my art and start my own business. My kids were proud of how hard I worked and my hope was that I would be a good role model for them. I wanted them to see that no matter what age you are, you can still follow your dreams. I definitely was the oldest person in every class I took and was the only person that did not have a Facebook account! But, I finally succumbed to the social media craze and realized how much it could really help my future business endeavors. I graduated in less than a year with a 4.0 G.P.A. and was the Marketing student featured in the UC Berkeley extension catalog in 2014.
|Jeannie and the boys at the top of Whistler Mountain, July, 2015.|
Go for it!! Follow your passion and don’t doubt yourself. Life is a journey of learning and adventure. No matter how big or small, your passion should inspire you to try new things, push you past your roadblocks and open your eyes to endless possibilities.
I want to thank Jeannie so much for sharing all these ideas with us. She welcomes hearing from any and all of you, especially fellow artists or those pondering exploring that field. And since putting her Blog together, Jeannie has recently passed her Real Estate License Exam and has yet another passion to pursue!
You can reach Jeannie Fafoutis at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!
|Jeannie's motto - fantastic words to live by!|