Art as an expression

by Jelica Polimac, UK

We have different ways to express ourselves - through what we do when at work and what we do the rest of the time. Jelica paints...

I was interested in art from my early age. I remember making drawings of animals since I was five. My art teacher during these years, a professional painter, would tell us an interesting story before setting up a topic for painting. I enjoyed his class very much.
I can still hear the echo of his voice and feel the delight when he spoke about Picasso or when he took us to a gallery to show us an exhibition in town. In the pupils mark book his marks for art were different from all others. While our math teacher has written equal digits in a sequence, our art teacher’s marks were recorded in an unusual way, sometimes organized like birds in a flock, sometimes digits distant from each other expressing the teacher’s excitement or disappointment by our work. To me his classes were breaks from all other repetitive classes.

The last year of primary school was interrupted by a massive earthquake in the region and my school had to be evacuated from the town. With a new art teacher the art class lost its charm and became a routine. However, the art still remained part of me thanks to the previous art teacher.

With the evacuation my life changed. I was separated from my family and lived in a boarding school in another part of the country which made me grow up quicker. I was more focused on math and physics where I won several school competitions rather than on art. I enjoyed solving mathematics' and physics' problems and was encouraged to do science.
At the time of enrolling courses at the university, I had considered studying electrical engineering and art in parallel. However, that was not possible as both universities required full time presence. Eventually I decided to go for the engineering profession, which was offering a more stable career, leaving art to be awakened at the next opportunity.

That opportunity occurred in 1998, when I started an education course in Art at the Guildford College, United Kingdom. It was not easy to work and attend art class, to paint every evening after work and every weekend, but I enjoyed every minute of it.The target to complete the course was achieved and I did it successfully, receiving the Art A-Level certificate.
That inspired me to work harder in art and start exhibiting my works. My first solo exhibition was in Godalming, England. It took me several months to prepare the paintings and organize the exhibition. Although it was a hard work, I was privileged to show my expression of life through my paintings.

As in any profession, the results come after continuous and hard work. Keen to learn more, I continued to attend art courses. I gained further experience painting in the class of Margaret Palmer, a professional portrait painter and a Senior Member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. From Margaret I learned a lot about portraits, shades, and face expression.

Observing the world around by noticing colors, movements, faces, inspired me to paint. Starting from an idea and developing it further is a matter of imagination, expression and a reaction to the world. That is my sphere where I communicate through painting and where I can spend hours and hours playing, learning and trying various things. That is the beauty of discovering what is around me as well as inside me. That is my way of expressing myself, the way of my reaction and my communication.

I like to visit exhibitions and museums in my free time. Being privileged to live close to London, I have seen the best exhibitions in the world organized by the National Gallery, British Museum, Royal Academy of Art, etc. It is difficult to single out an artist of my choice as each is specific and fills me with excitement. I also enjoy the art of different periods. I feel it would be unfair to exclude a beautiful statue of Nike, or Michelangelo’s David, Velasquez’s Venus, Cezanne’s Card players or Rembrandt, Van Dyck’s Crucifixion, or Sargents’s Lilly, lilly, rose or Picasso’s Two sisters or Munch’s Scream or Kapoor’s mirrors. They all invoke delight and my deep respect.

Oil painting is my favorite medium. Although I have used acrylics when I attended art courses, it could not be compared to oil. The most beautiful colors and richness of painting is achieved with oil. When I create a painting, I start with a drawing to develop an idea and select the best composition or pose, then I translate it onto canvas.
I usually do not sell my paintings as I get attached to them. Besides, I still make a living from my engineering profession. However, I guess with the increasing number of paintings I will have to free up some space.

I still have plans for more exhibitions.
Preparing an exhibition means a lot of hard work from selecting the exhibition topic, to finding a gallery that will accept the work. Painting canvasses relevant to the title is just a part of the process, however, when titles for each painting have to be defined, then I contact my family to help me. A concept of advertising, catalogue, list, packing and transport are technical parts supporting an exhibition. Despite all that being demanding, I find it worth doing it as it closes a loop demonstrating dedication. That is like a project, requiring a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

So far I have exhibited at:

  • Summer exhibition of the Guildford Art Society, Harvey Gallery, Guildford, UK, May 2012
  • Summer exhibition, Norman @@@ gallery, York, UK, June 2011
  • ‘Four’, Chelsea Old Town Hall, London, UK, August-September 2010
  • ‘Memories’, Visual Arts Ontario, Toronto, Canada, July-August 2008
  • ‘Just Life’, Godalming Museum, Godalming, UK, February 2006

The art will stay with me forever.

Jelica Polimac
graduated with BSc and later MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. She started her career at Energoinvest Energoengineering Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, reaching the position of Senior Project/Design Engineer. In 1992 she moved as Special Projects Engineer to Port Elizabeth Municipality Electrical Department, South Africa. Since 1994 she is leaving in the UK, working first as Project Engineer for Mitsubishi Electric UK and later London Electricity. She was then Senior Engineer at Kennedy & Donkin, and Principal Engineer at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Since 2007 she is Consultant at Polimac Ltd, UK, providing services to a number of major clients and also work as a trainer on technical courses in Singapore, Dubai and South Africa.



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