The Latest from American Women Artists

Carrie Waller Abundance

By Camille Wall, MBA, Media & Communications Manager

Based in Sacramento, CA, AWA Associate member, working artist and teacher Jaya King graciously took some time away from her busy schedule to chat with me about her work, and specifically her process of pivoting during the pandemic. I really wish we could have shared this conversation over a cup of coffee or tea, but given the situation and being on opposite ends of Northern California, a virtual chat had to suffice. Let me tell you one thing: Jaya’s energy is contagious even through the screen. I could feel her passion bubble up from her heart as she shared how she created her 100% asynchronous online Color Mix Masterclass for her Art School, and how she plans to continue working full force within this new reality of teaching art virtually and creating digital content. 

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a rollercoaster, and businesses of all sizes are finding creative ways to keep their doors open and continue servicing their customers. Jaya’s Art School is no different, and I was both excited and honored to hear her journey of being a working artist and visual arts teacher while classrooms sadly have had to close.  

Creating a Digital Masterclass 

When the initial shutdown happened at the beginning of March, it took Jaya about a month to realize that with COVID, her classes were not going to reopen any time soon. She shared that once she hit a point of doing a reality check in April, she dove in full force and began writing. She initially had the idea of a simple online art class, and wanted to focus on her favorite subject – color mixing. However, as the writing progressed, she realized that color mixing was probably the most complicated subject matter to execute virtually, but it was her passion and she kept moving forward.  

Since she already had an in-person class on color mixing, her syllabus was already created. It was helpful to just begin tweaking what was already in there to create modules, and then continuous flows of writing. Literally. She says it was like “word vomit”; the writing did not stop and Jaya ended up writing over 90 pages worth of content.  

Once she completed the writing, the filming began. Now, this was an area of learning-as-you-go and stepping out of her comfort zone. Technology is not the easiest thing for her to navigate. With the assistance of friends and tech experts sharing resources, she learned about editing programs, wiring, cameras, filming and even post-production editing. She spent approximately six months creating the entire course, and all that was left was deciding on the platform and getting the word out! This was a true labor of love, sweat, and tears, especially since filming was spent in her garage studio in the middle of Sacramento summer heat! 

Insights from Jaya and Painting the World 

I was able to ask Jaya a few questions that I felt were universal, and I know her answers may inspire others that are seeking to make shifts and creative changes in operating their businesses. 

CW: How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful? 

JK: I really dove into Instagram (IG). I’m not a big fan of Facebook, so I developed an IG profile specific to my acrylic classroom. Bringing my presence back to Instagram and social media has been a challenge, but I felt it was a necessary evil, especially when you’re an artist, and you’re in business for yourself and your business is visual. Jumping back to IG has been my big next step. 

CW: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear? 

JK: My greatest fear was that no one would take my course. I was putting all my energy into it and there was this fear that no one would show up. It’s like having a party and no one showing up and then not having an in-person classroom to fall back on. The silver lining with COVID is that I actually had the time to do it.   

You can’t let the idea of something not working [to hinder you]; you can’t jump into any project into that mindset. I tunnel visioned for a hard six months of writing, filming, and editing as my entire work day. You just do it. Finding things to distract you from that fear helps. 

CW: If you were given a magic paintbrush, what three things would you change in the world? 

JK: If I had a magic paintbrush I would bring so much art and creative expression back into our schools. It would be basic, fundamental learning: art, math, science, theatre, English, etc. are all on the same playing field. To me, art is a prime avenue of self-expression. Art is a human necessity, and it’s scary for me to think of this new wave of kids going through school without learning, let alone experiencing art. 

I would also paint a world where people are kind to one another and respect one another. This absolutely includes being kind to and respecting our planet. We need more love in this world, now more than ever. Basic respect and kindness on a global scale would be beautiful. 

Back to Business 

Jaya and her pet bird, Angel

Now that the class is completed, marketed, and has students, Jaya has returned to full time painting. She has a show coming up in February 2021 at Sparrow Gallery in Sacramento, and with the Masterclass behind her, she can now be free to be creative, but for herself. She shared that the only painting she did for six months was just for her coursework and creatively she was limited. Now that it is complete, she’s back to a daily routine. She’s usually up and on her laptop by 8 a.m. answering students’ questions in the online course community. Then she will paint for most of the day and at some point, break with Angel for lunch and dinner. While this is anything but “normal,” she is excited for the next chapter and will continue to share her talents and enjoy her full-time painting gig again.


About Color Mix Masterclass 

Jaya’s “simple” course kept expanding and turned into a massive undertaking that includes ten (10) modules packed with lectures and tutorials, over 30 PDF visual aid downloads, and over four (4) hours of edited video content. Hosted on the Thinkific learning platform, Color Mix Masterclass teaches students how colors interact so they can intentionally mix the colors they want. Not only can students learn on their own schedule, they become part of Jaya’s online student community and can ask questions and respond to each other throughout their sessions. 

Some of the topics covered include: 

  • How to “read” color and understand color pigment personalities. 
  • Primary colors and how to mix a balanced secondary color 
  • How to use matte medium to control color saturation and glazing
  • The roles of white and black in tints, tones, and shades. 
  • How to mix beautiful muted colors and earth tones. 
  • Color matching, color schemes, and limited color palettes. 

‘Tis the season for giving and in the month of December, Jaya is offering a special promotion exclusive to AWA members. The Color Mix Masterclass is normally $295, but AWA members can use code: AWA199 to sign up for $199. 

About Jaya 

Jaya King is a California native based out of Sacramento. Her dynamic encaustic semi-abstracts marry both balance of technique and personal connection to the viewer. Jaya regularly lectures to art organizations across California. Her popular painting workshops give students the opportunity to grow as artists, face their fears and express their individuality. Currently, “Encaustic In-Depth: Beyond Black & White” ranks as her most influential, technique-driven and introspective workshop. Her enthusiasm for painting is infectious and it propels her and her students down a path of inspiration and understanding through creation.  

In 2016 Jaya developed an encaustic scholarship program which gives high school students the opportunity to explore this amazing medium. She has been featured in Encaustic Arts Magazine, Sacramento’s Inside Publications magazine, Girls On The Grid and Sacramento Magazine. Her work has been published in Juxtapoz MagazineSplash 11: New Directions, Incite 3: The Best of Mixed Media, and in Art Journey Animals: A Collection of Inspiring Contemporary Masterworks. At age 24 she was invited to do a solo show at Stanford University. She is in the permanent collection at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, California and the Museum of Encaustic Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

Hot City, Encaustic on panel, 18x18

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