June 15 2016 12:22 AM

Juanita Baldwin looks for emotional connection in painting, photography

Artist Juanita Baldwin describes "Organic Lemons" as "experimenting with a glass vase, some organic lemons and sunlight."
Courtesy photo

City Pulse and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing have teamed up for the Summer of Art, which puts original art by area artists on the cover of City Pulse each week through Aug. 31. This week’s cover features “Universal Fog” by Juanita Baldwin.


Okemos-based artist Juanita Baldwin didn’t know what she was getting into when she started taking painting lessons. A native of Chile, Baldwin was invited by a friend to watercolor classes taught by an American artist. After just a few lessons, she was hooked.

“I thought it would be fun to join them, have a cup of coffee while they paint and chat,” Baldwin said. “I ended up taking lessons and developed a strong interest in the arts.”

As she worked with the artist, she felt like she was learning a new language.

“I saw a new world opening before my eyes,” Baldwin said.

In addition to painting, Baldwin, 64, is also a self-taught fine art photographer.

“I have always liked photography and have taken lots of pictures since I was a teenager, mostly family, friends and trivial scenes like sunsets,” Baldwin said. “I didn’t initially expect that my photography would necessarily even be successful, let alone become a major part of my artistic endeavors.”

Baldwin said that she doesn’t paint or photograph what is trendy, but that each piece is creative and represents how she feels at the time.

“The photographs I consider to be fine art are the ones that talk to me, where the subject matter elicits an emotional response,” Baldwin said.

Being a successful artist, she said, is a balance between absorbing new ideas and maintaining your own identity.

“Be creative and experiment with your own ideas,” Baldwin said. “Go around town and see what other artists are doing, but then go back home and do your own thing.”

By taking in new ideas, Baldwin keeps the process of making art fresh and exciting.

“To me, to be an artist is a work in progress,” Baldwin said. “There is no end to learning and evolving. I want to continue creating art in a dynamic way. I want to try new techniques — learn, apply, experiment.”

To submit your work for the Summer of Art, please go to lansingarts.org. Please read the rules carefully. Pay particular attention to these:

1. If selected, the original art must be given to the Arts Council of Greater Lansing to be auctioned. The artist receives 30 percent of the sale price.

2. Published art will be used horizontally. City Pulse reserves the right to crop or rotate art.

3. Photographs of art that is not intended to be donated (e.g. large sculptures) will not be accepted. Artistic photographs, including photographs of art, will be considered. Please be clear if you are offering the art piece or the photograph for auction.

Questions? Email publisher@lansingcitypulse.com or call (517) 999-5061.

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