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Artist Jenna Olcott brings hometown nostalgia to her painting

January 26, 2018 – Jenna Olcott is inspired by the Midwest. At its heart, her art is Missouri art, capturing the nostalgia of rural communities through her pairing of exuberant colors with realistic, small town scenes.

“I feel like my art gets a lot of inspiration from small town life, rural Midwest. I love doing downtown scenes, country life, tractors,” Olcott said. “Growing up in a small town in Missouri has definitely impacted my style of painting.”

Local artist Jenna Olcott

Local artist Jenna Olcott

Olcott is the assistant director at the Treehouse Preschool in Excelsior Springs. She’s a lifelong Missouri resident, and has lived in the Excelsior area since 2006. She’s also a mother to four children. But in between raising children and teaching children, she’s created art, from peaceful cityscapes to whimsical animals.

She draws inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh.

“Van Gogh took these scenes, but they’re about feelings, and he did that through color,” Olcott stated. “It’s less about the scene and more about what you feel. It’s all about capturing a feeling through color.” Olcott’s own scenes are imbued with emotion through her use of color, elevating something as staid and stable and static as a tractor into something able to evoke emotion from its viewer.

Olcott has always been creative, drawn to arts and painting. But, like many artists, she’s self-taught, something that held her back for a time. She just started painting again a few years ago, now that her children are older.

Olcott gets much of her inspiration from small t own and rural Missouri.

Olcott gets much of her inspiration from small t own and rural Missouri.

“I used to doubt my own artistic abilities, since I lack formal training in the arts. Being artistic, creative, an artist – whatever you want to call it – can’t always be taught. It’s in you. It’s who you are. If you love to paint, then paint.”

The idea that art is within a person is something Olcott believes in.

“I just feel like art is within me. A lot of times, when I begin, I know already that it’s going to be a good one. But I also feel like I haven’t reached my potential. I feel like I still have a lot to learn. But I can see growth in my art, so I just try and continue to do things, push myself, grow and develop my own style.”

“There’s a pull in you, when you are an artist,” she added. “You have to draw, draw, draw. But I really feel like art is something in you. Art’s in me.”

Parade Tractors by Jenna Olcott

By Samantha Kilgore • samantha@leaderpress.com

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