By Julie Watson
Life Senior Services
As a registered nurse, philanthropist, community volunteer and co-founder and chief executive officer of the Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Tulsan Jayne Reed is many things. Until fairly recently, however, “painter” wasn’t one of them. That changed when Reed enrolled in her first art class a few years ago.
“I came into the world of art later in life, as a result of several personal losses within my family,” Reed explains. “As a way to cope with events and a way to deal with the grief, I experienced what I just call a ‘divine prompting’ that led me to intrude upon a local art class in session.”
Reed felt so welcomed and encouraged by the students and the teacher that she continued with the class for two years, discovering a love and a talent she never knew she had, as well as a way to lift her spirits. “The darkness that had been enveloping me for months just disappeared,” Reed recounts. “I gained a new group of wonderful friends, and without that encounter, I probably would never have met them.”
Reed works in oil. She likes the way it transforms on the canvas. She’s a methodical painter. Oil dries slowly, giving her the opportunity to work at a slower pace, which she prefers.
Reed enjoys painting portraits, and two of her works are on public display. Her painting of James Goodwin, publisher of The Oklahoma Eagle, hangs in Goodwin’s conference room. Her painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. hangs in the Greenwood Cultural Center.
“I love portraiture because the work speaks to me as it develops on the canvas,” says Reed. “I start with the eyes because if I can capture the essence of someone starting with their eyes, they come alive. They start speaking to me. I like the challenge of putting someone’s image on a canvas and being true and authentic to the representation.”
According to Reed, her art is a way to communicate with others. “Painting is a way I can speak to people and share with people,” she explains. “I want to use my work to bring people together, to bridge gaps that exist.”
Reed looks forward to a future filled with art and creativity. “It’s just extraordinary. The light has just opened, and I am eternally grateful that I have this way to express myself,” Reed says. “I plan on continuing this, but I must admit, I would have never forecast a future with me with a paintbrush in my hand. I think it’s emblematic about one’s capacity to be open to new experiences, new people and ideas, to allow joy to come into our lives. Painting has provided the story for me and allowed me to explore myself without any judgment or condemnation.