Jennifer Cude is a local artist living in Kearny, AZ. But “artist” is only a fraction of the titles she’s earned. In addition to being an artist, Jennifer is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, and animal rescuer. It almost seems that there is nothing she has not done.
Born and raised in Kearny, Jennifer got into art at an early age. Growing up, she admired the art of her two grandfathers and then learned she was a bit of an artist herself. “I can remember as a young child, I painted something. And it was really good. I surprised myself by that. So I decided to start taking art classes in high school and was pretty good at drawing,” Jennifer says. She also cites Claude Monet as an early inspiration. She says she was “always fascinated that he could make an image with just spots of color that didn’t make any sense when you were up close. He’s always been my favorite artist when I kid, and I even wrote several reports on him.”
As time went on, Jennifer refined her craft and came into her own. When it came time for college, she moved away from Kearny and spent some time in Los Angeles and the Valley. Jennifer began working towards an art degree, but found it really was not for her. “I didn’t really feel like I fit in. I’m not a conventional artist in that sense, I didn’t want to go beyond drawing,” Jennifer tells the Pinal Nugget. So instead of continuing with an art degree, she majored in education at NAU where she gained a love of teaching history.
Jennifer then returned to her roots and decided she wanted to stay in Kearny after meeting and dating her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Jeff. Once back in Kearny, she put her education degree to good use and started working at Ray High School, the same high school she graduated from and all four of her kids have attended or currently attend. Jennifer teaches Social Studies, Drama, and helps out with the Junior High School Council. “With teaching these days, you’re really expected to do a lot of other things to help out at school … I love it, it’s so much fun, but it’s so time consuming.” Her two kids currently attending Ray are involved in sports, and in small town like Kearny, sports means away games with long travel times, and Jennifer wouldn’t miss a game for the world.
To add on to the madness, Jennifer has three dogs and a mini-farm in her backyard with a couple of rabbits, chickens, donkeys, and a turkey.
Even with life getting in the way, Jennifer still finds time and inspiration to paint. She uses Prismacolor colored pencils and some water colors on art paper. She then digitizes her images and sells them online. However, her art is not just relegated to online, she was also a part of an exhibit at Tohono Chul in Tucson, AZ and has art on display in several places in Arizona.
In an increasingly industrialized world, Jennifer prefers “authentic, organic things” and calls her style “back to nature” which comes out in her paintings and even in her home. Flowers, wood grain, and earthy tones make up the images that she creates. And just like Monet, it’s the small details that get her inspired. “I love the intricacies of drawing something really small and close.”
Jennifer has plans to continue her artistry and branch out into different mediums in the future. Pottery, woodworking, jewelry, and soap making are just a few of the areas she’d like to explore.
No matter what Jennifer plans to undertake, her signature style and talent will surely shine through, making each piece as unique as the last.