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Local artist’s work to hang in Children’s Hospital

  • Recorder/David Rainville<br/>This large, colorful painting by Northfield artist Linda Jacque will soon hang in a hallway of Boston Children's Hospital. Jacque hopes her art will inspire kids in the hospital's head injury ward.

    Recorder/David Rainville
    This large, colorful painting by Northfield artist Linda Jacque will soon hang in a hallway of Boston Children's Hospital. Jacque hopes her art will inspire kids in the hospital's head injury ward.

  • Recorder/David Rainville<br/>Artist Linda Jacque sits in her busy Northfield home studio. Jacque has made a career of her art for more than 20 years, selling pieces far and wide, including the bass guitar she holds. Along with other instruments, it was commissioned by the Gregg Rolie Band.

    Recorder/David Rainville
    Artist Linda Jacque sits in her busy Northfield home studio. Jacque has made a career of her art for more than 20 years, selling pieces far and wide, including the bass guitar she holds. Along with other instruments, it was commissioned by the Gregg Rolie Band.

  • Recorder/David Rainville<br/>This large, colorful painting by Northfield artist Linda Jacque will soon hang in a hallway of Boston Children's Hospital. Jacque hopes her art will inspire kids in the hospital's head injury ward.
  • Recorder/David Rainville<br/>Artist Linda Jacque sits in her busy Northfield home studio. Jacque has made a career of her art for more than 20 years, selling pieces far and wide, including the bass guitar she holds. Along with other instruments, it was commissioned by the Gregg Rolie Band.

NORTHFIELD — Local artist Linda Jacque has sold her works far and wide, to collectors and famous musicians, but her favorite clients are kids.

This week, she brought her latest piece to Boston Children’s Hospital.

An abstract, futuristic cityscape with flying saucers and supernovas above, the colorful, 3-D piece is made from wood, clay and lots of paint.

Jacque drove to Boston to deliver the piece in person.

“It will hang in the hallway of the hospital’s trauma unit, where kids recovering from head injuries exercise,” she explained. “I hope it will inspire them.”

Though that completed piece will hang in a hallway two hours away, an ongoing project reaches kids closer to home.

“I’m doing a mural with the kids at Northfield Elementary School,” she said. “I did the design and the outlines, and the kids get to do their own thing, filling it in. I come back afterward, and add the details.”

She’s not being paid a lot for it, she said, but she’s getting some compensation she can’t attach a price to.

“It’s rewarding when the kids come down the hallway, hug me, and say thanks,” she said.

She may also be passing along the artistic inspiration she received as a child.

“My mom used to draw with us a lot when we were little,” Jacque explained. “I liked to emulate her style. She always helped us with our art projects in school, too.”

Art is still a family affair for Jacque. An upright piano in her dining room is adorned with shapes and designs she painted with her two boys and her stepson. They’ve all got their artistic side, she said, though they don’t practice it as much as their mom.

Jacque’s extended family helps out with her art, too.

“My aunt has come to help with all my art shows for the last 22 years,” she said. From shows in Northampton to New York City and beyond, Jacque takes her family with her, in spirit and in person.

Though many painters work exclusively in one medium or another, anything serves as a canvas for Jacque.

Old clocks, tag-sale furniture and discarded drums are all fodder for her.

“I like to take old pieces apart, re-do them, and paint them,” she said.

Her different styles of artwork are about as varied as the pieces they adorn.

“I get bored doing the same styles over and over,” she said.

Throughout her Millers Falls Road home are things like an old chest of drawers painted with the rolling hills and vineyards of a Tuscan-style scene, geometric patterns on an old drum turned into a chair, or kitchen staples like bowls, plates and Lazy Susans painted with images of produce.

She also makes less functional items, purely for decoration. They include “door toppers” to accent entryways, Picasso-style canvas paintings, and custom stained glass pieces, to name a few.

Though she now paints what she wants, when she wants, Jacque got her start in more commercial aspects of art.

After studying at Greenfield Community College, then New York’s Pratt Institute, she entered the world of advertising. In addition to ads, she came up with designs for product lines, and has a collection of these early works at home. One glass cabinet sports a selection of jars, bottles and plates with a happy, busy-looking chef on them.

“I did a lot of table-top dinnerware, gift items, stained glass designs, as well as stationery and paper bags,” she said.

Her career in place, Jacque set out to be her own boss and got out of the advertising world.

“It’s been an interesting journey,” she said. “I consider myself lucky. Now, I can do what I want.”

“The best part is that I was able to be home with my kids while they were growing up.”

Her youngest, Camden, is 11. Now that he’s getting older and more independent, she feels more free to travel.

She’s been to several European countries, always traveling with a sketchbook and other art supplies. She’ll make art anywhere, she said, be it a bus terminal, at the airport, or lying in bed at night.

One of the most inspirational places she said she’s been is right here in North America.

“I love all the bright colors in Mexico,” she said. She might get a chance for a much cheaper return trip.

“The place that I stayed at, in Oaxaca, offered me a trade (for some art),” said Jacque.

She’ll be taking a trip south this fall, though she won’t need to bring a passport.

Jacque is a regular at the Paradise City Arts Festival, to be held Oct. 12 to 14 at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton. She said she usually does quite well, often selling out at art shows.

She also sells her art online. You can view a selection at www.bitvibe.com/collections/linda-jacque. For a wider array of her pieces, try typing her name into a Google search. Jacque often does so herself.

“It’s interesting when I search for myself online and see all the places my art ends up,” she said.

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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