“It’s been a great experience working with Kathy in the studio. I’ve learned so much...” says Jennifer Rongaus. Most students know Jennifer just by first name as the Studio Assistant at the Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes. Faux painting and decorative finishing is just the first hint of her talent as an artisan.
Jennifer will leave her job at the studio at the end of March to return to life as a full time artist and owner of A Jennifer Design.
“It was a crossroads for me,” Jennifer explains. “Kathy and the group working at the studio are like a family to me, and they have been supportive of my goal – to get back into the art field full time.”
“Working in the classroom with the students has been a great atmosphere – there’s such a great creative force…” Jennifer says. “I’ve met so many people, and it’s been a constant learning experience.”
While murals are definitely Jennifer’s first love, she is able to express her art through a variety of media -- canvas, faux painting and furniture refinishing, to name a few. “I want to be doing more murals, but also more canvas work than I have been able to do,” she explains.
“Painting murals is a passion – working with the client, producing sketches, then providing a color comp for the wall, “Jennifer explains. “It seems like once I start painting the wall, my day is done – I enjoy it so much the time flies!”
One of Jennifer’s favorite murals was created for a client who wanted the walls to resemble an old European street. “It was great working with them. Doing the development was great, starting from the sketches. The actual painting took 3 weeks,” she notes.
Jennifer notes that a color comp is necessary with all murals. “Its better to make sure its what the client wants before you to go the wall.”
Professionals need to take classes to keep their skills fresh and get new ideas,” Jennifer says. In fact, that was how she met Kathy – as a Great Beginnings student in 2004. “The best advice I’d give anyone in this industry is to never stop learning.”