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Meet The Teacher: Family Art Series Instructor Rona Jin

We're super excited to welcome you to Meet The Teacher, our new blog series where we introduce and learn more about our amazing lineup of instructors at ARCH Supplies. We've been in the arts business for a long time, and we love helping our customers connect to their creativity, one of the ways we've been able to do this is by offering classes with exceptional, passionate educators that we'd love for you to know a bit more about. Please enjoy our first editorial foray below, and stay tuned for more to come!

Upon first meeting with Rona Jin, we knew right away that she would be an amazing fit to teach with ARCH, her mixed media still life work is bright, colorful, playful - inspiring and beautiful without any pretension. Her fun body of work aside: Rona is warm, engaging, and highly passionate about making and sharing art.

Rona's upcoming Family Art Series: Introduction to Food Illustrations class begins May 19th. This class is designed for you and your child (age 9 and older) to learn together.

 

 

1. Hi, Rona! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself! Did you have a creative upbringing? Where/how did you get started on your journey that brought you to where you are now?

 

Hi there! I’m thrilled to meet everyone reading this, so thank you for the opportunity. 

 

I’m currently working as a full-time artist with a focus on watercolor food illustrations. I am also a mom to three daughters who are all 6 and under. Being an only child myself, however, I grew up having a lot of alone time to dabble in all sorts of arts and crafts while my parents worked. Weirdly, painting and drawing were not things I enjoyed that much as a kid, but back in the day, I created some pretty badass collage pieces!

 

It wasn’t until I discovered watercolor a few years ago that I really started to focus on one single art medium. Something that always surprises people is that I have a degree in Finance (I was even a licensed CPA, but shhhh…). I spent many years working in the tech sector, and I often turned to watercolor after work to decompress. In fact, my Instagram handle (@montuethree) is carried over from that period in my life. It stands for Monday, Tuesday, and the remaining three days of the work week, and it represents an alternative identity to my corporate job self. 

 

Over the pandemic, I went through a period of self reflection and from that, decided to leave my job to recharge. I hadn’t touched watercolor in years at that point due to the demands of working at a startup while raising very young kids, but one thing led to another and next thing I knew, I was opening up that palette again, getting traction on Instagram, and connecting with other artists. That experience led me to jumping into pursuing art full time, and I haven’t looked back since. 

 

 

2. What can you tell us about your work? What do you enjoy making, what materials do you enjoy using the most, and what is your process like?

 

I work mainly with watercolor, but I also create quite a bit in mixed media and gouache. In terms of subject matter, food illustrations are my first love. I especially love painting fruits (tomatoes are a top favorite) and baked goods. I get my inspiration from eating a lot of yummy foods that we are so blessed to be surrounded with living in the Bay Area and also from my travels - Japanese desserts, anyone? 

 

Thanks to my finance training, I have a more methodical process where I’m building a mental roadmap before I even get started. Watercolor has a way of doing its own thing though, so I’ve learned to keep whatever plans flexible. Another thing I’ve learned about my process is simply to trust it. So many pieces seem to go wrong initially, but 9 out of 10 times, when I push through that feeling of wanting to abandon the piece, it ends up being just as it should.

 

 

3. We're excited for your upcoming family-friendly Family Art Series at ARCH, what can you tell us about the series? What can students expect from the class? What's unique about this class series? Can you speak a little bit about your previous experience teaching at ARCH?

 

I am beyond excited about this series. Making art as a family is so close to my heart, and I know from personal experience how meaningful that time together can be. Thanks to ARCH Supplies, we get to push out this concept of a parent/child art series, which I feel like is desperately lacking in the art workshop space, especially for families with older kids.

 

This is a 3-part series that will be happening over consecutive Sundays, and it will be focused on different styles of food illustration. We’ll have some modern/loose pieces, use finer details to explore realism, and finally, we will get out some of my favorite mixed media mediums to create vibrant pieces with pops of texture. My goal is to showcase the flexibility of a genre as well as the many different looks that the same palette of watercolor can create (or support in creating).

 

What I love about teaching at ARCH is the feeling of art as part of a community. I love the intimate setting, the diversity of the students, and the focus that ARCH has on providing a wide range of artmarking so accessible to its community members. 

 

 

4. Who are some of your favorite artists and/or what are some of your favorite styles of art?

 

Kids of all ages are hands down my favorite artists. They have such boundless creativity, and their art feels so uninhibited and organic. Most times when I’m working with children, I’m learning a ton myself about new combinations of color, storytelling through art, and looking at objects using nontraditional lenses. Their minds really work in the most highly artistic ways! 

 

Instagram is also another source where I’ve discovered some of the most talented artists. Ohn Mar Win (@ohn_mar-win), Carolyn Gavin (@carolynj), Ian Sidaway (@isidaway) are ones that come to mind immediately. 

 

My favorite style of art is very much rooted in watercolor, especially botanical and landscapes. I recently visited The Foster Museum in Palo Alto, which houses a collection of art by Tony Foster who documents his incredible outdoor adventures in equally mind blowing ways using watercolor. I highly recommend that everyone go visit the museum (free admission!)  I found the work, the mission, and the artist - all of it! - to be hugely inspiring.

 

 

5. Have any future art/career goals, teaching goals, or other creative aspirations that you'd like to share or are excited about?

 

One of the main reasons I teach is because I have a deep desire to showcase that anyone can watercolor/make art, and especially important, that you don’t need a lot of supplies to get started - or even very expensive ones! So this is definitely an area I want to continue focusing on, and it brings me so much personal joy to connect 1:1 with other budding artists. 

 

Other things on my list to work on is this YouTube channel that I keep on getting the occasional request for, but just unfortunately haven’t had the chance to prioritize. Lastly, a personal watercolor goal is to break into landscape painting! 

 

6. Any advice for young artists?

 

Be a sponge! What I learned later in my life is that things you learn and experience really can be applied in the most unexpected ways. Dabble in everything that seems interesting and even in some things that don’t. It always pays off in some way in the end. 

 

 

7. Where can people see and find out more about you and your work?

 

Instagram is where people are discovering me and where I’m most connected with the community right now. My IG handle is @montuethree. Please visit me and feel free to drop me a line! I’m always happy to connect!

 

Thank you!!!