Jean Allemeier Boot captures solace in nature

jean allemeier boot preserved

Jean Allemeier Boot captures solace in nature

PRESERVED! Artist Interview Series

On a warm, sunny morning in late May, Jean Allemeier Boot sat on a bench in Roselle Park. She faced a wetland alive with birdsong and glowing with the vibrant greens of spring.

Preserved! Artist Jean Allemeier Boot

Before her stood an easel and the beginnings of her snapshot of this landscape: a crimson oil underpainting capturing the values—the relative light and dark parts—of the scene. That underpainting will later help tie together the colors she adds in.

“I try to be true to what I see,” Boot said. “I love the early spring when there are so many greens.”

Boot specializes in drawing, oil painting and intaglio printing, preferring to capture natural landscapes en plein air. She finds a solace in nature that moves her to capture and communicate it through her drawings and paintings.

“It’s not just a love of nature, but it’s a need to be out here,” Boot said. “There is a tranquility that I gain from being out in the natural world, and I hope to express that through my work.”

Boot began drawing at a young age, but did not consider pursuing art professionally until much later in her life. She credits a high school teacher for an interest in science that led her to study medical technology in college. She began a career working in a hospital microbiology laboratory while she raised her family. But art never left her; she continued to practice and took classes as a hobby.

“Woodland Poem X,” an intaglio print by Jean Allemeier Boot

Eventually, Boot realized she wanted to explore her hobby more seriously.

“There was something there that just drew me and continued to pull me until I couldn’t resist any longer and decided this is what I want to do, this is my passion,” Boot said.

She went back to school to hone her skills and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Aquinas College. Now, art is Boot’s profession. She spends her time in nature, seeking out pleasing compositions and relishing in the challenge of committing her unique perspective to canvas, paper or copper plate.

“I’m amazed at the incredible variety found in nature—the endless unique arrangement of forms, tones, colors and textures,” Boot said. “I want to convey this captivating arrangement and impart a sense of that moment in time, with the light in that particular place.”

Boot thinks the Preserved! program is a perfect fit for her because it allows her to channel her passion for nature and art into a cause for protecting it.

“It is so important me to preserve these lands from development—to have them now and for the future,” Boot said. “(With Preserved!,) I can be in these favorite areas, these nature preserves, and I can do my artwork and it’s for a good cause.”

Protecting nature means saving the landscapes she feels so inspired by, as well as the places she goes to find peace.

“When I feel frustrated and I need a release, I go out and walk and that takes care of it,” Boot said. “Something washes over me, my mindset is different and everything is right in the world again.”

Catch new works by Boot inspired by Land Conservancy of West Michigan natural areas at the Preserved! gallery openings and exhibits in October. Learn more here.

“Roselle Park near Sunset II,” an oil painting by Jean Allemeier Boot

Marie Orttenburger
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