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Michigan artist draws inspiration from century-old dairy farm living

Ashley Messing-Kennedy for Progressive Dairy Published on 17 June 2019
Jerry, Andrea, Jericho and Izadore Jorgensen

“I think cows in general are beautiful creatures. I easily get inspired by personalities, coloring, spots, wrinkles or folds, if they have fluffy ears or long eyelashes, droopy eyes or nose freckles – the list goes on. I love specific details that will grab your attention within seconds.”

–Andrea Jorgensen 

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Andrea Jorgensen always had an interest in art. She would take an art class whenever she could. But she didn’t grow up on a farm. Her father was employed at one of the General Motors’ plants in the state of Michigan, and her mother worked as a dental office manager. Although Andrea and her now-husband, Jerry, went to the same high school, they didn’t know each other. 

Andrea Jorgensen

When Andrea and Jerry met, she was going to college in New York, and she received a social media notification that he tagged her in something. Jerry, to this day, says it was a “butt dial.” Regardless of whether it was an accident or on purpose, this started a long-distance relationship between the two. Almost four years later with two kids in tow, it’s clear things turned out well for them. Little did she know, marrying this farmer would open up a whole new world of art for her when she moved to their 93-year-old family farm in Webberville, Michigan. 

“Art and being creative comes easily for me, so I really enjoy all aspects of it,” Andrea says. “As far as painting with acrylics on canvas, I’ve only been doing that for three and a half years. Jerry had been out of town for a while, and I decided I would surprise him with a painting. Ever since then, my passion for painting grew, and people started to take an interest in my work.” 

Aloha

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Today, if you go to her second floor farmhouse studio, you will see her working on anywhere from two to four paintings. Since paintings are done in stages, Andrea will be jumping between several projects in different stages at the same time. 

“I am a one-woman show here,” Andrea says. Often, you can find her prepping canvases, completing different stages of multiple paintings, running to get supplies, bubble wrapping or boxing up painting, shipping paintings or editing reference photos. 

“I love to walk around the farm,” she says. “I love looking at the cows and their curious demeanors. I love all the babies and checking out their color patterns. I love all the contrasting colors of the red barns, green grass and blue skies. I’ve lived in towns where the houses were side by side, and you just can’t compare that to country living.”

cow artwork

On Andrea’s Facebook page or Instagram feed, you will see she has a strong, interactive following. She is best known for her time-lapse videos, showing how she paints her signature brush stroke backgrounds and the animal portrait. Monthly, she hosts a contest where followers submit photos that follow a theme. Andrea then picks a winner who receives a free painting. 

The online audience who follows Andrea and her artwork, called Artwork by APJ, are often involved in agriculture and cover the globe. “Most of the time, I feel like a small fish in the ocean. Then I have different encounters with people who keep me inspired to continue painting,” she says. “I had a girl from Brazil come to my booth last year at World Dairy Expo. She didn’t speak English, but her translator told me she followed my Instagram. For a second, I thought for sure she had me mistaken for someone else. Here I am, painting animals for fun and this girl from South America wants my autograph. I’ve never been more flattered in my life.” 

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Antoine

Right now with two young children, Andrea is only doing commission work. But once her kids are in school, she wants to get more involved in painting. She hopes her audience will be stronger and more excited than ever. Andrea would love to have paintings available for purchase in addition to continuing her commission jobs. The uniqueness of her style makes her stand out in a pool of extremely talented artists in the world of agriculture. Watch out for her to continue to share the beauty and artistry of cows in her one-of-a-kind style.  end mark

Ashley Messing-Kennedy is a freelance writer and dairy farmer in Bad Axe, Michigan. 

PHOTO 1: Jerry and Andrea Jorgensen have two young children, Jericho and Izadore. Photo provided by Andrea Jorgensen.

PHOTO 2: Andrea says she is a “one-woman show” and has big plans for her artwork down the line. Photo by Laura Finley of Piper View Designs.

PHOTO 3: Andrea names each painting. She dubbed this one Aloha. Photo provided by Andrea Jorgensen.

PHOTO 4: This was Andrea’s artwork display for the 2018 World Dairy Expo. Photo provided by Andrea Jorgensen.

PHOTO 5: Andrea painted Antoine for her daughter’s playroom. Photo provided by Andrea Jorgensen.

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