Wednesday, February 06, 2013

An Appreciation of Jenny Hunter Groat

Jenny Hunter Groat is my mentor. Although she has passed, I write in the present tense. I know her spirit will continue to be the guiding light of my life as an artist. I have only been in Jenny's physical presence three times and each has a color in my mind. The two-day workshop on Notan, the Japanese design principle of light and dark, in Boston in 1985 are the colors we worked with—black and white and gray. The week-long retreat/workshop called Knowing/Not Knowing at Green Gulch Zen Center in California in 1988 is the green of the California woods. And the afternoon my family and I spent with Jenny and her husband Pete in 2003 is golden. Jenny herself is a white light—a combination of all the colors—drawing strength and love from every experience regardless of whether we would define it as good or bad.

I am writing this for myself because because I need to honor Jenny, for those of you who knew her to share your sadness at her passing and the comfort and inspiration she gave us all, and for those who didn't know her because you need to know her. You need to know her courage and her love—for Pete,

for her animals,

for her students, her fellow artists, for every one and every thing on this earth.

You need to know her work, her probing mind and endless curiosity, and her ability to find peace through trial, joy through work, and to follow her heart and her soul wherever it led her.

Jenny was an artist in every way—in movement,

with pen,

with brush,

with paper,

with erasers,

with words,

in teaching,

and in life.

I hope you have time to visit some of the following sites to see the fullness and richness of her life. Everything she did was embodied with the spirit that we all love and will carry with us. Thank you Jenny for everything you gave us and thank you Pete for being her partner and support and sharing her with us.

Jenny on Saatchi Online. The About section eloquently tells of her work and her life and there is portfolio of her paintings.

Jenny Hunter Groat: Abstractionist on Artspan. A great collection of her work. Don't miss the Dance Archive.

Richard Jett's short film of Jenny:

Jenny's Queen Goose Cartes de Visite from Planet Pictia

An earlier post of mine about Jenny


Carol Chapel said...

Thank you Susan for the tribute to Jenny. I too will miss her. And my heart goes out to Pete. Have you already posted this on Facebook? I hope, if not, that you will.

Velma Bolyard said...

susan, though her name sounds familiar, i never met her before, but i love the film and watching her paint. thank you for that.

Unknown said...

Oh, Susan, you said it so well! Jenny has been, and will continue, to be an influence in so many lives in so many ways! From her I learned to accept my own sensitivities and to be comfortable in my own creative skin. Somehow, I knew, as I sat next to you so many years ago at the "Knowing, not Knowing" retreat so many years ago, that our lives would never be the same. Thank you for saying it all so eloquently here!

Diane Trimble said...

I didn't know Jenny at all, or even of her, so I appreciated knowing about her many talents and your friendship. I loved seeing the photo of her "en danse" and posting that wonderful little film was such a delightful introduction to her personality. My favorite part: "...I wasn't feeling well... until I started it---ha ha!!" I am still smiling. Thank you so much.

Janis Doucette said...

Wonderful to read! Thanks for sharing!

flowers said...

Thank you Susan for this special tribute. Jenny encouraged me to fight through my fear of carving and to keep at it. She will always be a special lady to me. I carve to this day thanks to her.

flowers said...

Thank you Susan for this special tribute. Jenny encouraged me to fight through my fear of carving and to keep at it. She will always be a special lady to me. I carve to this day thanks to her.

mgold said...

Thanks for your beautiful words regarding Jenny. The images and text really give a full image of her. I, too, was a student of Jenny's and she remains an important influence in my work and approach to making art. I'm writing a remembrance of Jenny possibly for Letter Arts and it would benefit much from the images you included. Any chance you have hi res pix? Thanks again for your tribute. Nice to see all the folks who she affected share their memories. I can be reached at work at Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Im only sering this post now after looking at "Lions Roar" article that spike of Jenny and Pete. In the early 60's I took modern dance on Clement St from Jenny. Her joy in the body and generosity as a teacher was an inspiring gift. I ran into her at Green Gulch in the 80's by grace not chance. A belived teacher. Thanks for your words and images.

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