In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

One View

One View

A story by Karen Jelenfy from 2004-2017

One View, oil on canvas, 2017, 40x54"

My relationship with Maine has been a turbulent one. I came here as a middle-class wife, mother, teacher and artist in 2004. Now I'm no longer any of those things - only the artist has survived.

I am an older woman struggling to make ends meet. I paint and draw every day. I work seasonal jobs because that's all that is available to me despite my experience and education. I panic every winter, trying to afford the wood that heats my modest house. I am sinking slowly every year.

I can choose to make this struggle beautiful or ugly. In this painting, I chose beauty.

Although I am too poor to leave, I sometimes achieve escape velocity in my work.

Wherein I Try to Organize Loneliness, oil and acrylic on canvas, 45x64"
Don't Come Crawling, oil on canvas, 32x36"
Karen Jelenfy in her studio.
Incident, oil on canvas, 40x60"