Jennifer Lamontagne has always been interested in art. The 26-year-old painter, sculptor, and embroiderer, of Quincy, enrolled in lessons in middle school and graduated with a BFA in painting from the University of New Hampshire in 2014. But it wasn’t until recently — after a hiatus from art making while she balanced a full-time job — that Lamontagne dove back into painting and picked up embroidery again. “It was something that was really important to me — I was really missing it a lot,” she says. She now shares her work on Instagram, as @lamont.artist, and spoke to the Globe about color, shape, and form in her art.
Q. Do you have a preferred medium — painting, embroidery, or sculpture?
A. Traditionally, I was doing more painting, because that’s what I majored in. But right now, I’m transitioning a little bit to embroidery. I’m always going to keep up all the different mediums. I think that they really help inform each other.
I have in the works a watercolors series and some oil painting series that I’m going to start to help me compose my embroideries, especially since embroidery takes a really long time. Embroidery has a different feel to it — it’s a lot slower and more methodical than painting is.
I think that those other mediums will help me put together a cohesive image to start with, or at least they will give me a good place to go.
Q. You use a lot of bright, bold hues in your work. How do you determine your color schemes?
A. I just pick out colors that I really like, and that I think are pretty, and then I start. With my embroideries so far, I haven’t really done any planning for them, but I do try to do a little bit of embroidery on each edge first. As a general rule, when you’re making art, you don’t want to focus on one little section at a time and build out, because when you do that, your piece won’t work in a really cohesive way. Instead, you want to work the whole surface, but it’s a little bit harder to do that with embroidery, so I try working on one section, then moving to another and kind of jumping around the whole surface as I fill it in.
One thing that has always been a big part of my art making is that I’ll draw or paint something and then I’ll scrape it down and then I’ll paint again on that surface, and scrape it down again. So with my embroideries, I find myself taking out a lot of stitches if it isn’t coming together in one piece. With one of my latest embroideries, I think I took out about a square inch of work just because it wasn’t making sense.
Q. How do you explore shape and form and lines in your art?
A. I find myself doing a lot of drawing in my work, and I kind of group embroidery into drawing. Even when I’m doing my oil paintings, a lot of times, I’ll use my palate knife to scrape out a shape and to draw lines into what I’m doing. I also use pencil and charcoal in my paintings to kind of lay some foundation work — I think that a big piece of what I do is a give and take.
I’ve found sometimes in the past, I’d get kind of complacent with a painting, or with something that I’m making, and it becomes too precious. When it becomes too precious, that’s a bad place for me, because then I’m not really pushing myself, I’m not trying new things, and I’m not pushing my boundaries. I’m kind of staying in this safe space of, “Oh, I know how to make this and I’m good at something to keep doing it.” And I don’t want to fall into that. Often, if I’m making something, even if I love this little piece, I’ll force myself to destroy it and redo it. More often than not, when I do that, the next shape, line, and texture that comes is so much better.Kaya Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Kaya_Noelle.