Watercolor Wiz

While Jessica Schlegel's diverse artistic talents are clearly evident, her main love is found in watercolor paintings

Written by Alison Pappas  |  Photography by Jill Jasuta

Local watercolor artist Jessica L. Schlegel has been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember. After earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Salisbury University and later her master’s degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Jessica became a teacher for Dorchester County.

After seven years, she decided to leave her teaching career to pursue her passion as a full-time artist. This decision was, in part, prompted by a request from a local business to hand-paint wine glasses for them to resell. This request gave her the confidence that she could make a living from her artwork. Today, several stores across Delmarva sell Jessica’s painted wine glasses.

“I paint on traditional wine glasses, tall glasses, stemless, and pilsner glasses. Many of my wine glass designs are of similar Shore related themes that you’ll see in my paintings — such as flowers, coastal themes and bay area themes. My most popular ones are flip f lops, waves and sunflowers,” shared Jessica.

While she adores painting on wine glasses, Jessica considers her main love to be watercolor paintings. She finds inspiration by traveling to local settings, including beaches, marshes and wineries, to capture scenes of realism, wildlife and nature.

“I know it’s not something that you typically associate with watercolors, but I love bold colors,” she expressed.

Through her involvement with Ocean City’s public art program, Jessica helped give new life to a few of the town’s utility boxes. Each box is sponsored by a family, local business or other sponsor. In addition to adding vibrance and color to the boxes she has painted, Jessica looks for ways to incorporate themes that relate to the sponsor. An example includes a Kite Loft-sponsored box, on which she painted a young girl running on the sand pulling along a colorful kite.

Jessica made a career change when she was commissioned to produce a series of hand-painted wine glasses for a local business.

Jessica poses with her studio cat, Toulouse, named after famed French artist Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.

This fall, Jessica is planning to bring back her paint night events, which she paused due to COVID. Through these events, she can combine her passion for art with her background in teaching.

“I love the teaching process, and that was one thing that really broke my heart about leaving the public school system,” Jessica expressed.

She continued, “I’ve always been one to encourage people to form their own creativity. For the paint nights, most of the final paintings end up looking the same, but I encourage people to make it their own if they’d like.”

Jessica’s hand-painted wine glasses and notecards are available online, as well as at several retailers throughout the Shore, including Sister’s in Berlin. You can find her paintings, which can also be ordered as prints, on her website at JLSchlegelArt.com. In addition, Jessica accepts commissions, but is typically booked up six months in advance. CS

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