Endlessly Inspiring Noosa
Jeanette Smith has the extraordinary ability to produce art that you can feel. Her latest body of work sees her creative observations become works that transport you to Noosa and surrounds. Carlie Wacker dives into the world of Noosa artist Jeanette Smith aka Jen Jay Art.
When you look at the work of our front cover artist, you can taste the salt air and feel the energy of beachgoers and bathers soaking up the sun and sea. Jeanette Smith’s trademark palette knife impasto style of art is so textured and tactile you cannot help but want to explore further. So, let’s go on a little journey and discover more about this award-winning artist that calls Noosa home.
Jeanette’s love of art was ignited after winning a colouring-in competition at the age of eight, but she chose to travel the world rather than study fine arts which led her on a slightly different, yet still very creative path for a while.
When she returned from her travels heightened with architecture, culture and style, she embarked on a career in interior design and project management and built a very successful business servicing clients in Sydney’s North Shore and the Northern Beaches. Clients would also commission her to create a hero piece for the interior space she was designing.
After starting a family and having two sons close together Jeanette decided to go back to studying Fine Art and Design at The NSW University of Newcastle and furthered her degree into Education which she said opened a whole gamut of creative endeavours and experiences.
“Teaching Fine Art and Design became my world,” she says. “I tutored students to only discover I learnt from them; and I’m still active in teaching private lessons in my studio.
“I also do art workshops in life drawing and painting as well as paint-and-sip groups for private and corporate clients.”
Jeanette relocated to Noosa in 2016 in a bid to reclaim the childhood holiday memories from the many visits she enjoyed over the past 20 years, and a new creative chapter was born.
“The energy and buzz I receive from Noosa Beach and National Park with hinterland surrounds, not only inspires me but the creative community helps feed my soul,” Jeanette says.
“Noosa is a creative incubator! The art world here and community is strong, refreshing, and inspirational.”
This is where we find Jeanette now living her best art-filled life as Jen Jay Art.
“For my resources and inspiration, everything is within 30 minutes to an hour away,” she said. “I have a weekly ritual of people-watching and sketching or painting on Noosa Main Beach, photographing the sunset at the woods or first light in Noosa National Park.
“The backdrop is alluring – the turquoise ocean, timeless fun of basking and relaxing in the sun and sand or breathing in the fresh riches of Noosa National Park plus exploring this paradise – its coves and bays.
“I’m lucky to get my bucket full everyday of creative substance which I bring back to my studio in Peregian Springs.”
Her people watching and space rituals are endless inspiration for this joyful artist.
Our cover artwork Little Cove is part of her Coastal Collection and is undeniably that little piece of paradise beaming from its secluded sandy pocket cove.
“Little Cove has always been my favourite swimming spot,” she said. “After a busy week and the end of a successful holiday season, I was craving a swim. So off I trekked to Little Cove without my camera, sketchbook and paints.
“Feeling a little bummed out by forgetting my materials that day, I worked hard to visually record and hold all the sensory experiences that were heightened that day. I reminded myself of a subject I taught to my students on sense of place, to focus on the sound, colour and textures.
“I floated with my head back in the water letting the soft small waves drift my buoyancy. The waves were crystal clear and slowly rolled smooth, hardly making a sound. The colour of the water was at its very turquoise best. I sat under the shady pandanus and watched the few people as if they were a mirage towards the water. Breathing in all this goodness and feeling blessed this is my backyard!
“I thought if I cannot bottle this to share… I will have to paint it!”
And that she did – the result is a teleportation to Little Cove.
It is invigorating, you can taste the salty air, hear and feel the water lapping your feet, and be transported to a place of serenity. This is Little Cove Noosa!
Visit Jeanette in her studio as part of Noosa Open Studios.
Friday 1 to Sunday 3 October;
Tuesday 5 October;
Friday 8 to Sunday 10 October.
97 Pavilion Drive, Peregian Springs
Find out more about Noosa Open Studios on page 128.
Commissions available by appointment. View Jeanette’s art at Hearts and Minds Art or the Noosa Sebel Reception, Hastings Street Noosa Heads, at Noosa Open Studios or online at