Jesse Drake has been hiking, living and painting in Arizona for decades. Her lifelong interest in the southwest and fascination with natural forms and desert colors developed during her childhood living on a cattle ranch in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains.
Painting was just a hobby for her when she was a professional news reporter at sixteen. She subsequently branched out into commercial copy writing, editing for other authors and finally writing her own books.
She switched her focus and received a Bachelor of Science in Urban Design at Arizona State University and taught drawing and design in the College of Architecture at ASU for more than a decade. She earned certification by the American Institute of Certified Planners and worked as an Architectural Renderer and Urban Designer for years before dedicating herself full-time to painting.
From her early specialty of watercolors in architectural rendering, it was a natural progression to begin her fine arts career in transparent watercolors on a variety of professional papers. After several years working exclusively in that medium Drake expanded her proficiency to acrylics on canvas, maintaining a similar translucent look of her former watercolors by applying many thin glaze layers of paint to develop and deepen the color and richness of the work.
Drake’s interest in paintings of boulders and water led to a series of paintings of stone quarries around the country and it was on one of these quarry trips to Vermont that she discovered slate as a natural substrate for her botanical drawings done in pencil surrounded with gilding. This unique art was featured in a year long solo show at the Slate Valley Museum in New York and the piece Cholla was taken into their permanent collection.
Drake continues to experiment with combinations of materials and techniques in her work. Her paintings are held in public and private collections around the country.