As an artist, I have both the advantages and disadvantages of being mainly self-taught. Ever since early childhood, I have been a relentless and incessant doodler, but I did not actually start to paint, or to think of myself as an artist, until after graduating from college (1966), where I pursued studies in chemistry and psychology. After college, I continued my education in psychology, and have made counseling and teaching my principal careers. I started to paint as a young adult in Ghana, West Africa, while teaching psychology at the University of Ghana, and studying ritual medicine with Bezaleel Crawffey, a Ghanaian native healer who used both painting and sculpture as expressive tools for healing both physical and psychic illness. In those early years, I painted mainly with temperas on plywood or paper, but I have gradually shifted over to oils (on canvas) as the principal medium for my work. At first, I painted mainly mandalas, which would evolve slowly over many weeks or months, and I understood painting more as a form of meditation than as a vehicle for self expression (or political commentary). I generally paint under conditions of natural light, whether outdoors or in my studio, and using both brushes and palette knives. Particularly during late autumn and winter, I worship sunlight.
In addition to painting, I work as a psychologist in private practice and participate in the Guild of Accessible Practitioners, a nonprofit organization of mental health practitioners that I founded in 1995. I also taught for 32 years, from 1978 through 2010, in the Counseling & Psychology Program at Lesley University.
I understand my art both as silent and solitary counterpoint to the intensely verbal, interpersonal processes that I engage in as a psychotherapist and teacher; and as reflection and commentary on the complex, multi-leveled, and often conflicting or contradictory forces that I experience in myself and in the world. In my art, I seek to create a sense of balance and harmony from what at first appearance seems like clutter, imbalance and disharmony. Background weaves in and out with foreground, colors clash, wind becomes water, trees become buildings, symbol becomes object. But somewhere within busy-ness and complexity, stillness and simplicity can sometimes be found.
Jeffrey M. Fine