About the Artists
We are two artists, Jami and Fred Wise, who divide our time between our two hometowns - Cleveland, Tennessee (Jami) and Atlanta, Georgia (Fred). We met when a mutual friend dragged Jami over to Fred’s apartment to see his art. She bought two paintings, but declared that she didn’t want to get any more because she didn’t want “a house filled with Fred.” We have been married for nearly twelve years and share our lives with Jami’s mom, Fred’s dad, and two tabby cats, Charlotte and Emily.
Though we are both creative spirits, our art is different. Read more below to learn about us.
Jami Moss Wise
I'm a farm-grown Southerner and self-taught artist. My inspiration comes from growing up in the country, surrounded by my grandmother's flowers. Moss Rose Art Farm is named after my grandparents, Buel Moss and Blanche Rose Moss. They owned the farm In Tennessee where I grew up and where they raised cattle and chickens and grew most of the vegetables we ate. Our barn cats and two dogs roamed everywhere. We drank raw milk from our cows before it was trendy and didn't know that eating "locally" - from our yard, that is - was good for us.
"Moss rose" is also another name for portulaca, a flower that grows particularly well in our Tennessee climate, and it's also one of the first flowers I was able to cultivate with any success. I'm not really much of a gardener, but I always have a few flowers in bloom around my house and some tomatoes or herbs in my backyard.
I've been watercoloring for about ten years now, trying different paints, papers, colors, and ideas. Most of that time I worked for other people. Now, I've decided to work for myself, doing something I enjoy, and I hope you'll enjoy my work too!
My work has been shown and collected throughout the South. My collectors are drawn to my paintings and watercolors for their strength of composition, fresh lines, and innovative use of color.
I've been painting part- and full-time for over 30 years. Growing up outside Atlanta, I was the first in my family to go to college, then on to an MFA at the University of Georgia. Art is how I make sense of the world. As a child in a rural school, my constant drawing was treated as a behavioral problem. But it kept my spirits alive, and has been my constant bulwark ever since.
Though I paint both figurative and abstract work, my first love is for the human figure. I'm fascinated with how our bodies are put together and move through space. And so in my art, even when it's abstract, I'm always trying to make explicit the interior momentum within our bodies and our lives.
My oil and acrylic paintings typically begin with a rough sketch applied directly to the canvas. After that, I let go of any "plans" and follow the possibilities suggested by the materials and the current shape of my thinking. I use the same kind of high-quality brushes I bought just out of art school years ago, and my detailed brushwork is one of the distinctive features of my art.
Watercolors typically start with a pencil sketch. Though I use some standard-sized paper, I prefer to buy heavy cotton rag watercolor paper in large sheets and hand-tear pieces for each work individually. This technique creates a unique size and shape for each watercolor, one that dictates subject matter and the final form of the piece.
Art is what I do. As a chaplain I visited patients and drew while charting the visit; as a librarian I drew pushing the book truck through the stacks; sitting in a lecture or a meeting I draw. Everywhere I've lived, drawings cover the walls - paintings lie over paint. I've painted through joy and through grief. I've painted a prayer for my soul to not be eaten up. My art has drawn my life, and daily life makes my art—yellow light in ocean waves, a musician's tender care, color patterns like the depths of our hearts.