No one is born a master artist


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Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel detail

When I get overwhelmed by the amount of masterpieces in the world, from the vast repository of master works made through the centuries, to the incredible dedication and talent of people working today in the arts, it can be tempting to say “What can I do?” and “How can I ever compare?”

When I feel this way, it helps to remember two points.

First of all, the impact of art is not measured by technical perfection alone. As a realist artist, it can be tempting to say “If I just get better with my technique, learn more about color theory, or master light…then my art will be truly impactful”. And while it will certainly IMPROVE the quality of my art to learn new things, art is not about how perfectly you can copy reality.

It is also about the human impulse, the recording of your feelings and sentient thought, the capturing of the energy and imagination of the artist. This can be done sometimes by just a few lines (Think of Matisse’s ink drawings!) So sometimes it’s not about the technical brilliance–it’s about tapping into your heart and your emotions and letting that come out onto your art.

Mattisse Drawing

Second, I like to remind myself that art is a journey and each artist goes through different stages of development. We learn and we grow through each phase of life. And no artist was born knowing how to create a masterpiece. They all studied, practiced, failed, tried again, and again, and by doing more and more and refining their process, eventually they were able to gain the skills and confidence to produce the beautiful works we love today, like the Sistine Chapel. Do you think Michaelangelo could have executed that at 5 years old? No–he had to learn the skills to do this.

So, when you are feeling down on yourself, just remember art is a skill just like anything else that takes practice. It’s up to you to decide how much time, energy and learning you would like to put into it. I promise you the more energy you put in, the more amazing results you’ll get!

How will you further your studies this week?

For those interested, I have a course you can take here!

Have a wonderful week,


Venus, Aphrodite and the Queen of the Sea print release!

Dear Friends, 
     In honor of The Queen of the Sea print release, I wanted to share with you a mini history of Aphrodite and Venus, whose legends were some of the inspiration behind my painting.

     A mythical goddess of love and born of the ocean, Aphrodite 
of Greece and later called Venus by the Romans.  
Depictions of the birth of Aphrodite are among the oldest European mythological paintings of which we have records. Apelles of Kos, one of the most renowned of the great painters of ancient Greece, probably painted Aphrodite Anadyomene (above), in which the goddess Aphrodite rises from the sea. 

The Birth of Venus by Botticelli (above) is probably the most famous depiction of Venus. Standing in an over-sized clamshell, Aphrodite has been born as a fully-grown adult, her long tresses blowing in the breeze.

I actually was able to see this painting in person, as it is in the Uffizi museum in Florence, Italy.  While I studied painting there at the Florence Academy of Art, I was able to see it in person, and it is quite beautiful! Pictures don’t do it justice.

Blowing Aphrodite to the shore are Zephyros, the west wind, harbinger of Spring, and Aura the personification of lighter breeze. At the right, welcoming Aphrodite to land with clothing is one of the Horai representing the season Spring, and there are Spring flowers blowing across the painting. They are probably on the shore of the island of Cyprus, with a wood inland. 
There have been countless interpretations of Venus and Aphrodite since then, and it still serves and an inspiration today!

Alexandre Cabanel’s painting The Birth of Venus  brought him great success, at the Salon of 1863. An unashamedly romantic-academic interpretation, this painting stole the Salon of 1863, and was bought by Napoleon III for his personal collection. 

It is worth mentioning too that Venus is one of our planets within our solar system, and can be seen as a bright star on clear nights!  In fact, last winter I did a guided moon walk (where you walk in a park by the light of the moon) and was able to see Venus sparkling high above us!

My own preparatory sketch and then painting, The Queen of the Sea, was inspired by a dream.  I awoke one morning with the very clear image of a woman with reddish-blonde curls rising from the waves, covered in the shimmering costume of blue waves and foam, with a spirit of royalty.  I painted directly from my imagination after only doing a preparatory sketch in colored pencil first.  I was a bit nervous having no reference photos or model for the piece, but decided to go with it and was happy I did, as I think painting directly really captured the emotion of the moment.

Above is the preparatory sketch, still available.  Once finished, the large painting measured 30″ x 40″ as an original oil on canvas, and quickly sold.  I do, however, have limited edition prints of this piece!  
The print is an edition of 100, and is hand signed and numbered by me individually.  The print is on 11″ x 15″ paper and is acid free, archival and velvety pure color texture.
To order a print for yourself or for a gift, click the image below!

I hope this gave you a bit of inspiration, and historical background to the changing names of the original Queen of the Sea!  

Venus, Aphrodite and the Queen of the Sea  print release from contemporary realist artist Jessica Libor based in Philadelphia.

In other news, I’m developing the holiday line for my art, so stay tuned! I will let you know when everything is ready!

Have a beautiful week, and sending you love, light, and creativity!

Visual Artist

October Inspiration


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The leaves are falling and turning gorgeous colors, but the cold weather has begun to settle in.  The air is crisp and at night you may smell bonfires drifting on the air under the stars.  We are in the heart of autumn!
This has always been for me a time to turn inward, and take stock of how my creativity and artistic goals for the year are going. This year has obviously been very different and challenging, but I take comfort in the fact that we can control our own little corner of the world…for me, my home and studio.

By making my time at home and in the studio as comforting and pleasurable as I can, I create a little oasis of respite from the world. The warmth of lit candles adds a pretty glow, pretty rocks I pick up on my daily walks are arranged artfully, and incense fills the air. I listen to lilting music to put me in a good mood (current fave playlist is French Cafe on Spotify!).

I’ve been taking rambling walks near my studio and marveling at the golden leaves falling against the blue sky. So much beauty in every phase of the year! In my studio, I’ve begun working on a series of paintings for a solo show in April called Wildlove. More details to come as we get closer to the date!

I’ve also been focusing on something quite different, abstract pieces for a pre-holiday collection along with a line of wearable clothing. More details to come this month!

In other news, The Mythical Sea collection of available work on my website will be retiring soon. There are still a few pieces available, so take a look and see if you would like to snatch anything before it’s gone! Click here to shop.

Until next week, wishing you gentle and peaceful days,

Who were the Pre-Raphaelites? Inspiration behind the upcoming exhibit, The New Pre-Raphaelites


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I’m very excited to be curating The New Pre-Raphaelites exhibition with Era Contemporary Gallery, opening virtually on September 25. Tickets are free to attend and you can register here!

There are 40 artists in the show and over 70 artworks available. This is truly an epic exhibit with some of the leaders in the contemporary realism art scene exhibiting. I’m so honored and humbled to be working with these amazing artists and people! I also have a few artworks in the show, seen below. Please contact me at if you are interested in any of these pieces.

(Above) The Call, oil on panel, 36″ x 48″, by Jessica Libor
“Wonder”, oil on canvas, 72″ x 48″, by Jessica Libor
Transformation, oil on canvas, 36″ x 72″, by Jessica Libor

But who were the original Pre-Raphaelites, and what do they have to do with the exhibition today? The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a tight knit small group of artists working in England in the mid 1800s, who had a potent effect on the art scene and paved the way for Art Nouveau. Thier style was characterized by a sincere romanticism, use of costuming and storytelling, and a reverence for beauty and nature. The upcoming contemporary show, The New Pre-Raphaelites, is a collection of art by artists living today who are inspired by these same ideals.

To listen to more of my personal inspiration in relation to the Pre-Raphaelites and a more in depth history lesson, I invite you to listen to my episode 21 on The Inspired Painter Podcast all about this unique art movement.

Who were your favorite painters of the Pre-Raphaelites? I will have to say for me it is John Millais, the artist who painted the famous Ophelia. It epitomizes everything about the Pre-Raphaelites that I love: nature, costuming, an emotional mythical story, and beautiful craftsmanship.

The New Pre-Raphaelites exhibition through Era Contemporary is up all fall; visit for more details.

Jessica Libor

The Mythical Sea: Virtual Exhibition and Artist Talk for Charity


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sea nymph 1

In this virtual event, attendees will get a first look at the newest collection of art by Jessica Libor, inspired by the ocean and its stories and fairy tale lore.

This ticket is your reservation to attend the LIVE, VIRTUAL event held over Zoom, and using 3D technology to bring you the experience of actually being in a gallery room with the new artwork! All work will be inspired by the ocean, incorporating both the natural power of the ocean, and also gem-like pieces filled with silver leaf and cool tones evoking the mythical tales of mermaids and sirens.

10% of the sale of all tickets will be donated to Ocean Conservancy, a wonderful nonprofit that works to create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.

Attendees will receive a hand-signed by the artist postcard of the show image, as well as a generous discount on the artwork featured.

Wear your mermaid or beach inspired outfit and join us for this live interactive event in the arts!

Purchase your ticket by clicking here. 

Jessica Libor is an award winning artist from Philadelphia, PA. Find out more about her at

Jessica Libor featured on The Art Blog


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I’m excited to share that two pieces from my recent pastel collection from my show “Enchanted Portals” has been featured on The Art Blog, on their series “Artists in the Time of Coronavirus”.
Several pieces from this collection are still available through my shop here.

The article includes my statements on the work:

Each portrait revealed is a different woman, and these drawings are inspired by the idea of the selfie as a self portrait. The enchanted portal today is technology, and through technology we can curate the way that we are seen, in the same way that artists in other centuries flattered their subjects or imagined a different surrounding for them. I was particularly inspired to do this series because of the impact on millions of quarantined individuals. With nowhere to go socially, how wdo we as individuals still express our creative personalities through our styling? Does it still matter to get dressed up if no one will see you? How does creating a selfie with your cellphone mimic the process of creating a work of art? Many things are the same: choosing the elements, composition, lighting, colors, and subject matter. In many ways, the selfie and the self-portrait are the same thing: the artist’s version of themselves that they want to reveal to the world. Through blending fantasy and reality, they can be perceived as who they aspire to be. How does creating an idealized fantasy world surrounding you create relief psychologically? Is it escapism, or creativity?

It is my belief that the self-portrait of today is the selfie—a way for any individual with a digital device to record their own existence in whatever way feels good to them. It is a way of asserting their presence in the world and reflects the human’s timeless desire to make a mark on society and the world: it is a way to be seen.

Stay well and have a wonderful week!


Jessica Libor

Artist, Reader, Writer Exhibition


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Hello friends, I am excited to let you know that my piece “Prima Donna”, is being exhibited at the Da Vinci Art Alliance for their exhibition “Artist, Reader, Writer II.”  This is a very unique exhibition that pairs the artwork of many different artists with a passage from literature of the artist’s choosing.  As for “Prima Donna”, I chose a passage from The Phantom of the Opera, as it reminded me of a scene from the story.


Prima Donna, oil and gold leaf on panel, by Jessica Libor


If you are interested in collecting this piece please send me an email at

Artist, Reader, Writer II is a DVAA Members-only exhibition that explores the relationship between the written word and visual art through an exercise of comparison. Each artist submitted two items: an original artwork of their own creation, and a short accompanying text displayed next to their work of art that is not of their own creation. The union formed between the two objects creates a new conceptual relationship, altering the experience of viewing artwork with the addition of written language. The relationships formed through these pairings offer context, juxtapose, balance, obscure, and generate new meaning.

DVAA gallery shot



The opening for the exhibition is on Wednesday, January 28th from 6 to 8pm at the Da Vinci Art Alliance, at 704 Catharine Street, Philadelphia.  The show is up until February 16th, so it’s a perfect art happening for Valentine’s day!  To learn more about the show and gallery, visit here.

The participating artists are as follows: Alessandra Stradella, Angelo Benedetto, Annie Stone, Arlene Solomon, Barbara B. Rosin, Barbara Dirnbach, Catherine Bancroft, David Deakin, Deirdre Doyle, Don Gordon, Eddy Rhenals, Edward W Keer, Eleanor Levie, Ellen Rosenberg, Erika Kuciw, Florence Weisz, Floyd Kelley, Gary Grissom, Gillian Cavoto, Gloria Klaiman, Harriet Hill, Irving Sears, Jennifer Brinton Robkin, Jessica Libor, Jill Cucci Smith, Jim Strickler, Joellyn Ross, Juli Snyder, Kenneth Veith, Kit Donnelly, Lauren J. Sweeney, Leslie K. Brill, Linda Dubin Garfield, Linnie Greenberg, Marilyn Stubblebine, Mario Nascati, Maryanne Buschini, Nancy E Cooke, Ona Kalstein, Patricia Mancini, Penelope Tsaltas Lisk, Phyllis Anderson, Polly Kooperman, Rachael Switalski, Reyna Howkins, Robert Zurer, Rosalind Bloom, Sally K. Eisenberg, Sam Koren, Sandi Neiman Lovitz, Sarah R. Bloom, Selene Nunez Cruz, Susan Cantor-Uccelletti, Susan M. Gordon, Ted Warchal, Tony Anthony, Vicente Ortiz Cortez, Willard Johnson, and William Timmins.

Podcast launch: The Inspired Painter with Jessica Libor


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I’m very excited to announce the launch of a podcast, “The Inspired Painter with Jessica Libor”.

If you’re an artist who wants to create an amazing and fulfilling career and life, this podcast is for you! I’ll be sharing inspiration that has worked for me and art-world insights and tips. My goal for this podcast is to help you feel in control of your art career and empowered to be the best artist you can be.

The podcast will be available on Podbean, Apple and Spotify.  I hope it brings you value!

With love, light and creativity,


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Visioncasting: How to plan your best year yet as an artist


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jess in gallery nature's daughters with kerasan logo

Hello my beautiful fellow creatives! I am so excited for this year. Are you excited? Isn’t it amazing that the future is in your hands, ready to be written?

I recently saw a post that said, “Your future lays before you like fresh fallen snow, take care the steps you take, for every step will show.” It’s SO true—every little thing we do in our life eventually compounds, and eventually the invisible will show itself, even if it is not obvious at first. The invisible work is so important, especially for us artists!

I am so grateful for everything that I was able to accomplish this year. I had a solo show which was very successful, in a beautiful gallery I was super proud of! I launched my first online course, began teaching as a college art professor, was featured in Beautiful Bizarre and other art publications, had my highest revenue year from my art so far, and fulfilled a lifelong dream of hiking in the redwoods! I made a painting about it too, as you can see below 🙂


“Solace,” oil and metal leaf on panel, by Jessica Libor (me!)

Libor, Solace

Although these things only take one sentence to write, they actually took months, and really years of action, to come to fruition.

For instance, my solo art exhibition took hundreds of hours to prepare. In the very un-glamorous privacy of my studio, I spent many late nights working away at details.

Nature's Daughters wall Jessica Libor

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Each decision to work on my painting instead of go out with friends or watch Netflix, compounded the results of my exhibition. This is just one example of how I got the results I did this year.

The online course took months of writing, filming and preparation before it launched. Likewise, I would not have been able to get a job as a college art professor had I not gone through years of schooling and getting my Master of Fine Arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Although the hard work can seem grueling while you’re in it, eventually you WILL see the results of your efforts (or non-efforts!).  And I don’t want you to think that I am bragging when I tell you this: it’s always an uphill battle for me to continually challenge myself and work on my long-term goals.


One book that really changed that this year was the book Deep Work by James Clear. This was actually a suggestion of Alessandra Maria, an artist I really respect who I actually interviewed on the blog earlier in the year. In Deep Work, the author talks about how distracted we are as a society, and generally as humans. He talks about the value of committing deeply to a task for a set amount of time, and entering the state of flow. When we get into deep work, that is when the really inspired artwork comes to fruition.

Below, one of my pieces from this year, “Fields of Gold,” oil and gold leaf on panel.

Fields of Gold, oil and silver leaf on panel, 11x14, by Jessica Libor 2019

This year I initiated methods of working that were blocks of time dedicated only to my artmaking. I wasn’t allowed to look at my phone or computer, get a cup of tea, or call or text anyone.

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I simply blocked off two hour sections of time and created intensely. And you know what? It was HARD. I struggled with it! Just like when you’re running an extra mile and your body protests because it isn’t used to it, my brain wasn’t used to such dedication (I know, it’s kind of embarrassing!)

I had the urge to go for a walk, check my email, text a friend, or otherwise distract myself from the pain of focus. Just like doing a math problem, my brain has to work extra hard when creating a realistic piece of art—getting the right values, colors and proportions. I could feel my brain stretching as I focused for these chunks of time.

Below, a brain-stretching artwork I finished, “The Butterflies,” oil and 23 karat gold leaf on panel.

(sm) The Butterflies, oil, gold leaf and paper on panel, 16x20, by Jessica Libor 2019

Even though it was hard, the results I got this year were far and away beyond what I had gotten in previous years. I created some of my favorite pieces. I remember one particular day, I blocked off a few hours to create. I got into such a state of flow that I did not realize that 6 hours had passed. I did not stop until the piece was complete. I was shocked that I was able to finish a large, technically detailed piece in just 6 hours. It’s probably my favorite piece this year! And it’s a physical piece of evidence of what you can do when you compress time and get into that focused state of flow. You are able to accomplish far more than you could imagine!

Below, “Darling,” the piece I finished in 6 hours of super intense focus!

Jessica_Libor_Darling_pastel on paper_30 x 35_ 2018

So as we step into the new year, ask yourself what you want to experience in your art career in the next 360 days, and even in the next decade, which is 3,600 days! Here are a few ideas with how to break that down. I have three steps for you that I believe will be helpful in casting your vision as you move into a new era of your artistic career.

  1. IDENTIFY WHAT YOUR DREAM CAREER LOOKS LIKE: The first step is to identify your wildest dreams: this is the WHAT. If anything WERE possible within your art career, what would that look like for you? Let go mentally of any circumstances holding you back as you imagine this. You may have a limiting thought that you are too old or too young for success, you don’t have enough time, you don’t live in the right place, you don’t have the funds to make the art…it could be anything negative that you have holding you back. Just temporarily suspend that limiting circumstance and imagine that it was not holding you back, but in fact, was an asset! Imagine how your art career would look like in its most ideal form. Where do you show your work? What artists do you show with? What kind of work do you make? How do you feel about the work that you make? How often do you work on your art? What kind of awards have you won? Are you teaching, or traveling anywhere? Where are you doing residencies? What kind of people support your art? How do you make money? (Although a topic for another post, selling your artwork is not the only way to make money as an artist: there is also teaching art, gaining a fan base on Patreon, selling lisences of your art, winning grants, doing commissions, doing public artworks, doing live events, and much more!) Write down the answers to the prompts, in vivid detail.
  2. IDENTIFY WHO YOU WANT TO BE: The next step is to identify WHO you are when you are the artist you described above. If all of your wildest dreams come true in your art career, who are you as that version of yourself? Does she get up at 6am and paint until noon? Or is she in the studio every day 9 to 5, like a regular job? Does she visit museums regularly, or go to exhibitions where she might meet people who could help her in her career? How does she think about the contribution that she is making through her art? Write it all down.
  3. IDENTIFY YOUR TOP THREE: The third step is to look at your dreams that you just wrote down and take within it your top 3 artistic goals that you would like to accomplish this year. EVEN if you think the goals would be IMPOSSIBLE to achieve within one year, I still want you to write them down. Why? Because when you identify a long term goal, even if it feels very lofty, you will strive to align yourself with that goal. You see, your brain is like a missile—when you put a destination in front of it, your amazing brain will look for ways to reach the goal. It works like magic! Eventually, even if it doesn’t happen within the first year, you will be aligned with your goal. Each day you’ll get a little closer if you keep it at the forefront of your consciousness. So take your top 3 goals, and write them very large somewhere you can see them in your studio. Look at them every day and be inspired!
  4. MAKE MINI GOALS: Once you have your top 3 goals, I want you to work on them one at a time. Take each goal and break it down into twelve mini-goals, one for each month. For instance, if one goal is to have a body of work you a really proud of within 2020, you can have a goal of making 3 amazing pieces per month that you are really proud of. This could overlap with a goal of applying to 100 shows or opportunities this year, which breaks down to only 12 applications per month, or 3 applications per week.
  5. BLOCK OUT TIME: Once you’ve made mini-goals for each month that support your top 5 goals, take out your calendar and block out the time you need each day to make it happen. Schedule out three months in advance, so you can build momentum. And then, be sure to show up and keep the promise to yourself to work on your goal. Remember it’s your invisible work or showing up that will create the reality of having your dreams come true!

I realize that when you’re trying to achieve new goals, old habits can be hard to overcome. That is because the brain is wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be as efficient as possible. This is great when we are in the wilderness, avoiding wild animals and the cold (pain), looking for fruits and berries and somewhere soft and safe to lie down (seeking pleasure), and looking for the shortest way to get there (being as efficient as possible).

These hardwired instincts are actually really good because they have kept us alive as the human race for centuries. However, in the modern world, we have to be aware of our instincts and how they can hold us back. You see, in the modern world, and more particularly as a modern artist, avoiding pain could look like procrastinating on a project because of the effort it takes.

Seeking pleasure could look like watching Netflix to escape your reality or snacking on things that aren’t optimal for our health because of the short term pleasure.

And, seeking the most efficient way possible could look like trying to get success before you’ve put in the work and made artwork you’re actually proud of. You see, we are no longer running from bears and foraging for berries to survive (well, most of us, anyway!) but those instincts are still there.

And if we plan from our pre-frontal cortex, which is the smart part of our brain that allows us to plan, rationalize, and create, then we can overcome these basic instincts while still appreciating them and thanking them for keeping us alive! We can transcend our most basic state by identifying our goals and dreams and working to achieve them.

And what is art all about if not a transcendence beyond ourselves?

Another thing I like to think about as an artist is your duty. If you have decided to be an artist, then you have a duty to express your vision to the world. The world needs to see your creations and will be a better place because of it. It is your sacred duty to fulfill that job that only you can do.

One last thought is to create a vision board that includes images of your top 3 artistic goals for the year. That may include an image of the gallery you hope to show at, the kind of artwork you’d like to make, places you’d like to visit, and images and words that reflect who you’d like to be as you accomplish your top 5 goals. This can be helpful to keep motivation going as you do the hard work of the day to day grind of working on your goals! Especially as visual artists, we can be stimulated by visuals, and this can help us get in the mood to focus and remember why we are doing it in the first place.

Ok, I hope that this has been super helpful to you as you turn over the next decade and choose how you’d like to spend your next year! It’s my heart for you that you achieve your wildest dreams as an artist, and live a happy and fulfilled life along the way. I know that this is going to be your best year yet!

Lastly, I have a gift for you that I think will be extremely useful to you as you plan out your year. I’ve created a free Artistic Visioncasting worksheet, and mini-course, with everything you need to plan out your goals and dreams. There’s questions to prompt you, so you can break down your goals in an organized way. I created it specifically for this blog post so that you can get the most out of it! Just click the link below to download it.


Now go forth and create!

With light, love, and creativity,

jessica signature

Jessica Libor

Visual Artist