Above: Henderson’s painting “Summer Shoes”, acrylic on canvas, 2020, was born out of the darkness of Covid. “I hadn’t painted in a while, and I wanted to do something that would make me happy. I love my high-top sneaker collection, so I used the sneaker as a jumping off point and just ran with it and filled it with color and patterns.”
The art — and home — of Jaime Lynn Henderson
Story and photos by Lindsay Hogeboom
As you step into Jaime Lynn Henderson’s apartment in a historic house on Main Street in Old Town Warrenton, you are greeted by imaginative design quite literally everywhere you look, beginning with Henderson herself, who during our meeting was dressed in leopard print top and tights paired with a pink skirt and topped with gold and pearl accessories. Much like her wardrobe, her home is filled to the brim with endless colors, textures, and shapes. As your eyes sweep each room, they take in the mishmash of furniture and gallery walls full of objects, from tennis racquets to cap guns. The apartment’s décor is a direct reflection of Henderson’s personality – boisterous, playful, and anything but dull.
Not only is Henderson’s personality reflected in her clothing and interior design styles, but also in the art that she has been creating since she was a child. “Even just as a tiny kid I was always scribbling all over my dad’s work papers…. [If] you gave me a crayon or a pen, I was drawing,” she says. “As a teenager I was always decorating the living daylights out of my bedroom, rearranging the furniture – I cut out flowers and painted them with neon poster paint and I’d stick them up all over the walls and the ceiling. I’ve loved [art] for a long time.”
Though Henderson had always enjoyed art, she did not always consider it more than a hobby. In fact, she began her freshman year of college at the University of Oklahoma majoring in civil engineering. When she moved into her first apartment, she says, “I wanted to decorate it [with] artwork, but I couldn’t afford it.” She decided to create her own works of art to fill the walls, and that process “lit a fire, and before I knew it, I was coming to my parents [asking] ‘hey, how would you feel about me changing my major from civil engineering to art?’” She recalls that one parent replied, “We wondered how long it would take you to figure that out.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma, Henderson moved to Chicago where she received her Master of Fine Art in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Henderson spent more than a decade living and working in the city, during which time she was featured as a contestant on Season 1 of Bravo’s reality competition show “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.” Henderson’s artwork was unique and recognizable thanks in part to one defining feature: a spirit of adventure embodied in a cast of female characters. “They were very mischievous and sassy and very well dressed, and I always lived vicariously through them,” she says.
After spending 12 years in Chicago, Henderson felt that her city chapter was up – she was ready to move closer to her family in Virginia and to experience the charm of small-town life. “When I would visit my parents, they would always drive [to Warrenton] to go to Great Harvest for my mom’s favorite cinnamon twists, and I thought, ‘This town is so cute,’” she says. “Then when it came time for me to make a jump, I was like, ‘I’ve been a city mouse – let’s try being a country mouse.’”
Since moving to Warrenton, Henderson finds that her artwork has undergone a transformation. “That spirit of adventure is still in the work,” Henderson says, “but it’s a lot different and the characters are gone.” Now, Henderson’s work is full of beautiful flowers and objects inspired by the flora, fauna and antiques found throughout Fauquier County. “I think the formal piece that has always been there that translates still to this work is a love of color, tons of patterns, mixes of texture,” she says. “Now that I’m here, it’s interesting to see how [the subject of] my art has changed but the spirit stays the same.” The change in scenery has allowed Henderson to explore a whole new facet of her work while renewing her love of art. “One thing that really surprised me about coming out here is that with the space that small towns afford…it’s taken off all the limits in what I feel like I’m allowed to make as an artist – the subject matter isn’t as critical as it once was. If I want to paint a giant high-top sneaker, I can,” she says. “I have the freedom to paint whatever I want, and I only just now feel like I’ve stumbled upon a nugget that’s really worth building upon.”
Looking ahead, Henderson hopes to bring the spirit of joy and vibrancy found in her work to the community of Warrenton, and that she can inspire others to share their story through art or other creative outlets. “That’s the great thing about art, there’s a place for every style,” she says. “I hope that as I…discover myself more here and lean into my unique gifts, I can encourage other people to do the same.”
To learn more about Henderson and view her artwork, visit jaimelynnhenderson.com.