MORRIS – Jillianne Overman said she “dreamed of being a cartoonist for Walt Disney” from the time she was a young girl. The artistic “gene” was passed to her by her mother, Debbie Severson.
“My mom was an artist. At 30, she didn’t know she could paint and she just decided to try it. She did take an art class when we lived in California and the woman brought her up front to teach, so it was just in her family. We have very different styles, she’s very fast and impressionistic and I’m more detail-oriented,” she said.
Overman’s love for art only grew as she developed different passions, eventually heading to the University of Illinois to get her degree in art education, eventually obtaining her bachelor’s in photography.
“I fell in love with photography and just figured I would end up teaching down the road and it kind of came full circle and now I’m teaching,” she said.
She opened Happy Daisy Art Studio 9 years ago. After working at the family business, Amazing Walls, painting walls and murals, she eventually transitioned to “paint ‘n’ sip” parties before opening her own studio in downtown Morris.
Overman said she loves the “vintage farmhouse feel” and made sure to incorporate mismatched chairs and old tables to ensure her studio was a “fun place to be.”
She enjoys teaching various age groups and enjoys watching her students realize that painting is for everyone, even if they’ve never done it before.
“A lot of people are scared and I’m here to help. It’s very addicting, because once you realize, ‘oh, this isn’t that hard,’ people keep coming back. Because it’s fun and every painting is different,” she said.
The studio hosts painting parties with various themes. Overman utilizes many painting mediums in place of regular canvases to make the experience more unique, such as vintage window frames, suitcases and recently a Girl Scout gnome was painted on a cutting board during a Girl Scout party.
Overman tries to incorporate pop culture references into classes such as Trolls and Baby Yoda. Braycin Hiller of Morris said he enjoyed his first art class with Overman, despite his lack of artistic experience.
“I had a lot of fun painting during this class. I am not an artist at all but they helped me and gave me good directions. I would tell everyone to try it out,” Hiller said.
She said, she treats every class like a real art class, so people walk away with new techniques and skills. She also “sprinkles” private lessons in between the art parties for those who would like to get a more in-depth learning experience.
Aside from classes, Overman sells her own art pieces in the studio with prices starting at $35 depending on the difficulty and medium used.
Morris Business Development Director Julie Wilkinson said the studio has been a unique destination that adds to the offerings of a vibrant downtown.
“It’s a place where budding artists of all ages can learn new techniques and grow their talents, as well as a gathering spot for friends and groups looking to have fun and socialize,” she said.
Happy Daisy Art Studio is located at 216 W. Washington St. in Morris. Hours vary depending on weekly events. For information on classes, paint parties or shopping for local art visit jilliannerenee.com/art-studio.html.