When Jacque Stanfield opened her gallery and art library in the small courtyard at 113 N. First St., she had visions of local artists stopping by to use her library or setting up their easels and “we’d paint together.”

Stanfield grew up in St. Louis and began painting as a small child.

“I saved my money and bought a $30 kit from Montgomery Ward,” she said. “It was a little plastic suitcase with art supplies. I think I still have some of the tubes of paint.”

By age 20, Stanfield had started to show her art in craft shows in Manchester and on South Broadway.

“I haven’t had a lot of formal art education,” she said. “I mostly took classes at local hobby shops to learn the technique with different media.”

Her work ranges from acrylic, to watercolor and oils.

“I prefer oil to watercolor because watercolor is harder to control,” she said.

Still, her gallery is dotted with watercolor pieces. Each piece is original. She does not make prints of her work, preferring to sell only originals.

“I think if people are going to buy a piece of art they want to have something that no one else has exactly like it,” Stanfield said.

Interacting with the public in a retail gallery is not new to her. Before moving to the Pacific area, she operated a small framing and art store at the Lake of the Ozarks for 12 years.

When she decided to paint a wooden duck, she took an exacto knife to score some feathers to create a profile and discovered that she had a knack for woodcarving.

“Mostly I carve ducks and then I paint them,” she said. “It’s an odd fact that many carvers are not good painters, but since I had the painting background before I began carving I was able to create a realistic duck.”

She carves primarily in basswood, from the linden tree, because there is no grain and it is easier to carve.

Stanfield chose the small Downtown Pacific courtyard and shop space for her gallery after seeing it as she drove through Pacific from her home in Catawissa. The space formerly served as a boutique then a coffeeshop.

“It’s the right size for me,” she said. “I like small spaces because they’re intimate and friendly.”

Most of her painting is done in her home studio, a converted bonus room over her garage that has a skylight and is away from the rest of the house.

“It has a heavy easel, that once it is set up you don’t move much, but is large enough for big pieces,” she said. “I stretch my own canvases because I like working with unusual sizes and I like large easels.”

Painting on large canvases led her to experiment with painting directly onto walls, which led to a series of request for murals.

For more information, contact the artist at 573-280-9368 or check out her website at www.artbyjacque.com.