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About Jenny

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I am a figurative artist working primarily in oil paint as a medium. I paint many subjects, including portraits and still lifes, but my current focus is florals. I primarily paint “Flower Portraits”, small intimate paintings of one or two flowers. I love to paint flowers because they are, to me, the purest form of beauty. The organic form, complex layers, delicacy, and subtle shifting colors of a flower are a joy and challenge to paint. Flowers contain deep mysteries surrounding allure and procreation in nature. Each flower is utterly unique – thus the “portraits”. As an artist I try to capture and translate the singular character and beauty of each bloom. I love the challenge of painting florals; they require such mastery to paint well. It so easy to ruin a floral by overdoing it.

 

One of the things I like most about art is the deep level of noticing it asks of us. If you want to really notice something, draw or paint it. For me, single flowers are the ultimate subject for this kind of deep noticing. This is because I’ve always loved small things, especially small things in nature. To me, if you take the time to really look, a single flower or spiderweb or coiling root contains the universe. Yes, I’m the annoying person on the hike that stops a thousand times to examine every little thing. I get excited about the conical structure of this tiny flower, or the crazy patterning on the back of that fern. I bring that excitement back to my art with these small florals. The flowers I paint – and by extension, all the lovely small things in nature - are being honored as they deserve.

 

My paintings are very time and labor intensive and use every bit of training I’ve received. They incorporate all of the timeless techniques I’ve learned, dating back to the Dutch Masters: layered painting, careful attention to value/ composition/ hue/ chroma/ edges, and more. I’ve been inspired by any number of painters, both classical and contemporary, chief among them the insanely talented floral painter Katie Whipple, John Singer Sargent, Caravaggio, and many more.

 

I seek with my art to add beauty to the world. It’s really that simple. My paintings are representational because they are about noticing beauty, and then transmuting that into a new thing of beauty.

BIOGRAPHY

I grew up in gorgeous Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was lucky enough to grow up hiking, skiing, going to beaches and generally playing in nature. I attended UC Berkeley, and then St. John’s College in Annapolis MD, where I studied “The Great Books” of western civilization, ranging from Plato to Einstein. I then earned a Masters of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University, and practiced architecture for many years at Kenzo Tange Associates in Tokyo – a fascinating experience. We moved back to NYC, where I practiced freelance architecture, took art classes, and raised my three children full-time for the next 17 or so years. In 2013 I convinced my family to moved back to Marin.

 

My art journey is a little unusual, I think. As a child and teen I loved painting and drawing; my mother used to say I was born with a pencil in my hand. But I have many interests, and starting in college I took a long break from fine art to pursue them.This break lasted through college, graduate school, years as an architect, and almost two decades of full-time parenting. Art was woven firmly through the tapestry of this life, but I didn't really draw and paint. And then, when my youngest was about 12 and I could take a breath, I passed a flyer on the street advertising watercolor classes at the local church. My old excitement stirred, and I signed up. I was 49 years old. Who knew this one class would lead to a whole new phase of my life? I was so lucky that the class was taught by the incredibly talented and encouraging NYC artist Bonnie Steinsnyder, and I loved it. I took more classes at the Art Student's League. Upon moving to the Bay Area, I decided I needed formal training, even if I was already 51! After some research I discovered the Sadie Valerie Atelier, the renowned classical realism Atelier run by one of the Living Masters of our age. I studied here for four years and gained a rigorous formal training in academic drawing and painting, the foundations I needed. When the Atelier sadly shut down in 2020, several fellow students and I started a shared studio of our own in the Mission district of San Francisco. Here we use our foundational skills to create art of our own sensibility. This is now my beloved art community and painting space. I'm just this year beginning to show in exhibitions, an "emerging artist" in my early 60's. Thus it is that I came around full circle from my love of art as a child to resume my art journey in late life. What a joy and surprise it is to be here! Let's see what's next!

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