SUNDAY BRUNCH

INDIA INK ON PAPER, 9X12

Sunday Brunch is a light hearted and compelling approach conveying a sophisticated Sunday Meal. The table is set for fellowship among friends, with fine foods not suited for a casual diner. Several elements expand beyond the border, suggesting the feast extends far beyond the borders of the 9×12 page.

Though the piece is crafted entirely in India Ink, there remains a soft quality about the light as it lofts amid the glassware. This light performs a rhythmic dance, stitching each piece together between the quiet shadows that meander across the page.

Contrasting this lavish meal, the brush work resembles that of the Impressionists, capturing a still moment that alludes to a simpler time. Perhaps, the table is set for rich conversation and fellowship; one that we often lack among weekday meals.

ABOUT

Welcome! My name is Jennifer and I reJennifer Hall Portraitcently graduated from Otterbein University. I am based in Columbus, Ohio and pursuing my dream career as an artist. My painting style is influenced by the Impressionists, who taught me that the best paintings come from fleeting moments. As such, I look to childhood experiences, vacation memories and the overlooked in my daily routine for the subject matter of my paintings.

The spaciousness, rich colors and intriguing brushstrokes in my paintings provoke feelings of contemplation and offer solace. By not depicting scenes literally, there arises a sense of familiarity and mystery worth exploring individually and through discussion.

If you like what you see, I would love to know!

Impressionism in Philadelphia

I recently had the opportunity to visit Philadelphia as part of an independent study at school. My main attraction to this city was the world-renowned impressionist collection at the Barnes Foundation and a traveling exhibit called Discovering the Impressionists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The visit will inform a contemporary plein-air painting project I will complete this semester. In the meantime, here’s what I saw.

THE BARNES FOUNDATION

A visit to the Barnes Foundation marked the first stop on my trip. The foundation was far busier than I had anticipated and the lobby and waiting area was bustling with people of all types and ages. I actually had to wait an hour and a half to enter the exhibit. I visited the gift shop in the meantime and found a really neat candle holder that was shaped like a palette topped with candles of various colors.

The arrangement of the artwork on display was unique. Contrasting the sleek, modern architecture and reflecting pool outside, the walls inside were painted warm, inviting colors that made each room feel like part of a home. This is comparable to my experience working at Brandt-Roberts Galleries last year in that the purpose of a gallery is to bring artwork into the homes of clients.

The paintings were hung in a congested salon style, with a few large focal paintings in each room surrounded by dozens of smaller ones. Unlike most museums, there were no cards sharing more information about the pieces and instead the frames were adorned with a small metal tag with the artist’s name. This allowed viewers to truly spend time appreciating the visual treasures on the wall.

I never imagined I would see so many Renoir and Cezanne paintings all in one location. It was a real treat to see such a large body of their work at once. I was able to see patterns in their painting style and compositions. I was thoroughly impressed by the vibrant colors in Cezanne’s work. I think reproductions of his work poorly iterate his true talent.

I was especially impressed by Cezanne’s painting The Card Players. The color palette and subject was unlike the artist’s work that I was familiar with. The general color scheme is limited, but each color is rich with layers of hues that make the piece interesting to me.

I also found it interesting how many times each artist repeated the same or very similar subjects in their paintings. Doing so allows the artist to experiment more freely as they become more familiar with their subject matter. This is something I will keep in mind as I move forward with my project.

I admired the simultaneous complexity and softness of Renoir’s paintings. I think this served as a good reminder to slow down in my paintings to really make marks with meaning and detail. I was also reassured to see both landscapes and portraits in Renoir’s body of work, showing that it is okay to pursue more than one interest.

All the paintings were heightened by their sophisticated treatment of background space. Though it may seem simple and easy to forget, painting the background was clearly an important part of the painting process for the artists in this collection. I also took note of the compositional qualities of the landscape paintings, because I often find myself struggling in this area. In order to prevent the piece from appearing flat, there needs to be some sort of vertical line implied to contrast the strong sense of a flat horizon and to draw the eye further into the painting.

PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART

The sheer size of this museum alone is enough to marvel at. From the bottom of the “Rocky” stairs, people entering the museum looked like ants next to the massive pillars adorning the facade.

Tickets for Discovering the Impressionists were timed, so I first browsed through the American Art section. Though not the main attraction, this was easily one of my favorite exhibits. Since I took the Art in America course at Otterbein, I recognized many of the pieces in the show and was able to appreciate their historical context as well.

I was really excited to see the The Staircase Group by Charles Willson Peale. I found it appropriate that this painting be on display in a city with a rich governmental history knowing that Washington is said to have “tipped his hat” at the boys in the painting. The painting intrigues me because it almost feels out of place next to other works of its time. The use of a door frame and step form a bridge to the conceptual art movement that wouldn’t catch on for many years to come.

Thomas Eakins’ work was also notable to me for its massive size. I thought the specifics of the piece would be less clear up-close, but Eakins truly captured every detail of his subjects. The intense and somewhat grotesque imagery of his piece was further made believable by the wincing faces of the people in the paintings. Their expressions brought new life to the work that precise detail alone could not.

The crowd for Discovering the Impressionists was even greater than that at the Barnes Foundation. The collection itself was legendary, though it was difficult to get close to all the paintings through the large swarms of people. Each visitor was given a hand-held listening device to hear the stories behind the paintings and their relationship to Paul Durand-Ruel.

I love how the Impressionists treat color in their work and how they often rely on the optical mixing of colors. I also admire how these painters began capturing what appear to be genuine moments in their work. Rather than looking to mythology and religion for their compositions, they focused on the beauty that physically surrounded them everyday. They had a strong focus on the “here and now.” When we see their paintings, we not only get a taste of their artistic style, but a glimpse into a historical time period. Having been surrounded by many of their works in the exhibit, we can see how people behaved, dressed, decorated and more.

RODIN MUSEUM

While my project is not based in sculpture, I found that this museum still had a lot to offer. Rodin composed sculptures that were energetic and intriguing. Of course, they are weighty stationary pieces, but they felt full of life and conversation.

I couldn’t have asked for a more invigorating experience to launch the start of this project. I look forward to sharing my process and results soon!

10 things I’ve learned about painting

Over the years I have learned a lot about painting, and it didn’t always make sense. I had professors telling me one thing and friends and family telling me another. However, there is no teacher better than experience. I’ve finally reached the point where I am confident in my artistic direction and ready to tackle the world as a professional. For those who are still on their way, here are 10 things I’ve learned on my journey so far.

1. Stretch your own canvas

Buying stretched canvas from the store is convenient, but the quality suffers as a result. There is nothing worse than spending a fortune on canvas only to find that it is wrinkled or loose. Stretching your own canvas can save money in the long run and ensures a high quality product every time. There are plenty of online demonstrations if you don’t know how.

2. Scale affects your audience

I recently discovered that I love painting on a large scale. The strokes are more gestural and there is more room to experiment with color. Everything about it feels great. But then I realized that the framing costs for a 30×40 inch painting were huge, and there were few people with a space big enough to accommodate artwork this size. When you are first starting out, it may be wise to create smaller paintings so they appeal to more people.

3. Practice drawing

If you are asked to commission a painting, odds are good that accuracy is a key goal for the work. You will save yourself time and a headache if you draw out a plan on your canvas before you begin painting. It is easy to get excited and want to apply paint right away, but think of the drawing as the spine that will form the support of the painting.

4. Learn from other people

If you are looking for inspiration, the best place to find it is by looking at art. When you paint, think about the qualities you admire in your favorite paintings and try to incorporate them into your own work. There are also plenty of demonstration videos online you can watch to master a new technique.

5. Don’t rely on shortcuts 

It may seem enticing to try shortcuts that make a painting evolve faster, but a real art aficionado will be able to tell. To make art that is great, you simply have to put in the hours of hard work.

6. Sketch from life

People today are constantly using their phones to get information, but avoid doing this when painting. A picture on a phone loses its range of color and is flattened even before it gets painted. To make paintings that are true to life, paint them from life. If you can’t bring your easel to the subject, at least get in the habit of sketching on location and use the drawings to inform your painting. You gain an entirely new perspective when you get to see how something moves and looks in its entire surroundings.

7. Paint what you love

If you want to make painting a life-long endeavor, you need to paint what you love. This will keep you excited about your work and keep it looking fresh.

8. Contrast 

Perhaps the biggest struggle for new painters is showing contrast. A great solution for this problem is to paint using only tints and shades of one color for the first layer. This will help imply depth in the piece, and the actual colors can be added later.

9. Give yourself prompts

When you are really struggling with a work, sometimes the best solution is to take a step back and try something new. Brainstorm prompts for yourself such as working monochromatically, adding a pattern or flipping the work upside down. The prompts should force you to make dramatic changes to the piece which will either solve the problem or simply add depth to the work. Remember, you can always go back to painting in your normal style to finish the work.

10. Passion means persistence

Painting is not easy. It is fun to look at art, but sometimes good art needs to be studied deeply to be understood. You will have supporters, but there will be plenty of people with a negative attitude throughout your career. In order to succeed, you have to be persistent. Your dreams are yours to follow, and no one can take that away from you. As long as you paint what you love, success will find you.

Fishing in the Creek

The sun peeked through the canopy of leaves as we lined the creek hidden in the woods. Within minutes, Rick caught a fish. It danced and flapped on the line, and as he held it up the sun made its scales sparkle.

I often find myself worried that I don’t spend enough of my free time dedicated to painting, but as I admired the contrasting beauty and ugliness of the fish, I realized I was wrong. l simply need to tap into my leisure time as inspiration for the studio.

Winslow Homer, a 19th century American painter, provides great historical context of this topic. He is known for his seascapes, but scrolling through his work I also found several paintings depicting fishing. Though he may not have as much name recognition as Picasso, his subjects are relatable to Americans today.

I think a large part of Homer’s success is due to the fact that he simply painted what he and the people around him loved; seascapes and an American experience. He didn’t need to manufacture a reason to love his work because the answer was in his subjects.

The fish bickered back and forth on the stringer, splashing around and adding a new layer to the sounds of the woods. I began to see more than just green in the leaves, and the creek carried my eye far into the distance, begging for the scene to be translated in paint.

When I got the chance to cast a line I wrongly thought I would at least get a bite. I may have proved that I am no great fisherman, but I caught something else from the creek. Luckily for me, bringing home inspiration smells better than fish.

An Unexpected Catch, Winslow Homer
An Unexpected Catch, Winslow Homer
Leaping Trout, Winslow Homer
Leaping Trout, Winslow Homer
The Fog Warning, Winslow Homer
The Fog Warning, Winslow Homer
The Herring Net, Winslow Homer
The Herring Net, Winslow Homer
Me Fishing
Me Fishing

Portrait of Kate, India Ink and Charcoal

My intention for this session was to make a portrait that was overall dark in appearance. I will admit that this drawing style was a little out of my comfort zone, but I think the change was good. The background has a decorative feel and creates a stylized effect that begins to move away from traditional drawing methods.

kate 3:26

Drawing with twigs

That’s right! Today I used twigs gathered from the yard in combination with sponges to create India ink drawings. Each drawing is the result of a ten minute session with the model.