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"Painting is the language I use to express my reverence for the beauty of the natural world. The delicacy of a flower, the power of the ocean waves, the brilliance of a sunset; all are awe-inspiring and represent one of our greatest gifts in this life, worthy of celebrating and protecting. I paint and draw from life as often as possible. Painting in nature, "en plein air", I learn to hone my skills of observation and distill the complexities of a scene down to its essentials. Bringing what I've learned back into the studio, I can then expand on my ideas with varied explorations in color, composition, and format. Ultimately it is my sincere hope that through my work I can inspire a renewed appreciation for art of the landscape and for Nature herself, as well as a desire to preserve the landscape for future generations." - Jennifer Young
Jennifer Young is a listed artist who lives and works in Ashland, Virginia. She creates vibrant landscape oil paintings of the American south and of various scenes throughout Europe. She received her formal training in painting and art history at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. During college and after graduation, her focus was largely centered on exploring the human figure.
As an art history major with a concentration in painting, Young traveled to Europe and she was particularly drawn to the painters of the early Renaissance. She loved the drama and theatricality of those paintings, and sought to incorporate a similar kind of emotional narrative into her own work. Her early figurative paintings garnered gallery and museum shows in United States, including venues such as the Hofstra Museum and Purdue University.
But fate and life would intervene to profoundly affect her art. As Young explains in her own words, "When my father died from pancreatic cancer, I went through a great deal of introspection. Gradually I turned from painting large psychological figurative works to exploring a different kind of painting tradition--the landscape. I found myself wanting more and more to create in a way that was personally more life affirming; and the act of getting out of the studio to paint directly from nature was in the beginning a way for me to lift my own spirits.
"I had always been drawn to landscape paintings," she continues, "and I would occasionally experiment with them, even in my 'figurative' days. But the summer after my father died, my husband bought me a great birthday gift--my first outdoor easel. It was then that I explored the art of outdoor painting, or painting 'en plein air' in a serious way. It was exhilarating!" From that point on, Young says she was hooked on painting the landscape.
Her renewed love of landscape painting naturally led her to explore in greater depth the paintings of the French Impressionists; namely Monet, Renoir, and Sisley. She also has continued her education along the way, studying with living masters Kevin Macpherson, Kenn Backhaus, and Matt Smith, among others. Her love of the landscape has taken her on many adventures to Europe and to scenic places in the American South to develop fresh new ideas for her paintings.
While she regularly paints on location, Jennifer also works in her Ashland studio. Throughout her career, while her paintings continue to evolve, there has remained threads of continuity, such as her love of color and her desire to create strong and dynamic compositions.