An Evening at the Boatyard

This painting was a little difficult to photograph due to the contrast in the subject and the thick texture in the paint. But I ultimately succeeded in capturing a good shot on a flat and cloudy day when it wasn’t too dark or too blaringly bright outside. Hopefully the energy I felt in returning to the easel shines through in the piece.

“Evening at the Boatyard”, Oil on linen, 20 x 24” ©Jennifer E Young

“Evening at the Boatyard”, Oil on linen, 20 x 24” ©Jennifer E Young

I have been looking at a lot of art lately and painting a few lemons in between (both literally and figuratively😅.) As a result I feel compelled to express myself in a way that is not so literal. I don’t know how far out into the world of abstraction I want to venture, but I do feel the pull to simplify in the very least. What’s enough but not too much? That’s the question. I haven’t found the answer yet, at least not in my own work, but it’s something very much on my mind. It will probably take many more paintings (and quite a few more lemons) before I even come close to an answer.

"Plein Air Unleashed"

Last week I posted about a planned trip to White Stone, VA to paint with fellow artists in a relatively new plein air painting festival called Plein Air Unleashed. There were ten of us artists at this year's event, which spanned over a period of three days. 52 paintings were turned in to Allure Art Center at the culmination, to be displayed at the gallery during the month of May.  This is a fairly newly minted event, so it was pretty relaxed and low-key, which was fine by me as I always feel a bit rusty in the spring after my winter hibernation in the studio. 

This was my collection of paintings turned in at the end of the event.

This was my collection of paintings turned in at the end of the event.

White Stone is less than two hours from where I live, but I have never been to this area, nor anywhere in the Northern Neck. It's really quite a treat for plein air painters like me. The Northern Neck is the northernmost peninsula in Virginia. White Stone, Irvington, and Kilmarnock, where we painted sit at the southern end, where the Rappahanock meets the Chesapeake Bay. The area consists of small beaches, wetlands, marinas, farms, vineyards, and wineries, so there is a wide variety of subject matter to paint, with some really beautiful light and cloud formations from being that it is surrounded by so much water.

In all, I painted 8 pieces and turned in 7 (with one being a tosser). I can sometimes feel stressed by the more competitive events, but this festival was invigorating. It was great to be around other fine caliber painters and to just be able to submerge myself in nothing but painting for a few dedicated days. Here are a few on site photos of works-in-progress:

I felt fortunate to have stumbled on the info about this event through my friend Kim Hall, and hope to return next year. Here are most of the paintings I submitted for the show. I wish I had time to get a terrific record of the artwork submitted, but these photographs will have to do for now. 

The exhibit at Allure Art Center will run through May 26th. The gallery is going to be posting highlights from the event and artists on its Facebook page, so even if you are nowhere near White Stone, you can get a taste of the event online. 

VIDEO- Art Talk; A Maine Experience

Happy Fall everyone! I have spent so much time traveling and painting this summer that I have hardly had any time to post except on the fly on social media. So these next few posts may actually be a bit of a summer recap. First up, Maine. As you may have read here and on social media, I spent a couple of delicious weeks in June painting the Maine Coast during an artist's residency on the island of Vinalhaven. 

Gallery Flux was kind enough to have hosted a pop-up exhibit of my work for this trip, as well as an artist's talk about my experience painting there. Even though it was a nice and intimate setting, I'm not all that comfortable with public speaking, but I actually had a good time, and the attendees were all very gracious and patient. Thank you to Gallery Flux for hosting me and making this little film. 

The paintings in this exhibit represent my impressions and experiences from the island of Vinalhaven, Maine, where I was fortunate to have spent a fortnight in June as an artist-in-residence. This video, taken at Gallery Flux in Ashland, Virginia is an artist's talk I gave in conjunction with my September show featuring paintings from my residency.  

So many paintings, so little time!

Going through my notebooks and photos from my Maine trip, I'm made aware of just how many paintings I have swirling around in my  consciousness, and never enough time to execute them all. I guess it's better than the alternative of a dry spell, but only slightly less frustrating.  

The reality is that I'm a mom with a family and a household and a very busy summer on top of it., and since my return from the trip I have had to work in fits and starts, and not without some failure. Still, I do what I can to make time for art. Here's my latest, which was first attempted on site but had to be aborted when the wind turned my painting into a virtual kite! 

"Evening at Carver's Harbor", Oil on linen, 16x20" ©Jennifer E Young

"Evening at Carver's Harbor", Oil on linen, 16x20" ©Jennifer E Young

Those boxy shapes you see are lobster cages. They are kind of an iconic symbol to me of this town. Vinalhaven once had its heyday as an island for quarry mining, but workers later turned to lobster fishing for their livelihood. The sun rises at 4:30 a.m., so I was told the fishermen are up by 3:30! Now that's dedication. A far sight more dedicated than I was on the evening I attempted to paint this scene. After my painting did a face plant there was nothing left to do but resign myself to the realities of the wind and eat a delicious lobster roll as consolation.

I have another Maine piece on the easel that I'm hoping to complete this week, and then I am off to Floyd, Virginia to paint with my fellow plein air painters in the Floyd Plein Air Festival. This is a week-long event of painting in the mountains, farmland, and vineyards in and around Floyd. I participated in the inaugural event a couple of years ago and we had lots of clouds, wind, and some rain. Here's hoping the weather is a little more cooperative this time around.

Back from Maine

A month has passed since I spent a magical two weeks in Maine doing my artist's residency. It was truly breathtaking and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity. I came home to all of the responsibilities and duties of home life, but with a renewed spirit that I think will carry me through as I continue to explore this incredible landscape in the studio. It has been a long time since I have been able to dedicate an entire two uninterrupted weeks solely to landscape painting, and it's hard to think of any more inspiring place to do it than Maine. I've put together this little slideshow of the works I came home with on my trip. If you click directly on one of the images it will take you to the Maine gallery page and you can read more about my experiences on the island and the creation of each piece.