Save the date- New PBS art series on "Landscapes through Time"

While trolling through the Slow Travel forums for my upcoming trip to France, I stumbled across this tip on a new upcoming PBS art series on landscape painting hosted by artist David Dunlop.  Here's an excerpt from the PBS website:

"LANDSCAPES THROUGH TIME WITH DAVID DUNLOP -- a lively and entertaining new 13-part PBS series shot in HD -- offers viewers the opportunity to travel with noted painter and lecturer David Dunlop to magical, historic locations in the United States and France as he follows the lives and artistic paths of celebrated artists such as Turner and Monet. Dunlop journeys to the locations these artists visited and learns how they transformed their vision into a familiar painting. "

PBS always does a wonderful job with its art series, so I hope this one broadcasts in my area. It's set to air in June, which will be just on the heels of having returned from my own France landscape painting trip. You can read all about the program  here, but you'll probably have to just check back in at viewing schedule  as they only list schedules 13 days out.

Lake Como, Italy painting 6x6" mini

When we were last visiting Lake Como Italy, we splurged on a private boat tour around the lake. It definitely was a splurge for us, but worthwhile because we took different routes than you'd normally take on the larger lake transports (vaporetti). This little painting was done from reference shots taken as we were approaching a precipice near the charming village of Varenna:

Lake como landscape painting by Jennifer Young "Varenna Vista" Oil on Canvas, 6x6" sold

The private boat also stopped in intervals so that we could take pictures without worry of camera blur. If only I could find a way to hire a boat to use for an extended period at the lake as a floating studio, the way Claude Monet did  with his studio boat on the Seine. A girl can dream.

Freshly Gathered Hay

What is it about hay that makes me want to paint it? The most obvious reason, I suppose is the fascination I had the first time I say Monet's famous haystack series (Monet was truly the master at using color temperature to suggest lighting and time of day!) 

It could also be that, unlike cows, horses or other animated life forms, these heavy masses of hay don't move or walk away while you are trying to paint them to eat, well, hay! Hay bales to me represent that same kind of pastoral quietude though, and I love the way they catch the sunlight and shadow, and often cast a cool shadow of their own. Here is a little vignette I painted the other day en plein air. I was driving out to paint a beautiful garden at the Tuckahoe Plantation and I saw these hay bales along the way:

landscape painting plein air Jennifer Young

"Freshly Gathered Hay" Oil on Canvas, 8x10" $425 unframed or $495 framed

From figures to landscapes (and back again?)

From time to time I receive wonderful messages from students who have chosen my work as a focus for their school projects. Here is a recent message I received. My answer follows: I wanted to ask if you could tell me about yourself and your paintings. I am studying A-levels and I am doing a critical study on you. Could you please let me know how you got into drawing landscapes. I would appreciate it.

Thank you so much for your interest in my artwork! As to your question: In college and for some time thereafter I was developing a body of work that focused on the human figure. These paintings were heavily influenced by a number of sources in art history-- Frida Kahlo, Gustav Klimt, and the early renaissance paintings I had seen in Italy and the Netherlands:

figurative painting by jennifer young One of my favorites from this period "Faith", Oil on Canvas (sold)

So how did I go from that to landscape? Well, in college I held a double major of study in both painting and art history, so I was a lover of art of many different styles and from many different periods in history. I loved the impressionists and the post impressionists but impressionist landscape paintings were not much favored with my professors at the time. Professors at my school were much more attuned to paintings of either a nonobjective nature, or figurative paintings with deep psychological impact. So I developed the figurative paintings as my "serious body of work" and only dabbled in landscapes every now and then.   But eventually I found myself struggling more and more with the figure paintings. They were very large and some of them were filled with a lot of angst. One painting took weeks to complete. Emotionally they were often quite draining and my inspiration was slowing down. When my father died of pancreatic cancer all of the work I had been doing on those  paintings came to a complete halt. I began to question a lot of things, including whether I would ever do another painting. My heart just wasn't in it.   My husband naturally knew of my struggles and, knowing how much I had loved the landscapes of Monet, Sisley and many other impressionist painters, he bought me my very first outdoor easel. He also signed me up for a painting class so I could learn to paint on location outdoors. I loved it from the moment I tried it. I began painting again, and I finally allowed myself to follow my bliss and paint the landscape. After the death of my father I really wanted to do things that were more life affirming, that filled me with joy. I realized life is indeed so very short and I wanted to celebrate it in a way that had meaning for ME, without worrying about whether others found it artistically "important".   Painting the landscape was one of the ways I could honor that desire, and I have been painting them ever since. Nowadays I also enjoy experimenting with other kinds of painting, including abstraction, and sometimes even the human figure again. I believe that an artist has the right to explore it all, if that is her desire.   I hope this helps you with your project!

A Corner of Giverny

Today's painting is of a corner full of flowers in the village of Giverny, where Claude Monet made his home. It measures 8x8" and is oil on gallery wrapped canvas. The edges of this painting are finished off with a complimentary green color, so no other framing is needed:

painting of giverny

I think it was probably Monet who started the trend of pink stucco houses with green shutters, but there are several buildings in this little town with this color combination. While I'm sure the plantings are intentional and well-planned, hollyhocks, roses, lilies, and other flowers seemed to just grow out of any available stone crevice in this town. I sure wish I could say the same for my own garden!

For more information please click on the image or contact me.