JENNIFER S. WHITFIELD
Jenny is the artist who brought her acclaimed “Williams Pond” acrylic mixed-media series to the Arts Guild, as well as her lovely jewelry collections. Curious by nature, Jenny explores other mediums to produce varied styles of art. Currently she is intrigued by soft pastels and has produced a truly luminous landscape series. We caught Jenny enjoying a rare few minutes of relaxation and asked her some questions.
“Jenny, when were you first drawn to art?”
I was born an artist. As a child I was constantly drawing, always creating something I felt was beautiful. It must have been in my DNA because my father was a landscape architect and my mother is a fabric artist. My father was really supportive of the arts, and when I was a child we visited many art galleries and museums. I actually received an award for an art scholarship in third grade … Otto the Red Dog was painted with cardboard and Q-tips! My college years were spent at San Jose State, I received a BA in Fine Arts. After that I taught for 34 years – Sonoma County Schools, Santa Rosa Junior College watercolors, Hayward adult education, Fremont Unified and various other schools.
“Did you have a teacher who stands out?”
Everyone throughout my school and college years was very supportive of my efforts, but in particular Mary Moquin, a master teacher, was very important to me in developing my current work.
“Do you teach classes?”
After teaching for 34 years, not currently. I have been asked to share my knowledge … so maybe one day.
“What is your schedule of the day?”
I paint every day in my treetop studio. I can go there early in the morning, but I find my true creativity shines around 4pm, I don’t know why. I produced the entire 50 pieces for the William’s Pond acrylic series there (but the location of the pond is a secret!). Mary Moquin encouraged me to more closely reflect upon my reasons for the paintings, and I uncovered deeper, tangled emotions and power under the pond’s surface. Then a title would come to me and I would reflect on that title as I progressed through the painting process. One of the ways I did that was to write something under the leaves before I painted the pond. Sayings, poems, deep personal thoughts. They are all very dear to me. The series has won lots of prizes and has been highly successful. Currently, though, I’m enjoying the use of pastels – landscapes in unexpected colors, vibrant and bold. Mostly aerial or water views.
“Do you listen to music or any other media?”
I’m all across the board on that – rock and roll, Americana, classical, Ted talks, old movies, I like it all. Someone once told me that some painters need to occupy the right brain so that the left brain can have its freedom, I think that’s correct in my case.
“Where would someone never find you? Trick question – where would you hate to be?”
(Thinking for a minute) ….a video arcade!
“What do you feel is the future of art – in all forms?”
Technology and media are at their most exciting stages today. Music, visual arts and drama have made huge headway by modern technology. Reflecting back to my childhood years and the creative process, I am concerned that the fundamentals of classical art seem to be replaced by keyboard and computer-generated art forms. The authentic hand-drawn work of art is a rarity among our youth. There is great satisfaction in training the eye and hand to coordinate while producing thumbnail sketches and a prized original masterpiece. I would hate to see a future without human drawings and original creations. I wish for a future with balanced formal art education, mastering ancient techniques and incorporating modern invention.
We are fortunate that Jenny has chosen the Arts Guild to exhibit her works every month. She may also be reached through her website: jswhitfieldfineart.com