"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 some of our greatest gifts in this life, worthy of celebrating and protecting."
Jennifer Young is a longtime Virginia resident who now resides in Ashland. She creates vibrant oil paintings of Europe and the American landscape. She received her formal training in painting and art history, graduating cum laude at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. During college and after graduation, her focus was largely centered on exploring art through the human figure. As an art history major, Young traveled to Europe where 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 impact into her own work. Early in her career, Jennifer’s expressive, 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 moody 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, I took my easel out into the field and explored the art of outdoor painting, or painting 'en plein air' in a more intentional 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 study in greater depth the paintings of the Impressionists. French Impressionists such as Monet, Renoir, and Sisley provided ample inspiration, as did many of the painters from the American Impressionist movements in Pennsylvania, Cape Cod, and California. Her love of the genre also led her to pursue further study with contemporary masters such as Kevin Macpherson, Kenn Backhaus, and John Budicin, to name a few.
Jennifer has made plein air painting an important part of her painting practice. Out in the field she sharpens her skills by painting from life, and in doing so, she becomes intimately acquainted with the natural world and the quality of the fleeting light as it affects her subject. The direct experience of immersing herself in nature benefits her work in ways that studio painting alone cannot. But if field work inspires spontaneity, her studio work offers time and space to more intentionally develop her art into a fully realized vision.
With a painting career that has spanned over 20 years, Young’s professional resume has accrued numerous exhibitions in the United States. Her work has been collected internationally by both private and corporate collectors, including Westminster Canterbury Retirement Community and Frances Mayes’ Tuscan Sun Wines. In addition to exhibiting her work widely in art galleries in the eastern U.S., Jennifer enjoys participating in plein air festivals and competitions, as time and her busy family life with her husband and young daughter allow.