ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jenny Stewart grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and art has been a part of her life from very early on. Her mother, who is also an artist, encouraged her to begin oil painting classes when she was about 10 years old. After high school, she earned a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art from McDaniel College. Back then she was told the only way to make a living with art was to be a graphic designer and she set out to prove them wrong! She moved to Arizona where she began her career as a fine artist and an art teacher. She traveled throughout the western US to show her work at various art shows and festivals. For several years she participated in the Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, Arizona and was an art instructor for some time as well.
Jenny is an award winning oil painter best known for her sunlit flowers, contemporary still life and vibrant larger than life subjects. Whether her subject comes from a roadside produce stand or a local garden, she transforms everyday objects into captivating works of art. She has won numerous awards and her work is included in many private collections across the country.
One of the very first artists I remember learning about was Georgia O’Keeffe and her work really made an impression on me. I find that like her, I am excited by the beauty I see in ordinary everyday objects. Although some of my work is composed like a traditional still life, many are enlarged beyond a normal scale. I have always been interested in photography and I usually shoot my own reference photographs. With camera in hand, I like to zoom in and explore the subtle textures and curves of an object until I start to lose the object itself. I use this same dramatic canvas filling perspective in my paintings. I look for areas where the shadows form interesting shapes, or the light glows thru the flower petals, or the distorted reflection appears on the metal bowl. Color plays an important role in my work, but even more important, is the effect of light on my subject.
I set up my subject, usually in the afternoon sun when shadows are long and I photograph it from several angles. The flowers are sometimes set up this way or I will photograph live plants on location. Working from photographs has limitations but the photos are only a starting point for my paintings. I will often change objects for the sake of composition, or alter colors, or change backgrounds altogether to enhance the subject.
I typically work on gallery wrapped canvas because I want my work to have a realistic yet contemporary feel. This unframed approach is very modern and simple, and by continuing the image around the sides of the canvas, it gives each piece a unique finished look. Of course, it still allows for a frame if you like a more traditional look.
“I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore it’s beauty”
– Georgia O’Keeffe