There is a lot of superb contemporary realism being made these days; this article by Allison Malafronte shines light on a gifted individual.
Capturing moments in nature that move swiftly out of sight but leave a brilliant memory is the specialty of Bend, Oregon, artist BARBARA JAENICKE (b. 1964). Working in both oils and pastels, the artist imbues her landscapes with delicate and sensitively observed light, often representing sunset, dusk, and twilight hours. Recreating the shifting light and shadows of these particular times of day requires a sharp eye and plenty of plein air painting experience. Jaenicke has been developing her landscape skills with near-obsessive devotion since she decided to pursue painting full-time in 2002.
Although Jaenicke was always artistic, she admits she was never applauded for her youthful talent and therefore had to work twice as hard to get to where she is today. After graduating with a B.A. in art from Trenton State College (New Jersey), she spent nearly a decade working in advertising as an art director, followed by corporate marketing positions.
At the time this may have seemed like a detour from her ﬁne-art path, but it proved to inform her future painting career immensely. She now produces proliﬁcally for several galleries, is a popular instructor who teaches up to 12 workshops per year, and manages her own marketing, business, and advertising.
Jaenicke paints a variety of outdoor scenes, but those of the wintry variety are her signature. Growing up in New Jersey, she weathered many northeastern winters, and has always found the sight of snow delightful. The artist continues to ﬁnd it an ideal subject for creating contrast, capturing light and shadow, and using a luscious palette.
In her painting “Twilight’s Radiant Descent,” (above) those aspects are visible in the shimmering metallic reﬂections in the water, the chords of cool color notes in the thick application of white paint, and the compositional juxtapositions. “I spotted this glowing little nook just after I ﬁnished painting nearby,” Jaenicke recalls. “The light was gone from the ground and vegetation, but still illuminated in the water. It was a dazzling array of visual contrasts that I immediately brought back to the studio.”
Ruminating about her process, and her ongoing battle to be the best painter she can be, Jaenicke says, “A painting never comes easily for me. I am constantly challenged to create something that goes beyond just painting a ‘thing.’ That magic doesn’t always happen in every attempt, but when a painting ‘hits,’ it makes all of the painful misses well worth it.”
Barbara Jaenicke has been on the faculty for the virtual art conference Pastel Live.
Connect with the artist at barbarajaenicke.com.
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