Friday Art Feature – Jennifer Kearney

This week went by so fast.  It was a swirl of colors, flavors, scents, chirps, words, woofles, fur, feathers and a little art thrown in on this week’s journey to Friday.  Now that it is Friday, it’s time for another Art Feature.
This week’s Featured Artist is

Jennifer Kearney

Artist, Jennifer Kearney

Did you always want to be an artist?  If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

Yes!  Definitely yes.  My mother is a very talented artist, so I had the wonderful benefits and exposure to art of all kinds at a very early age.  Long story, short – It’s always just been a part of who I am.  Hmm, if I were not an artist I think I would have become an archaeologist… or a pirate.  I love old things and I love adventure.  Probably archaeology… less scurvy involved.  Seriously though, I’ve always loved to explore, learn, and discover, and have always had a fascination with the ancients.  My family moved around a lot as I was growing up, which made me a bit of a loner, a tomboy, a book nerd, and a thrill seeker (weird combo, I know).  Living in a variety of places always presented new areas for me to explore, and the places we lived in were usually very rural, so there was ample opportunity to saddle up and seek out adventure in any direction.  I also blame (and love) Indiana Jones.  Hehe
Pirate Skull by Jennifer Kearney
What mediums do you work in?
My primary medium is oil paint on masonite.  I love oil for its forgiving nature, and for the way it feels with a brush.  Out of all mediums (and I’ve worked with many), I think oil produces the most beautiful and visually rich results.  That isn’t to say that I think other mediums are not beautiful, but oil seems to have a quality all its own, but maybe I’m biased.  Aside from working traditionally, I have been working a lot lately with digital painting (Photoshop 5 and an Intuos 4 tablet), mostly due to its time-saving qualities.  I would also add that I enjoy watercolor and pen & ink very much.  Super Sculpey firm, too!  If I were to estimate my time, percentage-wise, with a particular media, I would have to say I work the most in graphite, because I sketch a lot, and I mean A LOT!
Smirk by Jennifer Kearney
You paint beautiful horses and unicorns and other animals.  Are horses your favorite animals?  If not what is?
I’ve spent most of my formative years around and working with horses, so it is very easy for me to say that… yes, they are definitely one of my favorite animals.  They are like big dogs in my opinion, each with their own personality, wit, and charm.  Of course, there’s no denying the elegant, powerful, majestic, beauty aspect, too.  I admire all types of creatures… there’s so much diversity on this planet of ours… but yeah, horses are definitely at the top of my list.
Unicorn by Jennifer Kearney
I really enjoy your Tree of Evil and Tree Bearer paintings.  Where did you get the ideas for these fantastic characters?
I love nature and everything about it!  I use to come home after school as a kid and watch shows like 3-2-1 Contact, Sesame Street, and all the many wildlife and science shows featured on PBS (still sorta do, though now I’ve added to my list: Animal Planet, Discovery, History Channel, etc. when I have time).  I love to go out and explore whenever I get a chance.  Always have.  Nature is a continual source of inspiration to me.  It takes me away from the troubles and stress of real life and rejuvenates my soul.  It’s a good way to refill the ‘inspiration well’ when you feel it’s starting to run dry.  It’s easy to fall into an artist block when you’re stuck at a computer or easel every day.  So, when artist block happens, get outdoors!  Heh, works for me, anyway.  When it comes to making my art, I enjoy taking what I see in nature, and melding it with things of fantasy and my own imagination… hopefully with the end result being a good one.  I like making my own hybrids of beautiful with a hint of weird/creepy or vice versa.  Most of what I create is from my head, but it’s generally based on something I’ve seen in reality.  The visual vocabulary I’ve acquired over the years from observing things around me plays a huge role in what I do.  I will sometimes use reference as well, but I try not to be bogged down by it.  Reference for me is just that, something to refer to, but not something to be locked into (unless you’re into extreme photo-realism – which I would say, if that’s the case… buy a camera).  To each their own, though.  As for myself, I try to keep a fair balance between reference and imagination.
Dragon Rider 2 by Jennifer Kearney
Your paintings are very “alive”.  You can feel the movement.  How do you breathe this life into your work?
Tough question!  Well, first I swing a chicken over my head three times under a full moon whilst standing within a circle of green M&M’s, then I drink exactly 6oz. of rum.  …and I’m kidding, by the way!  I guess a lot of what I do just seems intuitive.  Chalk it up to years of study, practice, and feelings/decisions based on ‘that just seems right’ kind of artistic recipe.  That “breathe of life” I suppose is just me.  Putting a little of my soul into what I do, is all.  I believe that to be true of anyone who is creating something from the heart.  I think it’s why artists can be so defensive of their work… it’s like their children, in a way… a part of them is in that creation (not everything they do, but the stuff that matters to them).  We all give life to each other.  I think that’s part of what makes art so great.  We are all inspired by the work of others – passing around to each other that spark of life.  A constant give and take of inspiration, but I see I’m going off on a tangent so I’ll leave it at that.
Baby Dragon by Jennifer Kearney
Which artists do you think have had the most influence on you?
There are so many that have played a part – from the Old Masters to present-day contemporaries.  Definitely my mother, Nancy Kearney – she really is awesome in talent and character.  Also, my dear friend and mentor, David Christiana – another amazing artist and person.  A short list of others would include but not be limited to: Arthur Rackham, NC Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Rembrandt, Solomon J Solomon, John Singer Sargent, John William Waterhouse, John Collier, Alphonse Mucha, Edmund Dulac, Frank Frazetta, Malcolm “Skip” Liepke… the list goes on and on.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not painting?
That depends on the weather.  Literally!  Heh, I currently live in Southern Arizona, and the summers here can be quite extreme.  During the more intense months of the year, I like to stay in during the day and read, sketch, play video games, hang out with family/friends, play around on the internet/FB, or just watch movies.  Swimming is a fun pastime, too.  When the temps are more tolerable, I love to be outdoors exploring and photographing as much as possible.  Photography is another love of mine, so I do a lot of that year-round, as well.
Want to see more of Jennifer’s art or follow her?

Thank you Jennifer, for taking the time to do this interview.  I’ve enjoyed seeing your art and getting to know you.  Please feel free to grab the badge below for your website or blog.   It’s also available on the side bar with the code already done for you.


Drop by every Friday to meet more fabulous artists.  Next week I’ll be featuring artist, Julia Cook.

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