By Cara Williams
Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Jennifer Woodburn began to experiment with painting while living in Summit County, Colorado. “I was on maternity leave and needed to use my brain,” says Jennifer. “So, I took a few art classes at night.”
Her interest quickly grew into a passion. Although she prefers acrylic on canvas, Jennifer has dabbled in watercolour and gouache, as well as oils. “In the early days, because I was painting at home with a toddler in the mix, I wanted to work with something that was easy to clean up and non-toxic. Acrylic checked all the boxes, and it also reflects my personality type—I’m highly impatient. Acrylic dries quickly and layers easily if I change my mind. It has a flexibility that I’ve enjoyed working with for over twenty years.”
Inspired by the natural world, line, shape and colour are all major components in Jennifer’s work. She cites Wayne Thiebaud and Wolf Kahn as her main influences, along with renowned Canadian landscape artists, the Group of Seven. “My husband Mark is from Ontario,” explains Jennifer. “When we moved to Clarksburg to be closer to his family I made the decision to throw my hat in the ring and try to make a career out of painting. I was going to give it two years.” Jennifer enjoyed success from the outset. Today, countless Jennifer Woodburn paintings are collected, displayed and adored in personal residences and art galleries including Loft Gallery in Thornbury, Scandinave Spa in the Blue Mountains, Butter Gallery in Collingwood, Paula White Diamond Gallery in Waterloo, Ryan Fine Art Gallery in Port Carling, Eclipse Gallery at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville and Stephen Lowe Gallery in Calgary.
Having lived in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Colorado before settling on the Escarpment, Jennifer is inspired by both wide-open spaces and mountain vistas as well as the tranquil calm of lakes and streams. Illustrated with vivid colour and dramatic skies, Jennifer recreates simpler forms from what she sees in Canadian landscapes and rural architecture. “Mine is a graphic take on life,” explains Jennifer. Featuring all four seasons, Jennifer’s Birch series celebrates the vibrant, lush forest with joyous riots of colour. Her Water series captures the beauty of windswept trees and the rocky Canadian Shield reflected in tranquil lakes and rivers. Beginning with painting the canvas with black gesso, Jennifer sketches her design before adding layers of colour. The resulting black lines break up the bold strokes creating an almost stained- glass effect.
“Through the relative chaos, I find the design in nature and dance with it on canvas. Using line and simplifying what I see, I look for interesting shapes and colours, and explore the spaces in between.” Jennifer primarily paints in her Clarksburg home studio, and often creates as a resident artist at the Loft Gallery in Thornbury.