Jennifer Woodburn: Simplified Acrylic Landscape Paintings

Published Mar. 13th 2013


A love of the outdoors—especially skiing, and mountains—has catapulted acrylic painter Jennifer Woodburn from Saskatchewan to British Columbia, to Colorado, and finally to Clarksburg, Ontario.

It was in Colorado that Jennifer picked up her first paintbrush. . . enamored by line, shape and color, Jennifer now excels at creating simplified visual images of what she sees. Her work is sometimes compared to modern stained glass designs, and it’s true that the minimalistic style she has developed is worthy of such comparison.

“Mine is a graphic take on life. Through relative chaos, I find design in nature and organize it on canvas. Using line and simplifying what I see, I look for interesting shapes and colors, exploring the spaces in between. Rhythm is found and exaggerated, with an upbeat palette and a bit of whimsy for good measure,” she said.

What a fantastic explanation of her work! And you can see exactly what she means by looking at the recurring shapes and “organized chaos” in Winter Light, below.

Winter Light web

Dusk approaches, sending rays of weak sunshine filtering through barren trees. Bronze specks highlight the shadowed snow and dot the blanketed sidewalk.

Hundreds of lines—formed by trees pointing upward, snow scattered sideways and cement paths leading to a point in the distance—create a variety of perspectives and slants that give the painting a three-dimensional look. Likewise, hundreds of layered dots and amoeba-shaped ovals of various colors add depth to the painting.

This next painting, entitled Valley Vista, reminds me of Nebraska’s curvy hills, mostly in the way that the highway intersects miles of colorful cropland as far as the eye can see. Tilled squares of land are represented by wavy strokes, or bright colors, while perfect pine trees peek out of shallow valleys and break up the view.

Valley Vista web

In the distance, circular bales of hay complement the rigid angles of a red barn. Blocks of farmland create a quilt-like display, fading as they recede into the background where a magnificent blue sky takes over. It’s a playful, relaxing scene, and one that showcases the beauty of a landscape that may often be incorrectly viewed as dull, or ordinary.

Lastly, in Walter’s View, sun sifts through the autumn leaves and sends streams of light spilling across a dirt-packed path. Boulders strewn about take on defined, angular shapes due to the deftness by which Jennifer assigned unique sides to each one.

Walters View Commission web

The cliff drops off into a forest of bright green trees, which thin out to reveal level farmland. In the distance, a large body of pale blue water stretches out to greet a gray sky busily consuming the horizon.

A cluster of colorful trees in the foreground act as a window for this enormous stretch of land, creating a place of relaxing contemplation. I bet those who view this landscape in person share a quiet, serene moment similar to the one I experienced after seeing this painting.

The deeper you delve into Jennifer’s website, the more you will appreciate her special talent of simplifying the chaos around her. Take a look, and be sure to check out her blog as well!

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