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Jenny Wu: Abstract Landscape Paintings in Charcoal and Oil

To painter and charcoal artist Jenny Wu, art is a constant unfolding of ideas, moments and compositions.

Constantly searching for abstract elements within real-life scenes, Jenny shares with her viewers the organic, poetic essence of everyday settings by transforming them into dynamic works of art.

Take the painting Snow, Pond, Barn for example. Jenny is an expert at creating the experience and adventure of a snowy winter day, entirely through her composition, colors, and brushwork.

Snow, Pond, Barn

It could have been a typical overcast day. . . but Jenny saw something more, and painted it with the sun’s rays flitting between the clouds, creating shadows which dance across the canvas.

The essence of “country” will live forever in this painting, with its never-ending, winding road, infinite skies and (literal!) white space of the snow-covered field. In this moment, I can hear the wind whistling over the barren trees and feel the cold air as it rushes into my lungs straight from the snow-packed landscape.

Charcoal, of course, is the perfect medium for another snowy day, seen below in this rendition of a distant building, precarious bridge blanketed in snow, and black-as-midnight forest.


The simplicity of charcoal conveys the starkness of mid-winter well. It’s easy to envision people hunkered down at home as the temperatures drop and life outside struggles to exist.

Shadows and clouds mysteriously creep into the scene, barely more than distorted smudges of charcoal across the canvas. Suddenly, I have to admit that I’m not sure if they’ve been there all along. . .

Lastly, for what it intentionally lacks in detail, the untitled painting below makes up for it in meticulous layers, visual space, color, and texture.


The subtlety of those different elements is what makes this painting successful. Just glance at the grass, and you may think nothing of it, but look more carefully and you’ll find so many greens blended together that it appears completely true to life without being obssessive or nit-picky.

Blue and beige shadows tie the entire painting together, linking sky, building, and ground within one cohesive composition. The entire piece has a freshness to it that reminds me of my first time on a university campus, when everything is new and life’s possibilities are endless.

To see more of Jenny’s expressive oil paintings and charcoal drawings, take a minute to visit her website and explore the world that she sees so well.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

What do you get when you combine world traveling with plein air painting? A job that incorporates oil painter Melanie Nogawski’s two passions, and allows her to share her visions of the world’s most intriguing landscapes with others.

Melanie's subtly impressionistic style is characterized by vivid color, as seen in this first. . . read more

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