Arts Visual Arts

Cover Artist: Jennifer Barrineau

Full Moon Cubs. Jennifer Barrineau, artist

By Gina Malone

Jennifer Barrineau’s art centers on nature and she has a profoundly matter-of-fact reason for its exclusivity as her subject matter. “When people ask me why I rarely paint people or buildings,” she says, “it’s because the natural world has always made more sense to me. Like the way a bird scatters seeds and propagates plants which then grow to become food and shelter for more creatures, while humans build new strip malls right next to old, abandoned ones. The symbiosis between plants and animals is simple, honest and justified.”

Sun Bear. Jennifer Barrineau, artist

Barrineau’s life, however, has afforded her residence in two scenic, art-centered cities: Sarasota, FL, where she grew up; and Asheville, where she moved in 2007 after having visited several times. During childhood, she learned to love nature while camping on weekends, exploring beaches and gardening. “Walking among the cushioned floor under the pines with ocean sounds in the background and the salty air centered me,” she says. She attributes her artistic sense to the examples her parents provided: her father a draftsman and her mother a horticulturist and both of them creative DIY-ers around the home.

Sarasota afforded her access to many art classes in high school, and she attended Ringling College of Art and Design, earning her four-year degree in illustration. “Up to that point, I had been drawing only in black and white, pencil and pen and ink,” she says. “Then my first painting class introduced me to color. The boldness of brush and paint loosened me up and I felt a freedom I hadn’t known in my art up until then. Creativity began to flow from me in a fresh way.”

Since then, her art has taken many forms as she experimented with oils, pastels, watercolor and colored pencil illustration. “Eventually switching to acrylics, I found the versatility they offered to be perfect for the style I was developing. I used canvas for many years, but most recently began painting on wood panels, often using the grain of the wood to enhance the composition.”

Peekabear and artist Jennifer Barrineau

Today, with the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains all around her and memories of the scenery of Florida, nature continues to be her main source of inspiration. “Images of trees and animals fill my mind in full color,” Barrineau says. “The persistent ones get sketched on paper and then developed into paintings, allowing me to share my vision with others.” People often tell her that they are drawn to the colorful worlds she creates and that having her paintings in their homes brings them happiness. “Jennifer’s work applies a subtle softness to the strong native subjects and trees,” says Michele Sparks, owner of Art MoB Studios & Marketplace. “Our clients are drawn to her techniques and her color palette.” During the pandemic, Barrineau says, a client compared her art to comfort food.

Wisdom Star Owl. Jennifer Barrineau, artist

As it did with many, the pandemic interrupted Barrineau’s creativity and she stopped painting for several months. “Then I slowly started drawing again and realized how essential creating is to my personal wellbeing,” she says. “When I’m making art, I feel alive, productive, confident and humble.”

To learn more, visit JenniferBarrineauArt.com or find her on Facebook @jenniferbarrineauartworks or on Instagram @jenniferbarrineauartist. Contact her for an appointment to view her work. In Asheville, find her work on display in the windows at 717 Haywood Road between The Hop and Jargon in West Asheville. Throughout the summer, she will be hosting Pretty Day Pop-up Sales at this location. Her work is available at regional galleries including Art MoB Studios & Marketplace, 124 4th Avenue East, Hendersonville.

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