I love how Jen Brandon paints her subjects so that they fade into the background of the paintings, leaving your attraction onto the horse that seems to be galloping out of the frame. It evokes a feel of a challenge, coming out of the shadows and making your corner of the world a little more unique and interesting. It always amazes me at how artists can create so many different styles of paintings with just your basic paint, brush and canvas!
“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.”― Neil Gaiman
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Jen, or “the girl behind the painting” as she call herself, loves life and all in it. She currently resides in Pennsylvania, USA with her husband and Great Danes. Jen says that some of her most inspirational moments for her art was when she was apprenticing under David Leffel and during her trip to Italy when she saw the works of the master artists of old.
Jen has been around horses all her life, from riding to raising her own foals, so it’s not a surprise that one of Jen’s favorite things in painting horses. She graduated Marywood University with a BA in illustration. Jean describes her style as “classical meets modern.” I agree with her on that!
TFS: How long have you been around horses?
JB: Horses have been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. Raising horses, riding, waiting for the birth of our next foal, training the foals and learning to care for them was an enormous part of my childhood. I remember brushing and petting my first quarter horse, keeping my eyes closed so I could memorize her muscle structure to better know how to sketch her. I was 9 years old. She was my world.
TFS: Did you always want a career with them?
JB: Pursuing art as a career was a no-brainer; it was as much a passion as was my love for horses. It made perfect sense to combine the two together. Creating paintings of horses has always been a joy for me.
TFS: Can you tell us more about your style?
JB: My style can be described as “classical meets modern.” Having had classical training, I like to infuse my work with my own personalty and expression. When a horse is in motion, I love painting in that light. Large brush strokes vigorously express the action, while deliberate brush work depicts the strength and attitude of the animal.
Within my own style there is variety, which I aim to customize according to my clients and the subject matter. Some prefer more muted, traditional tones while others prefer a more modern pop of color and expression. While some pieces lend themselves to a more aggressive approach, others call for a certain sensitivity.
TFS: Have you ever created art for a poster for a horse show?
JB: In 2013 the Equine Affaire featured my work as their official art work and poster.
It’s been an honor having my work featured in various magazines and equine catalog covers throughout the years, including Bit of Britain, Equestrian Culture, Life Beautiful, The Equine Marketer, and Trafalgar Square Publishing’s Horse and Rider Books.
TFS: Any upcoming art shows/exhibits?
JB: The Hampton Classic is the next upcoming exhibit! I love this show. I will be doing live painting demos in the Boutique Garden next to Jen Brandon Studio’s booth space. Horse and pet lovers can submit their own photos via Instagram for a chance to be featured in one of my painting demos.
After the Hampton Classic my next exhibit will likely be at the Winter Equestrian Festival in West Palm Beach.
TFS: Do your ever paint live? Or do you stick to using reference photos?
JB: I enjoy painting live, also known as plein air. Typically my subject matter for painting en plein air is landscape, painting rocky coasts, lighthouses, and harbors. With action shots of horses or pets, I paint from photos, and give live painting demonstrations of the process. These demos can be seen at my exhibits.
TFS: Are there any artists/people that inspire you with your art, or that you admire?
JB: My mom has always been a huge inspiration to me. A talented artist, teacher, and friend, she’s always encouraged me in my journey as an artist. Painters Richard Schmid, Rien Poortvliet, and John Singer Sargent have always been tremendous inspirations of creativity, beauty, and expression.
TFS: Where can people go to see your art?
JB: My work can be viewed at my website as well as at select horse shows (Hampton Classic, Old Salem Farm, WEF). A collection of my work can be seen at the Saratoga Saddlery in Saratoga NY, and the Hong Kong Happy Valley Jockey Club.
TFS: Any wise words for other artists?
JB: Never stop learning. Follow artists you admire, attend workshops, explore new techniques. It’s not a concept of “having arrived” but rather the beauty is in the pursuit—in the learning of expressing beauty.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Try new things and explore. Don’t let perfectionism be your crutch and stand in your way of creating great and beautiful works!
TFS: What are the ways you find most useful for promoting your art?
JB: Exhibiting at select horse shows has been a great way for me to connect with my clients. Social media, word of mouth, an online presence, and published works and articles have all been successful ways to promote my work.
TFS: Do you have workshops/classes?
JB: I teach an oil painting class once a week for a group of wonderful learning artists.
Typically each year I offer a week-long painting workshop. When officially announced the info can be found on my website.
TFS: Do you have any works in progress?
JB: I have several works in progress at the moment, including several custom paintings for clients, and a new large piece that I’ll be unveiling at the Hampton Classic.
What’s the process for commissioning a custom painting?
If interested in a custom horse or pet portrait painting, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. I’d be happy to see photos of your horse or pet, discuss style options, and create a custom work that is special and unique for you.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful equine art with my readers and I, Jen! Looking forward to seeing your art piece unveiled at the Classic.