Sydney’s Northern Beaches

Jennie Jones was born in Canberra and now lives in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Growing up in Canberra was an introspective time for her. With not many activities for children in Canberra and the long winter months, Jennie spent her childhood pouring over children’s books with fascinating illustrations. Her favourite book was Beatrix Potter and she spent hours trying to recreate the author’s images. At the age of 14, Jennie’s family moved to Tokyo for her father’s work. This was a real turning point in her life where a whole new world opened up. Jennie lived and studied in Japan for four years. During this time, she was fortunate to see many touring exhibitions and was continually inspired by the Japanese painting style. “One artist mixed egg white into the paints before painting to create a luminesce finish.”

Sydney’s Northern Beaches Photo Gallery

This opened her mind to many possibilities. Living in such a unique culture at such a young age, she was not only constantly inspired by the Japanese traditional style but also the upcoming young culture. The designs of the most mundane things such as stationery sets, commercials and fashion were a point of fascination. Upon returning to Australia, Jennie moved to the Northern Beaches of Sydney where she was stunned at the beauty of the area. It was in stark contrast to the Tokyo landscape where she had not stepped on a blade of grass for four years. Suddenly, golf courses, huge rock headlands and oceans of blue surrounded Jennie. It was something she strived to capture on canvas. The views she captured allowed anyone to have “their own view” on canvas, like a window in their lounge room. From 1987 to 1990, she studied Art and Fashion Design for three years full time at East Sydney Technical College, now known as the National Art School. It was a challenging time with a heavy workload of projects to complete whilst attending classes to learn skills from textile printing to patternmaking, life drawing classes and painting. Upon completing her Design course, Jennie was amused to realise most people thought of her course as an “arty easy breezy course” that had been years of fun. Instead, it was gruelling, long and competitive. This however brought insight to the industry of the arts.

This experience in design has stuck with Jennie throughout the years. “Creating beautiful paintings takes time and effort, and that is not always appreciated.” But for herself, and most artists out there, it is not for the appreciation but the sense of achievement that keeps her painting. After finishing college in 1990, she began working in fashion design for several years and continued to paint for pleasure in her spare time. After many years, she found her true passion to be painting and turned this into a fulltime career in 2002. Since this time, she has exhibited with the Pittwater Community Arts combined exhibits and has also sold artworks through various shops in the Northern Beaches. Jennie has completed many privately commissioned artworks and is planning an upcoming exhibition at the Creative Space in Curl Curl sometime next year.

Capturing the Northern Beaches has been a challenge that has kept her motivated for more than 12 years. Jennie loves using different techniques to represent the rocky headlands, sometimes smooth water or crashing textured waves. No matter the scene, Jennie is passionate about painting the landscape around her. “I am always picturing views and thinking of workable compositions. How will I capture that scene? I love being able to paint that whole beach experience, or just part of it. I also like to create some abstract paintings, incorporating the beautiful ocean colours and sea life.” When she first begins painting, Jennie says she starts with the detailed work using the right side of her brain. After about half an hour, she notices the shift to the left side and the painting will come more easily. “Sometimes after many hours I get tired and I notice the artwork is more messy or free flowing. Sometimes this is good and other times I have to stop and come back to the work with a fresh approach, to tackle the detail again.” There are also times when Jennie harnesses alternative states of creativeness. “I will work on a detailed piece and then flip over to a more abstract piece that I am working on to make full use of that messy state.” Creating beautiful pieces of artwork is a passion for Jennie, who is continually inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds her. To date, she has produced around 1000 pieces and has sold 800 of these. “I have many more paintings in me and don’t have any plans to stop, my mind won’t allow it.” “My artwork is a challenge and sometimes a daunting process. But, to create a piece of art that I can be proud of and people can enjoy keeps me motivated and inspired.”

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