GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.

X

Artist Jennifer St. James displays her detailed portraiture, bird paintings at Independence Gallery

Windsor-based creative mixes classic techniques with fresh subject matter

“I’ve Been Set Free,” an oil painting by Windsor-based artist Jennifer St. James. Independence Gallery, at 233 E. 4th St. in Loveland, currently has work by St. James on display and for sale. (Jennifer St. James/ Courtesy photo)
“I’ve Been Set Free,” an oil painting by Windsor-based artist Jennifer St. James. Independence Gallery, at 233 E. 4th St. in Loveland, currently has work by St. James on display and for sale. (Jennifer St. James/ Courtesy photo)
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

The intricate work of Windsor-based artist Jennifer St. James carries a palpable intimacy.

“I See You,” an oil painting by Jennifer St. James. (Jennifer St. James/ Courtesy photo)

In her portraiture, subjects’ eyes often reflect light and their varied expressions seem to tell a multitude of stories. The way hair strands drape over a shadowy collarbone or how a gaze is adverted — chin down — provides onlookers with delicate glimpses of personality and mood.

Much like the way she captures the nuances of humans, her pieces showcasing members of the animal kingdom are just as enticing.

From crimson cardinals perched on a branch to horned antelope, the grace and wildness of untamed creatures is splashed onto canvas with precision and passion.

“Lend me Your Ear and I’ll Sing You a Song,” an oil painting by Jennifer St. James. (Jennifer St. James/ Courtesy photo)

Utilizing classical traditions to craft contemporary pieces with oil and charcoal, St. James’s work is a beautiful fusion of old and new.

In-focus subjects rest against backgrounds that appear hazy, creating a rustically raw feel and adding a mysterious essence to her body of work. It’s as if she has invited us to share in rare moments — cherished and fleeting.

We caught up with the Texas-born creative to find out what works future buyers can find of hers at Independence Gallery in Loveland, a pre-teen aha moment that solidified her interest in art and what she hopes to accomplish in 2021.

Reporter-Herald: How long have you been showing work at Independence Gallery and what pieces of yours can we find there currently?

Jennifer St. James: I have been showing my work at Independence Gallery for two years now. When I first started there, I was featuring lots of my portrait work, but as I began to enjoy painting animals more and more, they eventually took over my wall space. I’ve been most recently working on a series of birds. Some of the bird paintings are hanging there now (“Lend Me Your Ear and I’ll Sing You a Song” and “Early Bird”). Some have sold (Always Yours” and “Tanager on Perch”) and others are still wet on my easel. I also have a couple of dog paintings (“Truly Loved” and “Great Outdoors”) hanging in the gallery alongside the birds, as well as some paintings of fish (“Holy Mackerel” and “Hungry Trout”).

Artist Jennifer St. James holds up her painting “Favorite Pair” in her home in Windsor. She created this work for a show at Independence Gallery, in Loveland, called “The Same But Different” where artists painted from the same reference. She currently has work for sale at Independence Gallery. (Jennifer St. James/ Courtesy photo)

RH: I read that you studied journalism at University of Colorado Boulder. What motivated you later to pursue art full-time?

JSJ: I’ve always enjoyed creativity. When I was young, probably around 12 years old, my aunt sat me down next to her at her easel and walked me through a painting of Noah’s Ark. It was the first time I’d ever painted and I knew in that moment that one day I would be a painter. Unfortunately, decades went by before that dream came to pass. I loved the creative aspect the school of journalism offered and was more focused on the creative advertising side. But still, it wasn’t painting. It wasn’t until I was later married and a stay-at-home mother of two that I decided to go back to school for fine art. I went through a rigorous two-year art program in Loveland and I continue to take workshops and study with other artists.

“Always Yours,” an oil painting by Jennifer St. James. (Jennifer St. James/ Courtesy photo)

RH: Where have you gleaned inspiration from lately? What continues to inspire your work?

JSJ: When I was doing my two-year program at Schissler Academy of Fine Art, I was taught the classical methods of painting and was focused on a high level of realism. While I appreciate that style, it’s been fun to see how my own style progresses and changes. I am constantly trying to loosen up in my paintings, playing with edges and even abstracting fully rendered work. I first started deconstructing fully rendered work on my birds. I loved the way I was able to soften edges and even make some of them disappear. Then I began trying it on my portraits. I like the juxtaposition of the realism and abstraction and seeing the tension it can create in a painting has been inspiring me to keep experimenting and traveling this path.

RH: Besides Independence Gallery, where else can potential buyers find your work?

JSJ: Potential buyers can also find my work on my website, stjamesfineart.com, as well as my Instagram account, @jenniferstjamesart. My Instagram account has more of my work on it and if you scroll to my first painting I put on my account and then compare it to the most recent, you’ll be able to see the evolution of my style from art school to now.

“Pretty in Pink,” an oil painting by Jennifer St. James. (Jennifer St. James/ Courtesy photo)

RH: Are there any bucket-list goals you wish to accomplish professionally or personally this year?

JSJ: I would like to be more productive this year. I have set goals for myself and I’ve started working with a mentor for accountability of those goals. One of my goals is to expand my series of birds. Another is to start painting en plein air. This is the year where I intend to stretch my skills and focus on technical areas that I’d like to strengthen. I’m excited to see where my painting takes me.