Friday, February 10, 2017

Spotlight on: Jennifer Balkan, 2017 Texas Top Ten

NAME: Jennifer Balkan
CITY: Austin, Texas
“Sisters”m 24”x30”, oil on wood panel

Jennifer grew up in New Jersey and began to draw at a very young age. She studied neuroscience in college and considered pursuing a path in psychology. After living in Boulder and Seattle, she moved to Austin. She attained her Ph.D. in 2001 after conducting anthropological fieldwork in Mexico. Although her experience in Mexico was rich, Jennifer longed for artistic creativity. In August of 2001, Jennifer spent a month in Spain, France, and Italy where she saw masterworks that would become her inspiration. She then threw herself into oil painting and now paints fervently.   Jennifer has taken art classes at Laguna Gloria Art School, the Austin Fine Arts School and at the Art Students League in Denver. She currently paints in her studio and in life painting groups. She has been teaching figure and portrait painting in oils to private groups of students since 2005. Her work has been exhibited across the United States and in Europe and has been featured in a number of art publications.  In 2015, two of her portraits were awarded by the Portrait Society of America.  She was also named “Best Visual Artist of 2015” by the Austin Chronicle’s Readers’ Poll.  Most recently in 2017, she has been included in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine’s photo essay on leading contemporary figurative painters.  

Though it is a cerebral concept that motivates me, the process of painting is superior to all else.   Once I begin a painting, my interaction with the canvas takes on a life of its own; it transcends whatever I can actually say about the painting once it is finished.   Like some kind of meditation, if I remain in this state during the entirety of my painting experience, then I can say that my work is honest.

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