Jennifer Brakefield (MFA, Painting, 2014) moved to Colorado from Maryland at the start of her MFA program at CSU. While in the program, her work focused on agriculture and industry and for her thesis, she completed a series of 6’ x 4’ paintings of the Feed and Grain building in Ault. She was interested in the historical significance of the buildingagriculture and industrial decay and the sublime nature of that process. 

Since graduating, she’s been working on plein air paintings. At the start of the isolation period, she was working on an oil painting based off studies done near the Big Thompson River on the West side of Loveland. 

Dome near Big Thompson, Oil, 24″ x 18″, unfinished

A few weeks ago, she travelled home to Maryland to take care of her elderly parents for three weeks and it gave her a fresh perspective on art making. Because she was limited in size and materials to what she packed in her artist travel bag: watercolor, pencil, pen, sanguine and sketchbook. She keeps it packed to make sure that when she goes out, she’s got what she needs. 

She was also limited in subject matter, as the Governor of Maryland declared a strict stay at home order, limiting where she was able to go. Fortunately, her folks have a semiwooded lot with lot of smaller subjects to study and she was able to do smaller pieces of historical places based off previous visits and sketches.

What I appreciate about this is that it evokes strong feelings about why I began to create art in the first place-”, she says of working in those limitations, that immediate and intimate connection between artist and subject- and why I continue to enjoy my Plein Air work.” 

She’s also been using this time to polish the business side of her art, by polishing her social media accounts, updating her website, creating a system for inventorying her work, and researching exhibition and other opportunities to move forward when all of this is over. She will also be teaching a class at the Art Lab here in Fort Collins. 

To see more of her Jen’s work, please visit her website, follow her on Instagram, and Facebook.