Jennifer Vranes loves landscape textures
September 20, 2016
Oregon-based painter Jennifer Vranes is riding her palette knives to success.
The acrylic painter has been named one of the world's top selling landscape artists by Art Business News and her paintings were recently secured by the U.S. State Department to be placed in the "ART in Embassies" collection in Bamako, Mali.
On Friday, Sept. 23, Vranes will be at Lunds Fine Art, 591 Main St., to not only show some of her new landscape works, but also do a little demonstration, according to Debbie Lund, who along with her husband Allen Lund owns the gallery.
"We are excited to have Jennifer coming to Park City," Debbie Lund told The Park Record. "She is a great artist and has a great personality."
Vranes said she is looking forward to painting in Park City.
"Allen is an artist, which is great, so, I can use all of his paints," Vranes said with a laugh during a phone call from her home in Medford, Oregon. "I will bring my palette knives with me. So, I will probably be sculpting out the textures with big gobs of paint."
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Vranes enjoys sculpting the acrylic pigment on the canvas with palette knives for three reasons.
"First off, it's fun for people to watch because it's so sloppy and messy," she said with a laugh. "People usually gasp when they first see me doing this. I like to scoop out the paint and get dramatic."
Secondly, it's her style.
"To become a successful artist, you need to set your style apart from the zillions of artists out there, so I make my paintings sort of a three-dimensional experience so the viewers can feel and touch, quite literally, the bark of the trees I paint because the paint sticks out from the canvas," she said. "Ninety percent of the painting is done with a palette knife, because that's the only way you can get so much texture onto the canvas."
The third reason is simple — she doesn't like to use brushes.
"Brushes tend to blend the paints, and I don't want to blend," she said. "I scoop up many colors on my palette knife and when I apply them to the canvas, they maintain their individual colors."
Vranes' journey to landscape and tree paintings started when she was a senior in high school.
"Although I always drew, I never took a lot of art classes because we didn't have a strong program, and I was also busy with student government and all my electives were usually taken up," she said. "It wasn't until my senior homeroom teacher, who was an art teacher, noticed my doodling."
Vranes ended up taking Art I.
"The teacher was so awesome that when I got to college at Brigham Young University, I ended up switching my major from English to art, and I felt like I had to play catch-up to all of these amazing artists from Utah," she said.
The professors at the beginning would always question why Vranes wanted to major in art.
"It was because my art was so rough, but by the end of the class, they would tell me that I progressed more than anyone they have seen," she said with a giggle.
Vranes got her degree in portrait painting and started her career painting people.
"I think that's hilarious because I don't do that anymore," she said. "It was tough to sell someone else's portraits to people who weren't their family members."
To figure out what she wanted to do with her art, she moved to San Francisco and joined the art guild there and did weekend shows.
"I asked every tourist that came by what kind of art they were attracted to and everyone, without fail, said they loved color and texture," Vranes said. "That's when I went, 'Ohh, I liked texture, too,' and would recognize that the paintings I was attracted to had the thickest textures whenever I went to a show or gallery."
So, the artist started to add texture and landscape to her works and loved it from the get-go.
"My first landscape ever was a poppy field and it was so liberating to put a poppy in wherever I wanted," Vranes said. "It was so much fun, that I kept asking myself why I didn't start this sooner."
Once she started painting landscapes, Vranes knew she would have to visit the real landscapes that inspired her works.
"I needed to see them with my own eyes so I could paint them better," she said. "That's when the trips to Italy and France came in so I could see how the lavender fields grew."
All the while, the texture of the acrylics got a little thicker every year.
"It just seemed the right thing for me to do," Vranes said.
The painter said she is so happy that her paintings bring joy to her clients, but also said she does get burned out because she's a workaholic.
"That's the challenge I face a lot," she said. "I work a little too much. I mean, it's like 3 or 4 in the morning and I'm still working."
So, to help with her burnout, Vranes has to consciously remember to take breaks.
"My husband is good at getting me to take a break," she said. "He'll tell me to watch a show with him, it doesn't matter, even football, and he'll rub my neck."
Vranes' busy seasons are winter and summer.
"I found that I can take some time off during the other months and not feel guilty, but even then, I'm usually gearing up for the busy seasons," she said.
Landscape painter Jennifer Vranes will be at Lunds Fine Art, 591 Main St., on Friday, Sept. 23. For more information, visit http://www.lundsfineart.gallery. For more information about Jennifer Vranes, visit http://www.jensart.com.
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