By Shya Beth
Jen Brandon’s painting style fits perfectly with the powerful and swift jumpers, delicate equine features being blurred into the brush strokes as her subject leaps over the obstacle. Jen, or “the girl behind the painting,” as she calls herself, loves life and all it brings with it.
Surrounded by horses her whole life, Jen has experienced the equestrian lifestyle from riding to raising her own foals, so it’s not a surprise that one of Jen’s favorite things is her equine paintings. “Horses have been a big part of my life since I was a little girl,” she said. “Raising horses, riding, waiting for the birth of our next foal, training the foals and learning to care for them was an enormous part of my childhood. I’d spend afternoons getting lost in the woods with my horse, or cantering through the fields. It shaped this farm girl’s love of horses, freedom and beauty.”
Pursuing art as a career was a no-brainer; it was as much a passion as was Jen’s love for horses. “It made perfect sense to combine the two. Creating paintings of horses has always been a joy for me.”
Graduating from Marywood University in Pennsylvania with a bachelor of arts in illustration in 2005, Jen also had a private tutor her whole life — her mom.
“My mom is a phenomenal artist. She has her master’s in art education, and having a natural love for the arts and a bent toward creativity, my mom and I have a special bond. I’m thankful beyond words for her help and encouragement throughout my artistic journey,” Jen said. “Both my mom and my husband are integral part of my business. My mom travels with me to equestrian shows and helps me while I exhibit my work, which is so fun! My husband manages the business aspect of my work, dealing with all the tedious bits of paperwork and details that slowly suck the life out of us artists. I couldn’t do what I do without him, or my mom. They set me up so my creative energy can thrive.”
Classical Meets Modern
Exhibiting at the likes of the Winter Equestrian Festival and having her painting “A Splash of Red” featured as the Hampton Classic Poster in 2018 are just a few of the highlights of Jen’s career. She describes her style as “classical meets modern.” “When a horse is in motion, I love painting in that light,” she said. “Large brush strokes vigorously express the action, while deliberate brush work depicts the strength and attitude of the animal.”
Jen’s painting “The Gray” is the official artwork for the 50th Anniversary of the Menlo Charity Horse Show in California, which has been rescheduled for August 2021. Jen also uses her skill set to create pieces for collectors, customizing her style to fit both her clients’ wants and the subject matter. “Some prefer more muted, traditional tones while others prefer a more modern pop of color and expression,” she explained.
Jen does live painting demonstrations at horse shows, setting up her easel, fresh canvas and her paint palette, creating a masterpiece right on the show grounds. Curious onlookers can stop by for a moment to see what she’s painting and see what it takes to create a painting, and then stop by her booth to see some of her completed pieces. “One thing I’ve done several times is offer horse and pet lovers the opportunity to submit their own photos via Instagram for a chance to be featured in one of my painting demos.”
Jen’s advice is perfect for all walks of life. “Follow artists you admire, attend workshops, explore new techniques,” she said. “It’s not about having ‘arrived,’ but rather the beauty is in the pursuit — in learning to express beauty. Don’t be afraid of failure; try new things and explore. Don’t let perfectionism be your crutch and stand in the way of creating great and beautiful works!”
One of Jen’s goals is to illuminate the energy and emotion of a moment in time, using different colors and cultivating her recognizable style. “The beauty of paint is that it merges with the artist’s vision and imagination and makes those things, once intangible, perceptible and real to the viewer. To do this, my process starts with morning sketches, a cup of tea and a fireplace with two snoring Great Danes by my side.”
Mastering the Medium
Jen also helps artists of all levels on their art journey through her virtual platforms. “In February I launched my online painting course, Master the Art of Painting Loose, the online course that builds confidence through a step-by-step guide to painting loose and expressively in oils,” she said.
“It’s a great experience for artists wanting to learn how to be bold and loose, and to have a tried-and-true painting method they can trust while learning how to paint expressively. I’m teaching a lot of pet portrait artists as well as equine artists, amateur to professional, and it’s a great way to connect and see positive changes happening in people’s lives.”
The doors for enrollment are closed at the moment, but you can join the waitlist to be the first to hear when it opens up again. Until then, every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. EST, Jen goes live on Instagram and Facebook for #ArtTipTuesday, giving a free mini lesson on all things art and creative living.
Currently residing in her home state of Pennsylvania with her husband and pups, the girl behind the paintings is never too far away from her easel and sketchbooks. With new images waiting and a hopeful outlook for the horse shows returning soon, Jen’s life is just as vibrant as the paintings she creates.
For more information and to get your own free copy of Jen’s painting guide, visit jenbrandonstudio.com and follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @jenbrandonstudio
Art Of The Horse is the world’s first equine art platform, established in 2014 by Shya Beth. With weekly articles featuring up-and-coming as well as world-renowned artists, exhibitions and art news, Art Of The Horse is the premier source for all things equine art. Visit artofthehorsegallery.net