Painting Life: Painter Jenay Elder Featured at Two Galleries in Ashland
For Jenay Elder, choosing art as her life’s focus wasn’t simply because she was growing up and needed to make a decision. Her life experiences, as well as her artistic talents, brought her to the path of artistry.
“I decided to pick up oil painting, and art as my life direction at the age of nineteen,” she says. “I always enjoyed making things and decided I had better choose something to focus on.” As a child, she moved several times with her parents as they played music in homeless shelters and churches as part of an outreach mission. “We never had a lot of money or toys but we did spend a lot of time outdoors and in different states and always had access to decent schools, instruments, and computers which ended up being a good environment to organically explore interests and to self-teach.”
Elder isn’t a stranger to the idea that life is hard. In fact, she accepts this fact in her own work, understanding that painting is a process that constantly needs to be practiced. She says, “I find that art is a way to develop your mind, your spiritual sensitivities, your personal value systems, and philosophy. Many great artists talk about painting the unseen, suggesting that art can somehow illuminate some greater aspect of our existence even for just a second. I’m trying my best to find my own philosophies within the language of art while balancing my day to day.”
Her work is primarily of landscapes, people, and landmarks. She teaches portrait classes and will teach an art class at RCC this coming Fall. Her work is currently on display at Art & Soul Gallery and The Walton Art House, both in Ashland. Her art has been shown throughout the valley, and has also won Best of Show for the Southern Oregon Plein Air.
“Right now my main focus is on plein air oil painting,” she says. “Which works well with everything I have going on. I’d like to incorporate more modern themes into my work, figures, buildings and such because I think it is important to find philosophy and joy in those areas.”
Art & Soul Gallery
247 E. Main Street, Ashland
10 am – 6 pm, Tuesday – Saturday
12 – 4 pm, Sunday
The Walton Art House
800 N. Main Street, Ashland
11 am – 5 pm, Wednesday – Sunday