Intrigued by repetition, rhythm, and pattern, Jennifer Mitton delights in recreating beauty on canvas. The splendor of this Tofino seascape at sunset ripples into exquisite configurations as the light dances through the ocean mist. “The natural environment is bursting with an explosion of luminous colour, and I’m always trying to capture that,” says the painter. And she prevails with this triangular interplay of resplendent complementaries in Evening Shore, Tofino. Jennifer beams with a quiet satisfaction as she reaches this pinnacle in her career. The calibre of her artwork has earned her Signature Status at the Federation of Canadian Artists.
Currently featured at the Federation’s Icon exhibition is the spectacular Crashing Surf. Jennifer elaborates, “What I loved about doing this painting was keeping the water cool with lovely blues and greens, and then adding the flashes of intense red where the darks meet the lights. Instantly the waves woke up!” The surf sparkles with an effervescent brilliance as it swells and surges in a passionate burst of excitement. The artist has truly outdone herself in crafting this iconic marvel.
What a pleasure it must be for Jennifer and her artist husband to jaunt over to Tofino and explore the magnificence of the Pacific coastline! “We’ve visited several times in the past five years,” she shares. “We sketch and paint ‘en plein air,’ sitting on the sand, with oil paints and watercolor.” The couple is blissfully engaged in a shared vocation on vacation. “It’s really wonderful to have someone to talk to about all of this,” reveals Jennifer. Back in the studio, she uses her sketches and selected reference photos to create yet another masterpiece, Quicksilver Sky. The atmospheric seascape in cyan, pink, and orange won second prize at the Federation’s recent Landscape exhibition. This is Jennifer’s sixth award for artistic excellence.
No stranger to accolades, Jennifer has also won prizes for her literary endeavors. A Period of Weakness in the collection of short stories, Sleeping with the Insane, is particularly humorous. The author’s dry wit and wild imagination will leave you in stitches. The story revolves around a young woman’s fascination with her figure-drawing instructor. In one ridiculous scene after another, the older man has his students fashion still-life drawings from various arrangements of women’s undergarments. Equally comfortable with the ridiculous and the sublime, the author has delved into social commentary in her novel, Fadimatu, the story of a young Nigerian woman who struggles to maintain her integrity within a culturally constrictive environment. Goose Lane Editions describes the book as powerful, engrossing, richly textured, and revealing. Jennifer’s latest work of fiction, Bonjour Minuit, is a novel for young adults, written entirely in French. Not surprisingly, she both wrote and illustrated the book.
The multi-talented artist has achieved her success through drive and persistence. “It has been such a slow process,” she confides. “But I love learning.” Her academic training is extensive with multiple degrees in a plethora of disciplines: English Literature, French, Creative Writing, Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Illustration, and Design. At the same time, Jennifer began attending ateliers with internationally renowned painters. She took the first one with Ted Seth Jacobs in France. Jacobs originally taught at the Arts Students League and then at his own school, L’Ecole Albert DeFois. He has been a major contributor to the revival of traditional drawing and painting.
The workshop marked a crossroads in Jennifer’s life. Not only was her future husband in attendance—and the second time around, they had baby Nell with them! —but she also gained access to the classical training required to advance her career. Jacobs underscored the need for drawing and painting from life. He schooled his students in the effects of light on form and the way we perceive color. He insisted that students use their eyes alone to measure and to understand the underlying structure of the human body and natural forms. Jennifer discloses, “For one thing, this kind of training means you don’t have to fret when the model moves, or the wind blows.” “The training was intensive,” she adds, “but now that I’ve got the skills down, I can paint in any style I like; I’m not tethered to realism or abstraction—I’m developing an impressionist style that continues to evolve. It’s all just so much fun.”
Why not drop by Octopus Studios at 393 Powell Street during the East Side Culture Crawl, November 19th – 22nd, to view Jennifer Mitton’s impressive collection of inspired artwork?