Painter Jennifer Kahn Barlow presents her delightfully sweet portfolio, and invites you to visit her website to see more of her artwork.
I began painting at age 7 and continued through my grammar school years. I entered college with the intention of majoring in Studio Art, however, the overly competitive nature of my studio art program soured me on art-making at the next level. I pushed towards the opposite end of the spectrum graduating with a degree in Economics.
While pursuing Economics in academia and the corporate world, I preserved painting as a hobby through various local art studios and on my own. But it was not until the birth of my daughter, that I found a new passion and drive for my art. With this new focus, I exited the workforce to devote myself to my two loves: family and painting.
I reconnected with art through the flowing marks and vibrant colors of artists like Sargent, Monet, and Cassatt. Landscapes, figures, and still lifes danced off of my brush as if no time had passed. After a few years of making paintings, I noticed myself returning to certain subjects more frequently than others.
I have always had a sweet-tooth, so my choice to paint confectionery seemed logical enough. At first I chose to paint them for their physical qualities: color, texture, plus I could consume them when I finished. However, after being drawn to paint these same subjects over and over, I found myself exploring their deeper significance in my life.
My paintings of sweets distill precious moments from the normal chaos of daily life. The indulgences I render in oil on canvas speak simultaneously to a personal challenge as well as a broader cultural issue. As a mother of now two young children, my life and time is no longer my own. The French Macaron, my primary source of inspiration, has emerged as a metaphor for all of my desires for indulgence temporarily placed on hold.
Composed amongst many of the trappings of daily life (reading glasses, coffee cup, tea set), these delicious oases offer a brief hiatus from life’s daily operations. I find that people connect with this ‘eternal ephemera’—a paradox made tangible through paint. Holding on to these glorious indulgences in a permanent state of joy is the goal of so much of my work.
My most recent paintings focus on balancing my own desires with those of my family. As a parent, responsibilities are never complete and downtime is often placed on hold without a moment’s notice.
My artwork is evolving as I am, both as a mother and an artist. I’ve returned to study art and develop my craft with the guidance of an amazing instructor, Artsy Shark’s August 2013 featured artist Glen Kessler. I look forward to continuing to capture the full splendor of life, its brief indulgences, as well as its harder-won rewards.
Jennifer Kahn Barlow invites you to visit her Facebook page.