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Studio Jennifer Carlisle



Oil on canvas
18" x 24"


The intuitive journey is at the center of my work. It is through a steady laying down and peeling back of color and form I begin to find my way in. I try to be awake to those things in life which stir my imagination and move me most.  Vignettes, directly observed, are often my starting place, but as a piece unfolds it may naturally move well into the abstract.  Or, I may jump in with a memory or mood, but as the work progresses suddenly feel the necessity to work figurative content into a piece to better express or inhabit the provinces of what I am trying to say.  I am humbled and informed as I open myself to the search, and rather than force my will on subject, endeavor to engage fully with my materials and follow them as channels to the surprising discoveries which can unfold when working in this way.

I do find it of great importance to work at times directly 'from life' as life and nature are the greatest teachers.  And when I work from this direct observation, I prefer to make drawing the first step of visual selecting in the creative process. It is via this brief 'study' that I try to internalize the spirit of my subject--for it is not visual reproduction that I seek, but rather capturing the essence of it. For me, this is where the poetry is to be found.

I daydream and watch landscapes real or imagined--the growth and endless forms in the garden, racing skies and shadows over hills--and try to listen for what they say. The objects on the table, the rythmed silent light--I pursue the metaphors to put sensation to form, in the patterns of what they mean to me.





Jennifer Carlisle was born and raised in Northern California, and spent her youth exploring wooded hillsides and watching the sky for cloud forms, night stars, and the ever changing moon.

She received her formal training in Studio Art at the UNIVERSITY of CALIFORNIA at Santa Cruz, where she focused on painting. Graduating with honors in 1986, she adventured cross-country and settled in Princeton New Jersey. There through dumb-luck and good-connections, she landed a job working for 'star-chitect' (architect) Michael Graves, and began a design career alongside her journey as a painter.  In 1990 she returned to California and UC Santa Cruz to complete a Graduate Certificate in Art teaching program.

Jennifer has taught art in California and Seattle Washington, where she has lived for many years.  She has lived in the English countryside and in Italy, where she now has a home in rural Tuscany.

Life in the USA still provides essential perspective to her time living and painting in the Italian landscape, in a stone house older than time, and in a day dream where her most important painting research is spent exploring wooded hillsides and watching the sky for cloud forms, night stars, and the ever changing moon.