Introducing Artist No. 40 – Jennifer Takahashi

Jennifer Takahashi never considered being anything but an artist. “Even as a young child I remember being drawn to pattern and color – from the yummy array of colors in a box of crayons to the sight of a drawer filled with spools of thread. It was and has always been my happy place, a place to imagine and relax. After a childhood filled with drawing and painting, I went to college as a fine art major with a focus in jewelry design. Even though I never worked in that field, it taught me patience and an eye for detail that serves my current painting.

“After college, I worked in cell animation for several years, followed by several more years designing prints for fabrics in NYC. Both these jobs gave me the opportunity to hone my drawing and painting skills. I began painting for myself about 27 years ago. I started with watercolor, a medium I have found my way back to in the last few years.

“When I moved to Oregon 5 years ago, I had a feeling my work might change – and it has! The beauty and nature that surround us here has found its way into what began as mostly still life paintings. I first use a photo collage to create a photo reference for my subjects, which allows me to place a still life into unlikely surroundings. Then I paint with non-classic watercolor technique, filled with saturated color and a load of texture. The juxtaposition of the intimate view within the broader view speaks to the personal versus the public, our inner world versus the outer world… and the quiet beauty that flows through both if we stop to listen.

“Although I have worked in oil as well, this body of work returns me to my love of watercolor. The transparency of the pigments encourages a “lit from within” quality. These works are realistically rendered with a big nod to texture. But their light, color and point of view lead the observer to focus in a way that we don’t do in our everyday existence, taking them outside of pure realism.

“During Portland Open Studios, I will show how I create my collage references and I will also have a painting or two in progress that I will be working on. I look forward to meeting visitors and sharing my ideas and techniques. I love to answer questions!”

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