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Jennifer Elliotson lives and works from her home studio in Niagara’s Wine Country.
She has always been an artist, but she hasn't always been a painter.
For 20 years, Jennifer was a professional floral designer running her own boutique studio. When she ‘retired’ from flowers, she fulfilled a life-long ambition of becoming a full-time painter and immediately turned her flower studio into a painting studio.
She hasn’t looked back.
Jennifer is a self-taught artist and has always forged her own creative path, drawing on decades of design and colour expertise to inform her work. The result is a distinctly recognizable style that dances between the tension of fine details and broad, loose brushstrokes. Focusing on the relationship between vibrant colour and light, she strives for her paintings to be simultaneously calm and inviting, yet lively and expressive!
Jennifer is inspired by the vast Canadian landscape, hiking in the native Carolinian woodlands and kayaking local waterways that surround her.
In each piece Jennifer creates, it is her hope to not only bring a narrative to life with colour and imagination, but for you to be able to find yourself within it.
"See those trees bend in the wind? I feel they've got a lot more sense than me. You see I try to resist..." - Kate Bush (Rubberband Girl)
When we were out on northern Ontario lakes, kayaking past weather-worn trees and massive rocks, I could see that the landscape had something to teach me. Gracefully leaning in the direction of wind, it's the trees' flexibility that accounts for their endurance and resilience. Weather-worn roots embedded in cracks of prehistoric rock both stabilize and nourish. You can see the influence of prevailing wind against their branches. These trees are bent, but not broken, I aspire to be this resilient, to bend in wind.
Amidst the instability of this world it brings me peace of mind to know these Precambrian rocks are immovable in my lifetime. But, they haven't always been here. Before they arrived in what we call Northern Ontario they were in the centre of the earth. The water of Georgian Bay is a constant thrashing against this rock face and yet it remains as solid as could be.
I didn't ever imagine myself creating a series called 'North of Here'. In my mind, this idea had already been perfected by Tom Thomson and it was pointless to re-imagine what he had already imagined so beautifully and brought to fruition so completely.
And yet, here we are in the autumn of 2021. The pandemic has affected each of us uniquely and collectively and (for better or worse) we continue to respond in ways that we never anticipated. Like so many other land-locked Canadians, I've headed out to our Northern Ontario woodlands and lakes to find something that was missing. Was it merely the need for a vacation? Maybe.
Or, maybe we needed to be surrounded by trees
Submerge our human bodies into bodies of water.
Hear our feet brush against pine needles.
See a bear.
Make friends with Chippy, the resident rodent.
Glide over the surface of a glassy lake.
Bear witness to the ongoing lives of massive rocks.
Be humbled by powerful wind.
In the winter, when we were booking our campsites, I didn't know that we would do all of these beautiful and life-giving things and that I would be so impacted by the experience. I didn't know that I would want to tell a visual story about our fierce collective human story reflected in the strength of the land.
We are weather-worn, resilient, steadfast, standing strong, alone, unified, willing to bend in wind, still here, but not broken.
We are the land. The land is us.