Lines and Colors art blog

Jennifer McChristian (update)

Originally from Montreal and now based in California, Jennifer McChristian is a painter I first featured back in 2007.

Working primarily in oil, and secondarily in gouache and watercolor, McChristian paints both plein air and in the studio. While she sometimes paints the natural landscape, her preference is to find subjects in the built environment, often taking obvious delight in the geometry of buildings, highways, streets, and bridges, and the shapes of shadow and light they produce.

She also finds inspiration in nocturnes, working with the contrasts of darkness and artificial light in a way that strikes me as appealingly playful. McChristian also studies people, placing her figures and portraits within their environment.

Her approach is quite interesting; she apparently works with a bright, high chroma imprimatura, reddish or almost magenta, that she allows to freely come through in areas of her brusquely textural paint application.

I find the textural, painterly nature of her brush marks particularly appealing. Unfortunately, this character of her pantings doesn’t come through well when reproduced at the size of my example images (I’ve included one detail crop to demonstrate). Fortunately, if you click through the thumbnails on her website to the full size images, most of them are just large enough to see and appreciate this aspect of her work.

Her website is divided into galleries for landscape, figures, drawings and an archive of older work. Her blog also serves as an archive of sorts; though no longer active, it still includes additional examples of her work as well as photos of her conducting workshops and classes.

McChristian’s work is featured on the cover and in the lead article of the current April/May 2021 issue of PleinAir Magazine.