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Growing up on a ‘dead end’ road in the county; Ohio-native artist, Jennifer Sowders, grew up spending a lot of time studying nature. "I spend a lot of time ‘thinking’ on our farm as I’m weeding the garden or doing chores; caring for the animals. Negative space is just as important to me as positive space between objects so in this 'thinking' I am always ‘sketching’ in my mind and then later, shaping all references to fit that 'sketch'. Seeing that everything has purpose, it is then that I can go further and add elements that tell a story (the 'Illustrator' in me), because I want people to linger, to look and discover."
A 1994 BFA graduate from the Columbus College of Art and Design, her major in Illustration is often noted via storytelling elements in her body of work. Genre subjects or pathways in watercolor showcase that illustrative vibe but she also has separate series in differing mediums. She emphasizes, “It works to my advantage because I don’t get a chance to ‘get tired’ or stagnate. I am excited every single day for ‘What’s new?
The ‘Hands’ series encompasses a spiritual theme with drawing, oils and mixed media, in earth tones with a reflective-- somber feel. The 'Freedom Series' hinges on the symbolism of birds, expressing the many roles a woman can have and the color and medium express either freedom or suppression in those roles. A ’Classic Series' which includes traditional still-lifes, portraits, landscapes or plein air painting using watercolors or oils, just to name a few. Although some series make use of mixed media, she respects traditional mediums and techniques found in oil and watercolors. Working in layers with value studies in oil; keeping highlights pure in watercolors. "Whether carefully designed or plein air, I spend quite a bit of time planning before I ever create. Structure is important to me... I don’t like to frost a ‘messy cake’. ’”
Jennifer lives on her rural childhood farm in Northwest Ohio with husband Gary and 3 sons.