Australian born Maine Artist, Jennifer Litchfield
One Painter's Journey
I was born in Australia and lived there for the first 45 years of my life. Painting is what I have truly always wanted to do. I come to it lately by way of a long and circuitous journey. As a child I had made drawings and paintings, really ever since I can remember. Art was not considered a viable professional option and eager to please and support myself I chose a medical career which I pursued for over 20 years, always with the secret thought that I would return to art when I retired, or at least when I had enough time, as in fact my grandmother, a talented artist, had done, beginning her successful 30 year painting career at around age 60. A few days before her death at age 95 she gave me her remaining art supplies knowing I am sure, that I would be following her artistic footsteps. It would be another 12 years.
Then life presented me with an extraordinary gift. I met and fell in love with an American, married him, immigrated to the US in 1994, and changed my life. Now I had the time and opportunity to follow the dream. The transition was not so easy emotionally however and I found myself struggling with letting go of the old identity and giving myself permission to completely change and go with what I loved rather than what I thought I should do.
The love is however so deep and so essential that following it was, in some way, quite choiceless.
After moving to Maine in 1996 I sought teachers and have been very fortunate to have found excellent instruction in both pastel and oil painting—these being the media I was most drawn to after some experimenting—oil paint for its sensuous quality and endless possibilities and pastel for its immediacy and brilliant pigment. I have been working since then more or less full time.
I find much to inspire me in the gorgeous landscape of coastal Maine and painting has brought me into an intimate and direct relationship with the land here in my adopted country. I feel it has helped to ground me here in a new and very different environment.
Painting for me is an expression of my inner emotional responses to the outer world of form and color, the sensuality and aliveness of the landscape both natural and man made and the infinite beauty and fascination of the human face and figure. In my paintings I combine realistic and impressionistic elements with my own feelings of joy and amazement at the natural world. I hope that by organizing the scene on paper or canvas that I may help myself and the viewer to savor the elements and forms of nature and the world in a way that communicates a little of the essence and the mystery.