Artist Interview - Jenny Westenhofer

I was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. At age 32, I followed my heart to Louisville, KY where I still reside today. I have four kids who keep me on my toes and a wonderful husband who also keeps me on my toes! I work mainly from my home studio which is also where I teach a group of women oil painting on Thursday nights. My studio is very small yet every inch is special…. a lot of green and bright pink, with jewel toned ornaments hanging from the rafters year-round! I also lease a studio space in a beautiful industrial building in Germantown. This space serves as a getaway from home when I need to focus all my attention on the painting and not worry about changing out the laundry or tending to the million other things going on in my head. Music is a must when I paint. It varies from 80’s to country to alternative rock, depending on my mood.

I have been driven by creativity for as long as I can remember. As a little kid, I would stare at people’s home décor or clothing, soaking it all in and of course making my own judgments! I remember in Kindergarten, I was creating a farm, and I colored meticulous rows of carrots and other vegetables, making sure to put the little lines on the carrots. I was a very detailed little artist, and all I ever wanted under the Christmas tree was a new art set. Although I did not study art in college, I have always kept it as a part of my life in several ways….. home design, gardening, wall murals, holiday décor, and of course, painting. It has only been about 5 years that I have painted on a consistent basis. I am happy with my art right now, but I have so much room to expand and grow. I am excited and grateful for so much opportunity! I never want to “be done”.

The beauty of my career as an artist is that I have such flexible hours. I can still be the mom that I want to be while also being the creative person I NEED to be. I do not keep set hours at this point in my life. I feel like I will know when the time is right to take my career to the next level and increase my hours in the studio. Until then, I cherish all of the time I get to paint, which is around 10-15 hours per week. I work on commissions for clients, paintings for an art publisher, and also ideas of my own that I want to get out on the canvas.

I am inspired by color combinations that I see in everyday life, such as kids in colorful jackets riding in a school bus, or my daughter’s nail polish collection. I focus on how colors work together and play off each other. I also focus on varying texture, saturation, pattern and opacity of paints to form an interesting, balanced painting. My favorite combination right now is a feminine color palette mixed with an impasto black and white pattern. I am also inspired by other artists and designers, such as Erin Gregory, Teil Duncan, Anna Spiro, Alison Kandler and Emily Henderson. These creative women tend to lean towards feminine and eclectic, totally my gig! I am careful not to focus too much on other artists’ styles so that I don’t hinder my own creative expression.

I love to paint mixed media, collage, acrylic, even house paint makes it on my canvases. But my favorite medium is oil. Painting with oil is like icing a cake. It is not as forgiving as acrylic, which makes me paint each stroke with purpose. Oil can be tricky, and that pushes me to keep learning. Over time, I feel like my style gets a little looser, a little more abstract. I hope for this to continue!

I am most creative when I am spiritually fit, so I try and live each day with gratitude and an open heart. The true secret to my success is the One who gave me my gift in the first place 😊.

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