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JENNY LONG graduated in 2003 from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at what originally was Okanagan University College in Kelowna. Before her studies at OUC, Long lived in Denmark for a year as a Rotary exchange student, which allowed her the opportunity to absorb a foreign culture and in traveling, realized her desire for visual expression. For years after her studies Long showed commercially with the Art Ark Gallery in Kelowna where she gained a strong reputation for her abstract portraits. A series of steady commissions followed + Long has since continued creating custom artwork for a multitude of clients whether in the form of portraits or pure abstraction. A highlight was being commissioned by the SOEC to create a portrait of John Mellencamp to give to the artist himself in 2012. Her passion for painting extends to her students she teaches through group and private lessons most recently from The Long Gallery + Studios located at 374 Main Street in Penticton. She is thrilled about nurturing the growth + exposure of the exciting group of artists who rent studios as well as show in her bustling downtown art space.
“My work merges the school of abstract expressionism with the act of portraiture. In doing so, the paint itself is figurative–it is just as important as the person it is describing. The language of the ground is heated by emotional, instinctual play with the paint, which allows for the figure to be more than an individual caught in time, but an essence of being.”
Live painting has become a major player in Long’s career–it not only challenges her to bring a personal, intimate practice into a public realm (becoming a form of performance art in a way) but it also feeds her need to be intuitively inspired and channel the energies that are present rather than carrying out the motions of pre-meditated work. Her paintings come to life with life itself. Here are a few pictures from live painting at Vinyl Fest 2016 where she created a portrait of Willie Nelson.