As a panda bear who loves to climb trees — not all pandas can — I am mesmerized by Brenda Jiral’s paintings. Trees are a recurring theme in this fine artist’s most recent artwork, reminding her of strength, vitality, and her deeply rooted faith, as she shares on her website.
Firmly Planted, Freely Blooming
Brenda is not interested in painting a carbon-copy reproduction of landscapes and forests. Rather, she sees her work as an opportunity for the viewer to reflect and reconnect with nature. Although this Michigan-based artist creates much of her work in watercolor, she doesn’t call herself a purist — she embraces variety with opaque watercolors, gouache, acrylics, watercolor pencils, and other mediums. She’s even experimenting with tree-friendly mineral paper.
The piece we feature above, titled “Mossy Giant,” is a 20”x10” watercolor and gouache on watercolor paper, mounted on a cradled wood panel and sealed with an acid-free wax sealer. The work is framed in Frame Destination Canvas Floater Frame F340 in a rich shade of Espresso. “The frame arrived in perfect shape and looks terrific with my art,” Brenda says. “It really complements the painting!” We couldn’t agree more.
See More of Brenda’s Work
You can peruse more of Brenda’s beautiful landscapes at BrendaJiral.com, Fine Art America, or in person or at Zeeland Art Gallery in Zeeland, Michigan. In my Q&A with Brenda below, learn about her art education, her trick for unblocking creativity, and her three favorite color names (two of which I can’t pronounce!).
Now for Artie’s Eight Q&A with Brenda Jiral …
1. What is your background; how did you get started?
I began exploring art at a very young age. Once I discovered that I had the ability to draw, I couldn't get enough. In high school, I took every art class I could and pursued learning opportunities outside of school, at local colleges, and schools further away. I studied fine art in college, but put it "on a shelf" in order to get married and start a family. When my children were old enough, I dusted off my artistic ambitions and started taking classes at the local art center. Unfortunately, at the time, there were very little opportunities to continue my education. So I took it upon myself to learn any way I could. I checked out every painting book the library had to offer and watched countless YouTube videos, in an effort to learn more. I spent hours upon hours experimenting and practicing in order to teach myself what my education had lacked.
2. What role do you think the artist plays in society?
I believe that art enriches lives; not only those of the artists and collectors, but everyone exposed to it. It creates beauty, and beauty lifts the spirit of individuals and then society. In the words of Robert L. Lynch: ”The arts empower. The arts give a voice to the voiceless. The arts help transform American communities and … the result can be a better child, a better town, a better nation, and certainly a better world. Let’s champion our arts action heroes, emulate them and make our communities everything we want them to be.”
3. What has been a formative experience or the best advice you’ve received within your career?
Be true to yourself. Don't create what you think people will buy or what seems popular at the moment. Create what makes your heart sing and people will be attracted to the genuine expression of it.
4. What ways does your work reflect your personality?
I have so many interests when it comes to art: different styles, mediums, subject matter, and techniques. I am most happy when I am experimenting with a new medium or technique. That mirrors my personality, as well. My tastes are eclectic in everything from food to house decor to music to art.
5. Creative blocks, do you get them? If so, how do you overcome them?
I keep several art journals in my studio. When I am feeling blocked, I pull out one of my journals and play. I don't put pressure on myself to create a serious piece of art, the goal is to just enjoy the process, much like a child does. I find that practice frees me up and awakens new creativity and allows me to then move on to something more "serious."
6. What is your most indispensable tool? (Not counting the obvious, like paints, brushes, canvas, camera, etc.)
My eyes and my mind.
7. Do you have a new project you are working on, or a new passionate idea?
I am working on a series of woodland scenes painted with watercolors on tree-friendly, mineral paper. I am having so much fun seeing how the paint flows and mingles on this new, paperless “paper.”
8. What is your favorite paint color name?
Oh gosh, how can I possibly choose just one? Since color is my favorite aspect of art, I am always finding new colors to explore. At the moment I can distill it down to three: Anthraquinoid Scarlet, Quinacridone Red and Cobalt Teal Blue.
All artwork and/or photographs used in this post are subject to copyright held by the featured artist.
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Last Updated September 21, 2021