Jennifer Vranes received a formal art education in college, but as she continued down her artistic path, her creative passion began to wane. That is until she visited The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Seeing van Gogh’s work in person —— the bold colors, thick paint and strong brushwork —— reignited a creative fire within Jennifer. When she returned to the states, she immediately visited the art store and purchased supplies to try a whole new style of painting.

She loves her now-signature thick paint and bright landscapes. Her work brings her joy, and she aims to evoke the same feelings in her audience.

How did you get started in art?
I was a senior in high school, and my homeroom teacher happened to be the art teacher. He saw me doodling on my math homework, and he said, “Jennifer, these are great. I didn’t even know you were an artist. Why aren’t you taking any of my art classes?” And I told him, I just never had time. I never really thought about it. He said, “Well, your last semester, I want you to take my [introductory] art class.”

So I did, and he was really instrumental in guiding what I would go on to become: an artist. It’s just incredible to me, the impact a teacher can have on a student. That’s where it all started.

How has your art evolved?
I look back [at my earlier work] and it was so realistic and smooth. Then I graduated from college, and I was getting a little bored with that.

I happened to go to Amsterdam, and we went to The Van Gogh Museum. I remember that trip because the moment I saw van Gogh’s artwork in person –– all that texture –– I decided I wanted more texture in my paintings. There’s a reason I’m so attracted to art with that texture and color; why am I not painting with that? Why is everything so smooth and perfect?

The moment I came home, I went to the art store and picked out every single palette knife I could find. I was just trying to experiment, so I got them all and started practicing. Before long, I wasn’t doing my figures any longer. It was pure landscape, and I was happy. That was my soul. I’m so much happier being able to add a flower or a tree –– to have such freedom to paint.

As the texture kept getting thicker, people wanted to touch them. [And I felt] yes, I’ve succeeded if they want to reach out and touch this texture.

How do you hope your art makes people feel?
The best compliment I get is that my paintings make people happy. It’s probably the most common compliment, too. I think the color evokes joy, and the beauty of nature is such a peaceful, happy subject matter. So that’s what I want them to feel: happiness.

What makes the Celebration of Fine Art unique?
The show is such a one-of-a-kind show. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world. And I love it as an artist because, like most of these artists here, we’re the only artists we know of in our little town. We’re creating art solitarily in our studios.

When I started [showing at the Celebration of Fine Art] 14 years ago, it was like a whole world of other artists in the same boat as me, professionally working and selling the work. I couldn’t believe it! It’s just amazing to connect with them. The best part for me is to have amazing artists, a hundred of them, surrounding me —— to rub shoulders with them and talk about art and be inspired by each other.