By Marilyn Delk
Jennifer Overholser can’t remember when she was not interested in art; she has always been fascinated with color, always loved to draw, took all the art courses available to her in elementary and high school, and appreciates having wonderful teachers who gave students the opportunity to explore their own creativity by offering a wide variety of artistic pursuits. Jennifer’s lovely, evocative work, now on display at the Anna Bier Gallery, demonstrates a remarkable ability to transport viewers into the scenes she brings to beautiful life with her brushes and paints.
Many of the pieces seem Impressionistic, a style the artist admits to loving. Jennifer utilized a palette knife a la Vincent Van Gogh for an alluring rendering of a “Railroad Crossing” that local residents frequently drive past without noticing the spot’s timeless beauty. A palette knife was also utilized to create lovely “Flower Pots,” a plein air exercise which alluringly peruses the boundaries of realism versus abstraction.
Jennifer’s work also sometimes brings Impressionist Claude Monet to mind; one such piece, “Daffodils,” simply depicts a lush tree and blooming flowers in front of a rustic fence against a blue background, creating a lovely space where one could linger forever. In “Garst Museum,” the old brick building sturdily stands amid Monet-like surroundings, lovingly revealing the often unnoticed beauty of a Darke County treasure.
“Spring Memory,” a beautiful close-up of white lilies growing at the home the artist shares with her husband Josh, aptly symbolizes the hope and joy the blooms provide as they spring up each year to herald the season of rebirth. “Desert Landscape” uses bold brush strokes to recreate the stunning Valley of Fire, a Nevada State Park the Overholsers visited during expansive pre-COVID travels, while “Orange Cat Sunbathing” delightfully captures a yellow kittycat sunning himself in a local park the couple visited during the era of COVID restrictions.
“Old Fashioned Painting” demonstrates another aspect of life as experienced by the Overholsers during the long period of time when gathering with others was curtailed due to COVID concerns; the couple often happily sipped comforting Woodford Reserve cocktails. The simple painting communicates not only that comfort, but also somehow speaks of the places and people missing from the scene.
Jennifer grew up in Jefferson, Ohio, a small town northeast of Cleveland; during high school, she worked at a dairy farm, resulting in her ongoing need to frequently stop her car to photograph cows. One of those stops is captured in a charming depiction of “Dairy Cows” picturesquely grazing in a fenced-in pasture, with barns and a pickup truck in the background.
Jennifer’s first painting instructor was Louise Captein, a native of the Netherlands, who taught her students to look at things objectively while using unconventional projects to urge students to push ahead and evolve as they pursued their artistic journey. Jennifer earned a degree in Visual Communications and Painting at Otterbein University; in addition to continuing to create art, the busy young woman now works as a marketing specialist for EverHeart Hospice, where she is fittingly in charge of graphic design.
Coordinating with her work for an agency offering comfort and care, Jennifer’s still life paintings emanate a sense of comfort and peace, including “Blue Table Setting” which, with its use of teapots and candles, somehow brought to my mind Disney’s Beauty and the Beast; however, the scene actually captures Jennifer’s Mom’s kitchen table decorated for Spring. “Asterisk Supper Club” offers a second charming table setting, this time at a Westerville restaurant often frequented by Jennifer and Josh.
Many more treasures await at this exhibit. Anna Bier Gallery Director CeCelia Rice is excited to share this charming work, saying that Jennifer Overholser’s demeanor and positive attitude are reflected in her graceful and calming paintings. This exhibit will be on display through June 12, with an Open House prior to DCCA’s presentation of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra on May 28. The Anna Bier Gallery, located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville, is open to the public on Sundays from 12 to 2 p.m. For more information, contact Ms. Rice at [email protected] or by calling 937-564-7568.
Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.