Jennifer Jaeger


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I was born in Taiwan in 1956, the oldest of four children.  Three of us were very interested in art, and we won many prizes—at first in our classes, then in our school, and then in citywide competitions in Taipei

  Our family was poor, but my mother took on side-work at night so that we could complete our educations.  My brothers and I drew constantly on old newspapers that we found lying about.  I became interested in watercolor, so I would bring home discarded paintings from school, soak off the pigment, and paint new images.  The shadows of the underwash that remained would peek through my new paintings like ghosts.

When I was 23, I married an American and eventually settled in Petaluma, California.  Suddenly I had a wealth of wonderful opportunities.  I began studying under great teachers, like Frank Sardisco, Charles Reid, Robert Wade, and Michael Loffredo.  I’ve also been influenced by the great masters.  I particularly admire Matisse for his sense of color and composition, Picasso for his skill at drawing, and Soutine for his loose and innovative style. 

As with all artists, my compositions aren’t always successful.  I have a reputation for “killing” paintings—repainting over old oil paintings in order to reuse the canvas.  One of my oil paintings has six earlier works underneath.  It was common for the old masters to paint over their failed compositions, but very few modern artists do this since it makes the colors a little muddy.  But I like seeing the faint shadows of earlier paintings in my newer works.  I think it adds texture and complexity. 


© Jennifer Jaeger, 2003.