The Feminine Touch

Painting by Jennifer Downey

    Alameda artist and illustrator Jennifer Downey likes exploring the relationship between humans and nature. This 2005 painting, An Ever Changing Landscape, is a 30-by-30 oil on canvas and is part of her figurative series, Feminine Nature, for which she’s been an accidental model on occasion. The inspiration comes from the blustery west of Ireland, sunny one minute, stormy the next, with dramatic light play and unique shadows, a phenomenon reminiscent of the mind’s similar adaptive capability. Interested in what she terms the “feminine principle,” she says, “I’m always trying to paint this duality between subtlety and strength. In our culture, strength is usually more of a masculine idea rather than strength can be quiet and it can be still. I see both of those in nature and in women, or the idea of the feminine realm.” Downey is a big walker and runner who always carries some type of sketchpad and pencil, interrupting her activity for a little fieldwork to draw trees, flowers, seeds or pods she’ll incorporate into her paintings. See her work at local galleries around town and at or attend her holiday studio sale 12 p.m.–6 p.m. Dec. 6–7 at 4219 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland.

—Judith M. Gallman

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