Jennifer Nolan at Location Gallery

A shiny pink flamingo leans in, curiously watching its next meal as gold metallic fronds loom in the background. A coyote in profile is intensely focused, its coat a shifting palette of shadow and light, creating palpable textures of fur and form. A weasel stands happily, its head cocked with a mischievous eye; metallic silver stem and flower prints accent the background.

Known for her detailed watercolors and animal portraits, Jennifer Nolan launches her first solo exhibition Friday at the Location Gallery. Proceeds will be donated to the Ossabaw Island Foundation through the end of August.

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Originally from New Jersey, Nolan moved to Savannah in the mid-1990s to study illustration at SCAD. As the industry became increasingly digital and computerized, she remained focused on paint and brush in creating her art.

“I’ve always been a practical person,” Nolan said. “I like to mix colors and feel that on a brush when I apply it to a board or paper. The act of making art in this way is very personal, and I have the opportunity to discover the animal in a way that you just can’t do in digital illustration. I always get a little sad once I’ve finished a painting because I’ve had so much time to get to know and understand the animal. topic.

After graduating from SCAD, she and her husband moved to Atlanta where they lived for nearly 20 years and where she quickly became active in the city’s fine arts community.

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Nolan has regularly shown his work in group and solo exhibitions in Atlanta and surrounding cities. Currently, she is represented in Savannah at Reynolds Gallery, Swan Coach House Gallery in Atlanta, Downtown Gallery in Cartersville, and Salzmann Gallery in Marietta.

For her exhibition at Location, gallery director Peter Roberts encouraged Nolan to explore species she may not have painted before.

“What I love about her work is that she always has this great balance of negative space in relation to the subject of the painting,” Roberts said. “This balance shows how she studies an animal, lets it breathe in the work, each painting revealing the personality of each neighborhood. I really wanted Jen to have the opportunity to show off her chops with all forms of the animal kingdom and urged her to do something she had never done before or use a technique she didn’t have. not yet experienced.

Nolan accepted the challenge. She experimented with leaves and flowers from her garden and used them as background print elements.

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Her bee portrait is a portal to some of the artist’s hours of painstaking research and experimentation. The bee hovers thoughtfully tall on an 8 by 10 inch clay board where Nolan skillfully uses line and color to create the realistic depths and comfortable textures of the insect. But the creature’s most captivating feature is its large, glowing brown eye, reflecting levels of warm light.

“The portrait of the bee required a lot of observation. To really get the right eye, I did hours of photographic research and then played around with paint and color to convey it,” Nolan reflected.

“I am a non-traditional watercolourist, working mostly on clay cardboard where the application of paint is very different from that of paper. I can apply paint with a dry brush and then apply it to the board, then depending on how I add water, I can build layers of paint with different transparencies. With the bee I experimented with transparency and also used zinnia flowers as printed objects. I pressed them with gold leaf, then printed them by hand. With this painting, I feel a special connection because I studied every detail of it so hard in its creation.

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Now, back in Savannah just over three years with her husband and five children, Nolan feels blessed to have finally made Hostess City her home. These days, she focuses on creating meaningful, animal- and nature-focused work. She wants to help create and be part of a world in which people consciously see, experience and appreciate the beauty around them. Nolan sees his 24-piece show as a way to do just that.

'Queen Anne's Lace and a Weasel' by Jennifer Nolan

“I love this city and having a solo show in the city I love is wonderful,” Nolan said.

“The past few years have been hard on everyone, and the everyday tends to diminish our experience of beauty in the simple things. Everyday, we forget to appreciate the glory of being. With this show, I hope encouraging people to pause, take a closer look and, by absorbing the small details, to connect with the wonder that surrounds us in nature. I hope this show will inspire a sense of awe and gratitude in everyone who attends.


What: “Walk, Run, Swim, Fly” by Jennifer Nolan

Where: Location Gallery, 251 Bull Street, Savannah

When: Opening reception is Friday from 6-8 p.m.; current until august

No cost

Mildred D. Field