CARLSBAD — Growing up in Minneapolis, Jennifer Chapman was required to go down to her father’s art studio in the family basement, pick up a brush and add her contribution to a painting he had in progress to earn spending money for the weekend. Her dad is world-renowned golf artist Loyal H. Chapman, best known for his “Infamous Golf Holes” series.
“My dad was my best teacher,” Chapman said. “He is a watercolorist who is into realism, which is very hard to do. People see a little Hudson River school influence in my work, and have also compared me to Claude Lorrain and other 17th and 18th century European and Renaissance artists.”
During her studies at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Chapman remembers sitting in front of the Old Master’s paintings and sometimes studying them for hours.
“I wanted to challenge myself to get as close as I could to the original painting,” she said.
Chapman perfected her gift over the years and today her portraits command $6,000 to $25,000. Her scope of work includes oil paintings, some as large as six-feet-by-eight-feet, and murals, too.
Her original “Masterpiece Collection” of hand-painted pillows and shades have been showcased in the books “The French Connection” and “Inspirations from France and Italy” written by best-selling author and designer Betty Lou Phillips.
“Jennifer Chapman’s original paintings on leather morphed into salon pillows pay homage to France and Italy with their magnificence,” Phillips said. “Without question, I am delighted that her accomplishments wound their way into my design books. Indeed, befitting an admired artist, Jennifer Chapman channels historical references true to the period into her work.”
Chapman’s subjects are usually landscapes and portraits, often of contemporary women dressed as 18th century queens.
“I love the fine detailing, designing the jewelry and gowns and adding personal touches requested by the client,” she said. “I had one client who asked that I add her daughter’s soccer ball to a 18th century portrait of her. I enjoyed her wanting to ‘mix it up.’ It was a good call, fun.”
One of Chapman’s best works is titled, “The English Vale.”
“With my landscapes, I have an idea what I want when I start, and it always becomes something else,” she said. “I run with it. Usually, my best paintings are unexpected from my imagination.”
Many of her paintings, such as “The Journey” and “Nicole’s Sanctuary,” are available in limited edition prints, signed and numbered. Prices range from $250 to $650.
Chapman also derives great pleasure in creating animal portraits for her clients.
“I usually take a favorite photo and embellish it in an Old Master’s-style landscape or interior,” she said. “One client came with their dog Chi, a rescue with no back legs. Such a happy little dog, he pulled himself around my kitchen and yet was so proud. I painted Chi in a very noble setting, very regal. The client was thrilled. I loved it.”
As time permits, Chapman offers master art classes to small groups of no more than three.
“My approach to teaching is that if you want to paint like me, then I have to teach you to copy me using the same brushes, paints and canvas,” she said. “After eight weeks my students leave with their own masterpiece in hand. It’s a very exciting process.”
To see more work from Chapman’s gallery, visit jenniferchapmandesign.com.