Jeff Jensen has had a love affair with drawing and painting his entire life. Little did he know that this gift would play an important role throughout his education as well as into his chosen field.
After two art pieces were published in a national magazine at age 17, he began to try to figure out how he was going to use this talent to pursue a college degree and ultimately a profession that would fulfill his need and desire to create.
Well known architect Michael Graves once wrote: “Drawing stimulates the imagination and allows us to speculate about ideas, a good sign that we are truly alive.”
“Architecture, drawing, and creativity all seemed the perfect fit for me” Jensen states.
Jeff has continued to hone his drawing and painting skills for the last 40 years focusing primarily on watercolor.
“Watercolor has always been my favorite medium because of its spontaneity, immediacy, and unpredictable nature. My early influences included Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, and John Singer Sargent. Even though their signature styles varied greatly between them, all three artists were absolute masters at being able to capture and portray light and its effect of surfaces.”
“Most recently, I have been in awe of the work of some of whom I consider today’s modern masters; Joseph Zbukvic, Alvaro Castagnet, and Dean Mitchell and their ability to portray atmosphere and mood in their paintings. Their inspirational work probably explains why my subject matter tends to be the built environments of a lot of the places I have visited during my architectural career. Oddly enough, my primary studio has often been the airplane seat I am seated in during my work related travels. The trips sometimes are incredibly long and painting is a great way to pass the time while away from home.”
Jeff has been a member of SWS for only three years now yet feels a special tie to the organization. Harwood K. Smith, a noted Dallas architect and one of the founding members of the Southwestern Watercolor Society, is the founder and namesake of the firm Jeff has been practicing with for the past 33 years.
“Harwood had already retired when I joined the firm in 1982, but he told me that he still found time to paint every single day! He was an inspiration and I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to know him and to paint with him on occasion. I believe that Harwood was an artist first and an architect second. He was a very gifted individual.”
Jeff strives to continue the legacy by teaching workshops to the firm’s architectural student interns each summer. “This summer the class size ballooned to over 50 participants and the amount of excitement this has generated has been extremely rewarding for me. I have always been a proponent of an integrated relationship between art and architecture and these workshops allow me to encourage our student interns to continue the journey to develop their skills in watercolor as a life-long passion. Their transformation is often remarkable.”
“I am truly fortunate and blessed to have followed a career path that has allowed me and encouraged me to paint and create whenever and wherever I can. The Southwestern Watercolor Society has provided me with a host of new friends with kindred spirits and I look forward to enjoying their company for many years to come.”
Jeff, along with his wife Victoria reside in McKinney, Texas.
Cedar Street Studio
812 Cedar Street
Mckinney, Texas 75069