‘Curious’ artist moves beyond the brush as writer, musician

‘Curious’ artist moves beyond the brush as writer, musician

‘Curious’ artist moves beyond the brush as writer, musician
Jennifer Granat likes to paint landscapes in which lighting carries a mysterious and moody feeling.

John NakanishiCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (May 3, 2024) — It’s difficult to describe Jennifer Granat.

She is an artist who likes to paint landscapes in which lighting carries a mysterious and moody feeling, and to sketch with bold, sweeping lines a nude figure from a live model.

But more than an artist, she is an accomplished writer in poetry, flash fiction and short stories, as well as co-author of a recently completed novel. She’s also a musician who plays piano and guitar and is turning a stage play she wrote into a musical.

I discovered Granat through her art. Many of her paintings tell a story, and when you discover that story, it adds another dimension to what you see.

Telling a story

‘Stern Grove Trees at Night’ by Jennifer Granat.

Take her painting “Babaylan.” The woman in the painting is a Filipino friend of Granat’s. The flower in her hair is the national flower of the Philippines. The clouds on the earth depict Super Typhoon Haiyan of 2013 that destroyed much of the Philippine Islands.

Granat says that the piece is about global warming. She learned a lot about the culture when she painted it.

In her landscape paintings, not only is there a sense of a story, but Granat has been able to capture a nocturnal mood. “One thing I like a lot is to make things look really mysterious in moonlight,” says Granat.

When viewing the “Nocturne” series, you get a mysterious feeling of expectation along with the peaceful quietness that one often experiences when daylight fades to dusk.

Granat expresses some disappointment when discussing her figurative drawings, because she wishes there were local venues willing to exhibit the nudes. Her drawings of live models are often in charcoal or pastels. She uses colors to set a mood and adds a few simple strokes that evoke a familiar gesture or a remembered pose. It is a fun challenge for Granat to translate some of her more gestural pieces into abstract figures.

Granat took advantage of local community colleges to took as many art and music classes as she could, including art history, color theory, design, drawing, painting and figure drawing.

“I’m just a very curious person,” Granat shares. “So I basically have these de facto degrees in art and music.”

Connecting writing, art and music

Jennifer Granat
Jennifer Granat.

Granat enjoys writing as much as she does painting. She recently co-authored a murder mystery novel with seven other writers from the Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club. Granat also created the cover illustration for “Passage to Murder,” which is set in San Francisco.

As with contributing writing and art to the novel, it should come as no surprise that Granat’s various disciplines connect and influence each other. One example is the upcoming multimedia exhibit “Ekphrasis,” offered by the Lamorinda Art Alliance (LAA), which features two of her poems and one of her paintings.

The musical Granat is creating started with a paint theme. She explains this intertwining of her art, writing and music in the evolution of the musical: “I started writing poems about color, and the color orange turned into a hilarious stage play.”

Then her musical side stepped in and she thought, “Why not put it to music.”

Granat is not concerned about establishing a unique style. Her hope is that she can provide people with visual enjoyment. She would like to “engage the viewer and for the image to be pleasing in terms of color and composition. It’s all about feeling.”

View some of Granat’s artwork at jennifergranat.com and on Instagram @granat_jennifer. “Ekphrasis” runs April 29-June 28 at the Orinda Library.

Email comments and suggestions for future columns to John Nakanishi phjona@gmail.com.

Read more “Arts in Motion” columns.

John Nakanishi
John Nakanishi

John Nakanishi is treasurer of The Concord Art Association. He is an acrylic painter and a ceramic artist. When John isn’t creating art, he coaches soccer for East Bay Eclipse, a competitive soccer club based in Moraga. He is also an avid trail runner, enjoying runs from 5 miles to 50K.