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SANTAQUIN — As she spends time outdoors, Utah artist Jenna Von Benedikt derives inspiration for the landscapes and birds she paints.
A Brigham Young University graduate, Von Benedikt has been creating art for the last decade. The English-born artist largely paints with oil and focuses on three types of art: contemporary landscapes, abstract landscapes and bird paintings.
A big part of what she is exploring are the landscapes people find themselves in and the different places they end up, whether it's on a spiritual or physical level, or wherever they are geographically, she said.
"I refer to nature a lot, I feel like that's ... one of the things that just ties us all together ... with this idea of being across various landscapes and different places in our lives," Von Benedikt said.
The definite lines she uses in her abstract paintings often represent the pathways people take through their mortal existence and the layers of experiences people have.
Where some see a variety of birds in her paintings, Von Benedikt sees herself. Since Jenna is translated to mean "little bird," she creates her bird paintings in place of self-portraits.
Von Benedikt said the birds are of reflection of "what kind of message am I bringing to people and giving to people?"
The artist's landscapes are also hugely influenced by her faith, Von Benedikt said.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Von Benedikt said her landscapes tie into the way she believes people are going onto somewhere else after they die.
"...Family plays a huge role in that," Von Benedikt said. "Because, you know, obviously we feel like we can be with those people again, and we can strive through the various paths we take with the people we love and ... move on to somewhere else that is great too."
The artist added she creates art because she feels there is something inside that needs to be nurtured, and it makes her think about what she's doing in her life.