Artist of the Week: Jonelle Summerfield, From Ancient Cities to a Cat’s Confections

Our Artist of the Week, Jonelle Summerfield, has a documentarian impulse: there is something to be seen everywhere.

The paintings in Jonelle’s portfolio range from panoramic cities to individualized moments. Summerfield shows us that the sweet-toothed cat of Cat and Cake can be treated with the same technique and attention as the legendary monuments of Florence in Piazza Della Republica.

Her range is almost cinematic in the way it zooms in and out. Her quickish brushstrokes, simplified representation and warm colors unify her collection. These stylistic elements – which she calls “contemporary impressionism” – unify the paintings.

Cat and Cake (11" x 14") by Jonelle Summerfield, oil painting

The contrast between light and dark is part of what makes her paintings so interesting and appealing.

“I like cool daylight streaming through the windows or warm light from incandescent bulbs” she says.

In her oil painting, Brunch at Café Central (16”x12”) she depicts both types of light: the bright light from the dangling amply-bulbed chandelier and the gloomy light from the arched windows in the back of the café.


Brunch at Café Central (16”x12”)

In paintings that feature people and animals, like Brunch at Café Central, she catches candid moments. As a basis for her paintings, she takes photographs on her travels and from around her house.

“I have always incorporated scenes from my travels into my paintings and often take trips for the sole purpose of photographing cities and interiors to use as subject matter” she says.


Piazza Della Republica (20" x 24") by Jonelle Summerfield, oil painting

Summerfield’s recent interest is cats contemplating stealing food. She describes how this became her subject:  

“I had purchased some pretty desserts from a local bakery, and I wanted to paint them (that is how I justified the calories.) I set them up on a table with some antique plates, coffee accessories and flowers, and when I tried to paint, the cats attacked the food.”  

Jonelle’s cat, Stella

See more of Jonelle Summerfield’s art on UGallery.