Artist’s Studio: Jeff Risner

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In our feature "Artist’s Studio," we highlight individuals who are active in the artistic community. This month, we’re featuring oil painter Jeff Risner of Athens.

What kind of art do you create?

“I create oil paintings of subjects that I am interested in: landscapes, still life, and human figure. I enjoy painting outdoors with my easel and paints in the ‘plein air’ style. Plein air forces me to work quickly since the sun is moving and the scene changes dramatically in just a couple of hours. I see and paint and when the canvas is filled it’s done. Athens and Athens County have many scenes that need to be painted before they are gone: old barns, bridges, pastures and farms. Already I feel like I am a historian since many of the motifs I have painted are gone. I want my art to have emotion and to move the viewer.”

How did you get interested in this medium?

“I like the richness of oil paints, the buttery feel of the oils on the brush and canvas. Oils have a smell of walnut or linseed oil. They dry slow so they can be reworked, scraped off, redone, or left alone. Oils are the medium of the old masters and the Impressionists and it is a long tradition that I want to be a part of.”

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

“I take inspiration from the geography of Athens. I walk in the fields and forests, the towns, streets and along the Hocking River. There is more to paint than can be done in a lifetime. I am inspired by other artists both alive and dead. I may never equal them but I get ideas from them. I travel to Italy and paint the landscape of Tuscany where many of the Impressionists of the 19th century painted. I visit the works of other local arts and learn from them.”

Have you had success making art in Athens County?

“Yes, I have. I have sold many of my works here and have had shows at the Dairy Barn (the exhibition is now being displayed in Alabama), the Athens Public Library, Holzer Clinic, Little Professor's Book Store, and the Columbus Museum of Art. I have hosted other artists to come to Athens to paint in competitions and I am a past president of the Ohio Plein Air Society, a nonprofit art education corporation.”

How can people find out more about your art?

“You can find out more about my art at my website and or contact me at”