Pacific Book Review

I felt an instant connection with author and artist Jennifer Hynes due to her candor, humility and unique writing style upon reading her book, Nap Time Paintings. Being totally intrigued by her cover art, thinking to myself; is that a photograph of an overstuffed book of paintings or a trick of the eyes technique called Trompe-l’oeil? So began my journey into her book and thus the lives of Jennifer, her husband Alan and their infant children Jack and Fiona became a world unto itself; in a familiar area of Northern California – as I too lived in Marin County for many years. Yes, Jennifer has truly rooted herself in the area, filled with many birds of her feather – overly creative people of the region; with paint pumping through her blood vessels, wonderful insights flowing through her mind and having a remarkable love of her children beating in her heart – she fits right in.

In Nap Time Paintings she finds herself immersed into motherhood, experiencing the joys of shopping at a Target store but mostly enjoying the serenity of a beach. Her writing is through the eyes of an artist, meaning each noun is preceded by an adjective of extraordinary insight of color or emotion, weaving a tapestry of description into every sentence – bringing a musing into the genre of poetry. Rather analogues to journal entries into a personal diary, or in her case her Internet blog, her observations and feelings are brought to readers with unabashed honesty.

As for her art, I must say to me it expressed her deepest feelings. When words aren’t sufficient to reveal her feelings, she takes to her art which is characterized as an abstract of colors, brush stokes, background overlays and drips. When paired with her events of a day, such as a picnic at a beach, one can see serenity – or paired with cleaning up a child’s vomit in a store it shows bold blocks of dark colors – so in a way becoming a beacon for her mind to project raw emotions. A few of her pieces, knowing what readers are told, revealed to me quite a sense of humor, such as in her portraits. Life is challenging. Hardships needed to be overcome, but witnessing Jennifer’s rewards – such as a hug from her children and support from her husband, readers learn with fortitude and clarity, the path ahead is revealed as we go down the road. Like her walk downhill on the path at Tennessee Valley on the way to a pristine ocean beach cove, knowing the return will be uphill but the happiness at the end justifies all of the effort, her book Nap Time Paintings justifies all of her work. It is a remarkable collage of art, words and love; a dedication to all those who know Jennifer Hynes as well as a welcome to those still yet to meet. I highly recommend this as a gift to friends, especially mothers-to-be as it humanizes the maternal sacrifices in a very unique and joyful way.


US Review of Books

Nap Time Paintings: Thoughts on Motherhood through the Eyes of an Artist
by Jennifer Hynes

reviewed by Michael Radon

“I start to paint. I am feeling present. The violent world starts to fade. My body starts to feel better again.”

Chronicling the first few years of motherhood, this book collects a series of essays and art created by the author following an incredible and emotional journey raising twins. As she juggles motherhood, a marriage, life as an artist, and her own emotional struggles, Hynes dedicates each essay to a single topic, exploring her innermost and vulnerable thoughts on a subject and typically including a work or two of abstract art created by her to accompany each selection. As her children grow up and their needs change, she reflects on her own childhood and works hard to provide her children with everything they need and an upbringing that she and they can be proud of.

From the gorgeous beaches of California to her artist’s studio to time spent in front of the television with cartoons on, the author invites readers to follow her perspective on raising children. The openness and honesty with which the author discusses raising children illuminate the joys and fears that come along with prospective parenthood. Her moments of frustration and fear are laid out on the page but are always coupled with the joys and highs of nurturing and influencing innocent, young minds to view the beauty of life. The artwork collected and shared with these essays contains bold imagery and contrasts with the frank nature of the essays by giving the reader an opportunity to interpret a moment of creativity or an emotion expressed visually. From newborn to age 4, these essays scatter snapshots of moments both proud and private that a mother carries with her always of the formative years where children must be watched and guided. Powerful in both its words and art, these essays spare no truth about life as a new parent for better or worse.


Nap Time Paintings

Nap Time Paintings