Hennessy and her husband thought Portland sounded like the perfect
place to live then, in 2000, they made the move from Florida
to Oregon and found it to be true. Now, living in the Southeast
Clinton neighborhood, Alena believes the city is an especially great
place for artists because of all the support she's received.
Alena Hennessy works to get the feel of her paintings just right,
so their sound will come across.
sweet hunt," mixed media
"By the sound of a painting, I mean the feeling of movement,
cyclical pattern or rhythm," she said. "The linear patterns
and geometric balances of my work often remind me of music.
"They're abstract, with repetitive, geometric forms, but with
fluid movements as well."
Alena likes to paint representational objects, especially if she's
attracted to their shape. Seeds, cells, pears and birds are all
intertwined into her pieces.
Using acrylic paints and mixed media, she favors muted tones with
"rhythmic and restrained" deep color.
"My paintings are less about emotions and more about experiences,"
Sunny mornings and the feel and smell of warm nights both inspire
Alena. So do the birds that hop around her yard.
"I can even be inspired just by watching people dance,"
she said. "Then there's traveling, getting to know other cultures
and definitely the furniture my husband, Andrew Bowers, makes."
Alena believes friends and Portland artists influence her work
more than any famous artists.
"I do like Henri Rousseau, Francisco Clemente and Jean Arp,
but I don't think their work actually influences mine," she
Alena's favorites include London artists Gary Hume and Angela Bulloch,
Portland artist Trish Grantham, along with Alena's mom, Jane Hennessy.
"My mom paints a lot of murals," she said. "Her
style is more realistic and figurative than mine."
Alena has shown her art both in solo and group exhibits. In November
her work will hang at Shift Gallery in Portland's Everett Station
Lofts. An installation at Holocene, Southeast Tenth and Morrison,
is still in the planning stage.
Art was always a big part of Alena's childhood. She would sit and
draw for hours at a time, usually with nothing more than a regular
witness," mixed media
"All my building blocks were covered with little pen sketches,"
she said. "I also painted a bit."
Alena filled her high-school days with drama classes, then majored
in fine arts in college.
"Drama was just something I stumbled upon," she said.
"I did really enjoy it and have always secretly wanted to get
more involved in film, maybe even stage acting."
Furnishing a dream
Alena's ambition is simply to continue making her art; her goal
is to earn a living with it.
"My husband makes incredible furniture," she said. "Eventually,
we're going to create a line where I paint on his pieces. I'm really
excited about that!"