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The Art of ‘Modern Summer’

Florida artist Jenna Alexander captures the nostalgia of summertime in a new collection of paintings.

Artist Jenna Alexander loves to depict the in-between moments of life in her work. Carrying a surfboard to the beach. Taking a sip of a cold drink on a hot afternoon. Putting down a book to jump into the pool. Her latest collection of paintings is titled “Modern Summer” and perfectly captures the vibe we wanted to portray with our 2023 Summer Reading List.

With titles like “Cantaloupe,” “Two Surfers” and “Book Club,” Alexander’s soft palette, layering technique and use of negative space give these paintings a “lived-in” feel that can be nostalgic for the viewer. A stylist helped to curate midcentury outfits for those paintings like “Poolside” and “Game, Set, Match” that feature people. Alexander says she was inspired by artist Wayne Thibaud and the documentary “The Endless Summer” for the collection.

“This collection is inspired by all the little moments that seem mundane,” says Alexander. “Slicing a lemon for the first summer lemonade stand or friends hauling their boards to the beach for a morning surf session. These works celebrate the beauty of everyday life.”

Alexander’s studio is located about two miles from the beach in St. Augustine. Her kids are two, six and nine, so the beach and the coast of Florida are a big part of their life. This summer, they’re planning a surfing trip to Hawaii with a stop for more surfing in San Diego on the way back.

“I love taking the kids out surfing and looking back on memories with rose-colored glasses,” she says. “Whoever’s looking at it [this collection] can tell their own story. I tried to capture the essence of summer.”

“Modern Summer” includes 25 large-scale pieces, many of which have already sold out. (“Book Club” was still available as of May 31.) Fine art prints of some of the pieces, along with a “Modern Summer” tea towel, sticker sheet and postcard, are available on the website and in the gallery.


“Book Club” from the “Modern Summer” collection is used in our 2023 Summer Reading List graphics and promotions. Credit goes to Jenna Alexander.

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