On location, out in nature, artist Jill Berry works with oil paint and a palette knife to produce her impressionistic & painterly landscapes. She shares insight regarding her INSPIRATION & INTERPRETATION of the local environment in NW Florida, as she works to preserve the natural landscape one canvas at a time.
It was reflection time as I wrote my new Artist Bio for this feature. ---
"As a landscape painter living in Pensacola, Florida, I am forever entertained by waterways, blue skies and sunlight. Each week I take in the fresh air and experience of painting outdoors. Creating the spirit of a place with pigments on canvas. Recording by hand the beauty I observe. It is a fascinating occupation.
"For as long as I remember, I have enjoyed the landscape around me. Our mimosa tree in the moonlight; a stone fence decorating the rolling countryside: these were my early subjects as a young artist in Kentucky. Many moons have past since 1976 when I received an Art Scholarship to Murray State University. I continually study and develop my passion for art. As for style and influence, I am an Impressionist. With thick oil paint and broken color, I build surface texture that vibrates with life, echoing nature.
"Impressionist Landscape Painters leave a wonderful legacy, one that I am happy to contribute to, for the enjoyment of generations to come. Think of all the great paintings of Venice, or the works of the Hudson River School and the California Impressionist. Once you’ve stood in the same locations, your appreciation of their art soars, simply because you can relate. Future artists may stand from my vantage point, witness the same scene, and be compelled also to paint their interpretation. This makes the world of art evermore intriguing. Landscape painting has a powerful way of connecting the ages.
"My 'travelogue' of treasured plein air paintings includes work from California’s coast, NY’s Adirondack waterfalls, and the Italian Riviera. This year’s 'summit' took place in Denver, as I painted the Colorado Rockies and exhibited with the American Impressionist Society. Through my blog 'Plein Air Painting Journal' I have shared my painting adventures since 2008."
Recent Achievements: 2014 - American Impressionist Society National Juried Exhibition, Abend Gallery, Denver Colorado, October 2nd - November 1 2014 - Pensacola Museum of Art Juried Exhibit 2013 - “Ways of Water” solo show, Fairhope Alabama 2013 - Emerging Artist Award - Art Galleries & Artists of the South
"Restoration Time", 12x16, Oil on Linen, American Impressionist Society Exhibition 2014.
This plein air painting was juried into the 15th National Exhibition of the American Impressionist Society! The Abend Gallery in Denver is hosting the show. I am excited to attend the Opening Night on October 2nd and see it hanging among the works of modern Impressionist painters whose work I admire. From over 1300 entries, 165 were chosen. One of the events surrounding the show is a group paint-out. I'm sure the newness of painting a Colorado landscape will be well worth packing up Easel for the journey.
It was during Florida's "Forgotten Coast en plein air" that "Restoration Time" was painted. A group of us were painting in a boatyard near Apalachicola. While searching for my inspiration that morning, I met Leon Holmes who pointed out the pile of ruble, boats that had been demolished since he had painted them the previous day. A board from yesterday's boat became for him the surface of a boatyard tribute painting. It does add an erie respect for your subject knowing that it may not be there tomorrow and you may be the last to enjoy it.
Though it has no water, nor is it my usual landscape, I'm glad the painting which achieved my goal of this national show is one that represents Florida's Gulf Coast, my home and where I love to paint. You can find it in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine's feature on the American Impressionist Society Show (October issue).
For me, the concept was the purple shadow on the brightly lit cabin, and in contrast, the weathered hull dripping with rusty stains. I'm not the kind who needs to perfectly state every rigging pipe. Just a few swipes with the palette knife and I am satisfied that I've said enough.
Studying Impressionist Art trains my brain to see and think Impressionistically. It's a painted language where you are allowed to put the emphasis where you desire. How and when the poetry stops, is all up to you. The luscious texture of this genre is what compels me to the easel, and to the museum shows. Oh! Also I'm looking forward to the French Impressionist works at the Denver Art Museum, "Finding the Light", a tour and lunch sponsored by Fine Art Connoisseur. I will have to write a post afterwards and tell you all about it.
To view all the juried works - click here for the AIS 2014 show catalogue online.
I'm happy to announce that my work resulting from the Italy adventure has been juried into the Pensacola Museum of Art! It's their 60th Annual Members' Exhibition!
Our art museum has a rich history that dates back to 1906 when the Spanish Revival Style structure was built as our first permanent jail. It also housed the Courthouse, Police Department and Shore Patrol. In 1954, members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) envisioned a venue to exhibit traveling art exhibitions... and provide a meeting space, as well as a venue for lectures, films...
Photo and Facts- PMA
For the opening reception, the museum was packed out! It was my pleasure to meet a crowd of new folks. Interested to see the inspiration for this studio piece? Check out my previous blog post where I take you on a trip to Italy (click here).
Cliffs of Cinque Terre, 11x14, Oil, Plein air in Italy, Private Collection.
It certainly was a thrill to paint this one on location! Excited that my trip-of-a-lifetime had finally arrived, and there I was with my easel set up to paint the Italian Riviera! It still feels like a dream! Each morning a different village with spectacular views.
For my second painting of the day, I went down on the rocks and painted the colorful buildings of Riomagiorre. To paint the "Cliffs of Cinque Terre" I was situated midway along this steep sidewalk by the buildings. As I worked, a stream of tourists filed by, many stopping to chat and observe.
I was constantly snapping memories and I've compiled a video of my favorites. Grab an espresso and enjoy a 15 minute whirlwind tour of Cinque Terre, Florence, and Venice!
I could go on telling about --- The aqua color of the sea, more beautiful than I'd ever seen. Rising early to explore Vernazza for the first time, so quiet, like my own private amusement world.
--- How navigating Venice became a fun challenge! Finding the places I'd booked on-line with only a print-out confirmation and the help of friendly folks pointing me in the right direction. My language of gesturing worked nicely in person, just not over the phone. So a shopkeeper called the hotel number for me. With my backpack & Dora-like instructions, I proceeded... (1) lingerie shop (2) alleyway (3) bridge... till the cobblestones led me to the building with a small plaque by the door that matched my reservations. Boats and waterways, so much more alluring than paved streets and signs.
--- Even from the train window I was enthusiastically photographing the Tuscan countryside. No I didn't have my head out the window as a puppy might, but I was extracting every ounce of delight from the experience. I'll let the pictures tell the story...
Reminder: the icon at the bottom right of the video makes it a big screen production! Enjoy~
As my show approached, an important task was to get the word out. To make the most of the opportunity, I sent press releases to local magazine and newspaper publishers. If you're like lots of us these days, you feel pretty well "publicized" after you've posted on your blog, shared on Facebook and Google+, Tweeted it, and Pinned it. But alas - there are still printing presses and folks who read the paper. My mother, for instance, still shares clipped articles via the U.S. mail. (Hi Mom, in case you're reading my blog.) For a local show, your target audience is not the worldwide stage. That's why I made the effort to connect with the local media by sending "the good old-fashioned press release". Likes and comments on social media are encouraging, but when you have actually taken your work to hang in a show, you want people to physically go to the gallery and take home a painting for their real wall.
"Peaking" 18x24, SOLD.
Months after the show, I am still reaping the rewards of advertising. The Coastal Alabama magazine with my painting "Peaking" was patiently waiting in a Doctor's office near Mobile Bay until it caught the eye of a marine biologist. As a pilot who took photographers up and monitored the oil spill, our Gulf Coast holds special interested for him. He tracked this one down and bought it for his wife. What a pleasure meeting them!
Destin Life, a community magazine of Destin Beach, Florida, published the article and photos that I submitted. In the April issue: "Enveloped in culture, Berry's art echoes her adventures". They added the titles and captions. Give or take a couple of edited words, it is the "Beauty of Adventure" which I shared with you in January. To read the article: here is the link to my previous post. As always, thanks for your interest in my work.
I have no way of knowing if the visitors from a distant state who purchased my artwork, ever enjoyed this island while boating or dining at the Sunset Grill. But they do know this about the artist. This simple painting had been on my studio top-shelf for a few years. I gave the horizon a finishing touch, signed it, titled it "Where Florida runs into Alabama", and delivered it with my "Ways of Water" show. It sold the next day, technically before the show opened!
With the exception of Opening Night, I knew I would not be present and able to voice thoughts surrounding my work. That is why I decided to add to my exhibit a photographed visual of the painting's origin. Just like I've always done on my blog, show the "Inspiration and Interpretation" together.
The public reception is the artist's chance to meet people and talk about your work. Instant conversations with would-be-strangers, except now the topic of conversation is obvious as they have come to see your work. Perhaps a particular painting has caught their eye, they linger over it, and naturally you want to tell them more of the story. I talk about the location, what drew me there, what interested me about the day, the atmosphere, circumstances, happenstances, or even why I composed the painting as I did. Chances are, as you share your inspiration, their interest is compounding.
Yes, it felt like 'going the extra mile' after completing the paintings and preparing them for hanging, to then file through my memories and photos to assemble a note of interest to post by each painting. But it made for a special exhibit, with more possibilities of personal connection.
I purposely limited my text to a small sentence, wanting the painting to get the attention. I've been to great museum shows and felt intellectually pulled to read the historic information, all while, every artistic fiber in me was begging, enjoy the painting! So I did not want to overdo it with words, just enhance the visual experience.
I received so many great comments on the show, and always with appreciation for the added bonus of it's unique presentation. The viewer enjoyed a glimpse behind the scenes.
For the visual artist, a solo show is a season of concentrated effort, a time to give it your all. Centered around a theme, with discipline you work toward your goal. In a way like a personal olympic feat; or a collection of thoughts that add up to a novel. The creative process takes place in solitude, between you and the canvas. Though given an opportunity, you are happy for the audience. You set out to fill that gallery with the best representations of your work before the time is up, before it is opening night.
Considering these the heart of the show, I wanted them front and center.
("Peaking", "One Day in Carmel", "Lighthouse Keeper's View")
Gallery Night in Fairhope (AL) draws a crowd to the Eastern Shore Art Center where my "Ways of Water" show filled the Courtyard Gallery.
I was fortunate to meet this buyer who selected "Ladies in Waiting" (top right in photo).
Others sold before and after the opening reception, including a Gulf shore plein-air "About to Rain" (top left in photo). Most all of my work originates in plein air. Included here is a lake in Kentucky (bottom left) and a catfish farm (bottom right). Since the water draws me when I paint outdoors, I had lots of fun with this theme. I'll continue this topic in my next post.
It was exciting to see my work published in Art Galleries and Artists of the South. As a winner of their "Emerging Artist" contest, I received my own page in this nationally distributed magazine (vol 10, issue 1). The task of assessing my work to select five personal "best-of-shows" was not easy but helped me realize what I like about my work. I strive for compositions that pull you in. I like surface texture that vibrates with life. I'm not a grey-day person. I like sun-drenched landscapes.
If you've followed my work here on the blog, you may recognize the paintings and remember the plein-air outings that inspired them. The "Lady in the Red Hat" sold to the lady in the red hat, and was never exhibited publicly. The floral on top- "Waterside Crepe Myrtle" sold from a gallery. The middle three all made it into juried shows and are Blue-Ribbon winners. The only one I still have is "Beach House". It is available for sale. To learn more about that one, click back to Beach House post.
In case you're not wearing your super-glasses... The text reads: "As a landscape painter, the interaction of land, sky, and sea provides inspiration and challenges me to capture in paint an impression of having been there. To transform a blank canvas into a relatable experience is a fascinating occupation. I create invitations to pause and enjoy the view.
I enjoy painting various landscapes and meeting like-minded artists by participating in group events including Week End with the Masters, Carmel, CA; The Adirondack Mountain School Painters, NY; and The Southeastern Plein Air Invitational, AL. Within each landscape are discoveries. The Gulf Coast outside my studio window never ceases to revive my art-spirit." To view more works by Jill, visit www.JillBerryArtist.com.
With the keys to my little Mac still warm from an article assignment, it occured to me: wouldn't this be a great time for a blog post!
The Beauty of Adventure
by Jill Berry
Seeing beauty, internalizing it, then presenting your version back to the world: this is the “job” of the visual artist. I feel extremely blessed to invest my days creating art. A glance out the window to observe the color of the waterway, and my spirit is revived. So you can imagine the visual feast I experienced during a recent trip to the Italian Riviera!
On previous trips to paint the Pacific coast (Carmel, CA), and the Adirondack Mountains & waterfalls (Lake Placid, NY), I realized the effort it takes just to get there, to travel with easel, paints & canvases. Inspired by the Impressionists of the past, and the current Plein Air movement, I continue to challenge myself to go outdoors and paint from nature.
The Gulf Coast is an intriguing locale, I am fortunate to live here and join in weekly outings with the Plein Air Painters of Pensacola. We exhibit together annually. In 2008 I began writing a blog, “Plein Air Painting Journal” which chronicles my painting excursions.
One great thing about being a fine artist is choosing what you study. You are your own creative director. Last year my focus was “The Ways of Water”, a solo show exhibited in Fairhope, AL at the Eastern Shore Art Center.
Then it was time to pack for Italy! The adventure of seeing a new place is so stimulating, especially as an artist. Painting from cliffs of the Cinque Terre along cobblestone walkways above a sea of vivid aqua. Enjoying a week with a small group of artists discovering these seaside villages, then hopping on the train alone to see Venice! With my painting supplies safely stowed in Florence, just my camera and I had a glorious workout for our few remaining days in Italy. Collecting memories, memories that form chapters of a lifetime. Images, impressions that I am now excited to turn into paintings.
What’s on the horizon? The Greek Island of Santorini! Through Toscana Americana, I have a workshop scheduled October 4-11. If only with camera, I invite you to come along, explore, enjoy... Santotini, ranked world’s top island by Travel & Leisure magazine. With the logistics taken care of by Toscana Americana, there are no concerns for finding the best restaurants and picturesque views. Within the security of a small group, you are free to savor the experience. I’m excited about the day cruise to visit hot springs on a nearby island, and painting the full moon that night!
Times of camaraderie boost your art-spirit. Each time I’ve packed my palette and ventured out of the studio to explore a new landscape, I was glad I did. Each artist I’ve had the pleasure of painting alongside at a paint-out, invitational, or workshop, I’ve learned from. I’ll be painting with oils, building texture with both palette knife and brush. Anyone wishing to increase their artistic vision is welcome.
I must say, it feels great to have the space of months to work toward a show of ones own creation. When I envision my show "The Ways of Water" filling the Courtyard Gallery, I see large canvases. So I am busy in my workshop making it come to life. When the show opens on August 2nd at Fairhope Alabama's - Eastern Shore Art Center; I see this painting and other large yet un-conceived works alongside my plein air watery-themes. I may be blogging less, but it's full throttle in the painting realm. Total immersion.
Inspiration is still surfacing from the day I painted in California. I invite you to view this video of my plein-air excursion to Carmel during Weekend with the Masters, Monterey.
Pensacola News Journal, "Eye on Art" features this painting in a review of our Art Study Club Spring Show : Read the article Link.