For art lovers who wish to see a new and skillful angle on the themes of nature and plants, Jill Lear is one painter that you can’t afford to miss. Jill, now living in Ketchum, Idaho, used to live on the San Juan Islands near Seattle where forests and the lushest scenes of natural beauty that the Pacific Northwest has to offer surround her. It was there that the she discovered her subject, trees.
These aren’t just any trees however; Jill’s drawings are littered with meticulous details and ideas that make them wholly unlike your garden-variety nature pictures. When she goes hiking in the woods to discover a new subject, the first thing Jill looks for is appealing proportion. Much like one of her inspirations, the famous Cezanne, Jill likes to look at her subject for a long time before making a single mark and then she strives to finish the painting in as few strokes as possible.
The final result is something methodical yet minimal. Jill’s paintings tend to capture all the nooks and crannies of the subject while leaving only cautious splashes of paint scattered around on the canvas, leaving space for the audience to imagine for themselves what the scene was actually like. In fact, you can find out what the tree actually looked like. The title of each of Jill’s paintings is the exact longitude and latitude that she found the tree at so all you need is a GPS and a day to go hiking up in Seattle to see for yourself and original thing.
Whether it is an old sycamore or one of California’s famous oaks, trees have always held the fascination of Jill. As a graduate from the New York Studio School (NYSS) art university, Jill was trained under the artistic philosophy that served as its intellectual foundation when it was first created back in the late 60’s. At the time, a group of painters and students became disenchanted with the trend of abstract or “unreal” art and chose instead to use only objects and people from real life as the subjects of their art. Such a learning environment polished Jill’s life drawing skills to a mirror’s shine that is reflected in her work but really it taught her to paint what she saw not what she thought she saw.
Jill Lear is preparing to display her works for a show at the Shoal Creek Gallery in Austin, Texas this January 17th alongside fellow artist Katie Maratta. Jill also plans on traveling up the California coast soon for her new series featuring California oak trees, a famous species that has been mysteriously dying at an alarming rate for unknown reasons. You can find out more information as well as view her works for yourself at www.jilllear.com.