For some artists, their inspiration comes from within. For some, it comes from their surroundings. For many, it is a blend of both. For Jill Valliere, one of our artists from Rockland, Maine, it is found everywhere, and occasionally, quite by accident. Such is the case regarding the story behind Wanderlust.
“I had decided to take a drive on a slightly foggy day last fall. I was in search of inspiration,” says Valliere. “I drove around to my favorite haunts for a few hours, but I didn’t find anything that made my ‘painting fingers’ twitch.” After giving up for the day, she headed toward home and began to daydream. Of course this led to a wrong turn – not an uncommon event for Valliere. “When I came back around I found myself in Lincolnville. In front of me was the scene that later became Wanderlust.”
Jill is lucky enough to have her studio in her home. She enjoys her time there tremendously, normally accompanied by her dog. “I immediately started the painting the next day,” says Valliere. “Not all of my paintings end up how I originally imagine them. This one did.” She wanted to capture the way autumn colors look behind the cover of a thin fog. It was the perfect morning and the perfect frame of mind for it. A thin filmy veil of fog covers the bright colors of fall. It increases the sense of peace without hiding the beautiful tones Mother Nature provided. “While I enjoy all the seasons, autumn is my favorite time of year. That love is captured in this work.”
This piece, along with two others from Valliere, are part of the Choice Art Show going on now through June 30 at Maine Art Shows. The gallery is located at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk and is open from 11am – 5pm daily. You can view the show in person or online by clicking here. Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture’s complete collection of work from Valliere can be found at the group gallery at 14 Western Ave. in Kennebunk and on her Artist’s Page.
Click this link to read more about Jill Valliere and her work at Maine Art. Valliere and Maine Art.
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“Whenever I am having dinner with someone new, I pose to them this question; ‘Tell me about a day, from the moment you woke up, until the moment you went to bed.’ It’s a wonderful way to learn about a person on a more personal level,” says Jill Valliere. With that said, the tables have been turned and Maine Art is giving you a unique opportunity to learn about Jill on a more personal level.
My internal clock wakes me most days… early, between 4:30 and 5:00 A.M. Water for my tea is first and foremost. Then I find my perfect spot and watch the sunrise. I sit and sip and wait. My husband is still sleeping, I am patient. Soon he joins me, and we listen to the news, make breakfast, and finish our tea and coffee. We don’t sit still long, or more so we are not allowed to sit long. Our two Great Danes are ready. The outdoors is calling. We live in Rockland, Maine and are blessed with the property that surrounds our home. A long walk down the trail to the bog makes not only the dogs happy, but Marcel and me, as well. This is our time.
Once we are back from our walk, we part ways and our days begin. I try to wrap up any office work before heading downstairs to my studio. An artist’s work is not all paint and inspiration. By 9:00, we (the dogs always join me) are settled. The air hums with music or sometimes an audiobook that has caught my interest. Cracking open my jars of various paints, gels and varnishes, I begin to work. In my small studio space, I dance about and around the sleeping giants. Oblivious, they spread their 150 lb. bodies across the floor and force me to work around them. I affectionately call this dance my “core” workout. The dogs spend most of their time with me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Even without the dogs, most days in the studio I am surrounded by mayhem. Paint cans open and dripping, mixing containers piled all over, and me, covered in every color mixed that day. To the outsider it may look like chaos, but it is truly how I am most comfortable, most productive. I can’t be troubled to take the time to put things away, organize paint colors, or wash every brush after each use. No, I am here to paint.
I spend a week or two layering acrylic glazes and varnishing in between the layers. The painting can look a bit strange until… the “power sander treatment.” This is one of my favorite studio moments. When my painting is ready, I use the power sander to break through the layers of color. It is so exciting to see what emerges.
Midday, my youngest dog, Jaxson, reminds me it’s time for a break. There is a gentle, but continuous, tapping on my fanny with his nose until I put the brushes down and take him outside. He has a sixth sense when it comes to taking care of me. He knows when I need to take a break and step away from the work. I always come back to the studio refreshed and with a renewed energy for the piece I am working on.
The day passes too quickly, and it is often hard to know when to wash the brushes and wrap up for the day. I am intensely focused, and it’s hard to stop. Most days it’s my husband’s headlights coming up the driveway that breaks my trance and reminds me it’s time to finish up.
It can be a real challenge to have my studio in my home. Sitting with a glass of wine, I switch gears from studio time to home life and welcome Marcel back into my world. Our evenings are filled with all of the usual day’s end activities. We chat about our day, cook dinner, and often get ready for a ridiculously early bedtime. Darn that early internal alarm clock. Most nights I fall asleep quickly with a smile on my face. I am a very lucky person to end most of my days feeling happy, fulfilled and excited to start it all over.
A big thank you to Jill for sharing this intimate look into her life both in and out of her studio. We are incredibly lucky here at Maine Art to be small enough to still to connect with our artists on such a personal level. In turn, we love the fact that we are able and they are willing to share this with you.
Jill has several pieces in the Holiday Show including, Seasons End at Somes Sound and Catching the Drift. If you are in the Kennebunks in December please stop in and visit. We also have a wonderful collection of Jill’s work upstairs at Maine Art or, as always, you can visit Jill’s Artist Page on our website.
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When surrounded by perspective buyers and local art collectors, Jill shares her work, her process, and her studio-self. She entertains with a passion for Maine and for her art. The wave of her hands and the excitement in her voice always holds a celebration. She is centered and focused, but all-encompassed in the description of what she loves.
Jill starts each piece with a coat of tinted plaster. Yes. Plaster. Of course a normal canvas can’t hold this level of weight. Luckily, Jill’s husband, an architect by trade, has more than a few skills and hand builds her the hollow core panels she uses. Once this layer is dry she breaks out her favorite tool…the power sander. Plaster and a power sander means serious business. It is a perfect combination for the smooth surface which she needs to begin her process. Layer by layer, metallic paints and glazes of all colors are applied over metal leaf of gold, bronze or silver. Over and over she adds and takes away, revealing the beauty beneath by contrast. A venetian plaster knife or her trusted sander breaks through and carves in, exposing underlayers and creating texture and depth to the scene she is capturing. Jill’s process is unique and unusual, but her work reflects a place you have been before.
When asked about, “Break Through,” her piece for Maine. As they see it., Jill shares a story of friends and hiking in Reed State Park. “We came upon this clearing in the trees. It gave us a lovely sneak peek of our ultimate destination.” Jill celebrates Maine with the eye of a local capturing the true beauty of the seasons; the true beauty of this state we call our home. Each painting holds a time and place that is a part of her. Even if you are new to her work, she pulls you in and makes you feel present. Each piece is somewhere you have been. We have all traveled the snow covered hills of “Down Time” and rolled in the ripples of colored leaves in “All Aglow”. The titles of her work carry us to that time. “Fields of Shadow” and “Sheltered Cove” among them, bring back memories of the days spent enveloped in a place we don’t always know enough to appreciate.
“The title ‘Break Through’ has a double meaning for me,” says Valliere. “One is the literal feeling of breaking through the brush to glimpse an incredible place I am heading towards. The second, more figurative meaning, is the feeling I have when an idea I’ve been pondering suddenly becomes clear, and I finally see where that idea is going to take me.” No matter if she is in her studio at her home in Rockland, on a back trail hiking with her two – yes two – Great Danes, or with her husband at her quiet little lake house in southern Maine, Jill brings you along for the ride. She speaks in stories, and her love of life is genuine. She is passionate about her work and invites her audience to be a part of it. She forces us to take a conscious and deep breath and celebrate the fact that we live here.
You can see “Break Through” at Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill Road or in the on-line show at Maine. As they see it. Jill also has an extensive collection of work at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. Feel free to visit her Artist Page to view these, as well.
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All of Jill Valliere’s work glows. Admittedly, it is in part to the metal leaf and glaze she uses, yet honestly, it is more the heart and soul she painstakingly places there for us to find.
When Jill talks about her work that same glow radiates from her. “My love of embarking on an adventure, coupled with my love of the water pushed me to choose “Fleeting Light”. When I sit back and look at this painting, I feel as if I am heading out to explore a new waterway and can actually imagine myself traveling into the painting. I am lost in thoughts of the beautiful sights I might see along the way.”
“Fleeting Light” is not the only one of Valliere’s pieces that gives this sense of wandering. No matter what the season, each landscape she brings to us captures the imagination, and the wanderlust begins.
You can see two more new pieces in the Choice Art Show, the Editor’s Choice, chosen by Maine Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Susan Grisanti, and the People’s Choice, chosen by this year’s online voters. Also, don’t forget to visit the rest of Jill’s collection at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture or visit her Artist Page at www.maine-art.com.