“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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