CELEBRATING JILL BARTHORPE: A JOURNEY OF OBSERVATIONAL BEAUTY
In the realm of art, some creators possess an ability to capture the essence of life's fleeting moments. This September, we are delighted to spotlight an artist whose work does just that – Jill Barthorpe. With a canvas as her medium and nature as her muse, Jill's artistic career has been a remarkable one.
Jill's journey began at the renowned Slade School of Art in London where she was trained in the William Coldstream tradition. Her early influences came from her teacher, the renowned British painter, Euan Uglow. His work involved a great deal of measuring – the process was laborious and time consuming. He carried out careful measurements at every stage of his paintings, remnants of these measurements are seen in all his paintings. The result was that he created paintings of great sculptural quality but within the tradition of the shallow picture plane of modernism. In Jill’s work you can see how these early influences still show in all her mark making on her canvases – she doesn’t try and exclude them from the painting – they become integral to the finished work of art.
Her talent and dedication were soon recognized when she was awarded a European scholarship to paint in the enchanting landscapes of South-West France. This experience breathed life into her art, infusing her work with the vibrant hues and ever-shifting light of the French countryside.
After her stay in France, Jill returned to London to establish her studio, where she continued to nurture her creativity. Her heart eventually found its home in rural Lincolnshire, where the sweeping countryside and expansive skies became the backdrop to her artistic endeavours.
Jill's artistic mantra is a reflection of her unique perspective. "For me, the excitement of painting is trying to capture the 'likeness' of things without slavish description", she explains. The ever-shifting movement of her subjects and the play of light throughout the day challenge her to capture their essential character, going beyond mere impressions.
Describing her artistic style as 'observational', Jill is drawn to the intricate relationships between objects and spaces. Her works are testaments to her quest to understand the world before her, unravelling the ambiguity of space and form. This exploration has led her to experiment with imagined spaces and painted surfaces, crafting pieces that blur the line between reality and interpretation.
Jill's creative journey has been deeply influenced by two masters of art – Cezanne and Braque. Their innovative use of canvas surfaces and the creation of believable spaces have left an indelible mark on her artistic ethos. Their mysterious techniques continue to inspire and guide her as she navigates her own artistic path.
At present, Jill is embarking on an exploration of mirrors in her still life paintings, using them to delve deeper into the interplay of space and light. Anything, from a single colour to the delicate contour of a leaf, can spark her imagination and serve as a wellspring of inspiration. Her motifs often make repeat appearances in her work, each time finding new life in different settings.
Jill's creative process is a meticulous dance between observation and interpretation. When painting landscapes, she immerses herself in the natural surroundings, working in situ for multiple sessions before translating her experiences onto the canvas using sketches and notes. In her studio, she adheres to a standard palette while incorporating 'star player' colours for specific pieces. Her technique involves mixing colours with a palette knife and applying them with brushes and fingers.
In celebrating Jill Barthorpe as our Artist of the Month, we immerse ourselves in a world of observation and interpretation. Her artwork serves as a testament to the power of capturing life's essence through colour, form, and imagination. As September unfolds, we invite you to explore the captivating artistry of Jill Barthorpe and experience the world through her keen observational lens.