Take a tour around my studio and see the tools I use to make my mixed media collage work.
Nature, organic forms, geology and cellular structures inspire my work.
Drawing is the touchstone of my art practice and involves extensive explorations of mark making in a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
In my current work, I manipulate paper through the unconventional methods of puncturing, smoking, burning, rubbing, cutting and folding. My work is built up in collaged layers creating a sense of textured density.
Lots of beach finds on this windy stormy day on Big Beach, near the Black Rock Resort. Abalone shells, Red turban snails, mussels, small pieces of scallops that have been worn down with holes from boring sponges, barnacles…
Spending the Christmas season in Ucluelet. We arrived to a big wind storm, lots of big waves.
ART OPENING - "SEAFORMS: THE NATURE OF CREATION"
Click here to view more photos from the opening night and to watch a video of Jill describing her sources of inspiration and some of her art processes.
Upcoming solo show September 21 - October 31
I am pleased to announce that I will be having a solo show of my mixed media collages in Victoria, BC at “The Chapel Gallery”. This brand new dedicated space has been completely transformed into a beautiful gallery.
The Chapel Gallery: engaging the community in appreciating creativity
The Chapel Gallery invites the local arts community to exhibit a variety of visual art mediums. The Gallery particularly seeks works of a socially relevant, contemplative and reflective nature. The Gallery sees itself as a gallery “like no other”. There are other multifunctional, not-for-profit spaces, but the Gallery envisions ongoing beneficial and educational interaction with the community -- including those who might never have visited an “art gallery” before.
The Gallery also envisions a way to share our understanding of the creativity of the Divine with the community – including those who might never think of entering a church. The folk of St. Matthias want to share a safe space for appreciating creativity.
The Chapel Gallery @ St. Matthias, Fairfield 600 Richmond Avenue, Victoria, BC
“Think Pink” - winning photograph!
One year ago, I entered this photo into a photo contest on Instagram with @creativelysquared, who hosts weekly themed challenges. This was my first challenge and I was selected as one of two winners. You can find out all about these weekly challenges here:
Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts
I attended a 5-day workshop July 3-7, 2017 with instructor Judith Kruger at the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts (MISSA). I had a fabulous experience. The workshop was exciting, challenging, filled with new materials, tools and techniques. Judith has boundless energy, a knowledgeable teacher who is dedicated to Nihonga - "traditional Japanese mineral pigment painting". Judith amalgamates this ancient form of painting with her contemporary art practice, "exploring the formal and conceptual junctures between historic process and modernity as an ongoing project".
Everything in this workshop was new to me. We made our own paint and ink from organic and inorganic matter like cured oyster shells, minerals, natural ores, pine soot, mica and silica. We made a natural glue from cow cartilage to act as the binder. The materials are ecological, non-toxic and water-based. We worked with Japanese silver leaf and learned methods to oxidize it. Judith demonstrated how to mount Washi and stretch watercolour paper onto a cradle board. It was an action-packed week.
The Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts has been providing high caliber specialized workshops for artists, teachers and serious adult students since 1984. MISSA has a reputation for hosting local, national and international instructors who engage with students in an intense multidisciplinary environment. MISSA welcomes students from around the world to participate in an artistic emersion for two weeks every summer.
Artists from near and far have come together each summer to the Pearson College campus to share in spirited creative exchange. The school is positioned on the sheltered shores of Pedder Bay and looks out to the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains beyond. The campus setting provides a stimulating natural environment for artistic development and exploration. It’s easy to understand why so many return year after year to be part of the ‘MISSA Magic’!
MISSA takes place every summer on the campus of Pearson College, while the students are away. Participants at MISSA can stay in college style dorms where internationals students have spent their school year. The college campus is designed in a West Coast Modern style and takes the from of a seaside village with buildings of native cedar clustered on 75 acres of old growth rainforest. The simple, low-slung structures are linked by footpaths and stand in harmony with the surrounding landscape.
THE WORKSHOP SPACE - THE FLOATING STUDIO
I was fortunate to attend a 5-day workshop July 3-7 which was held in the "Floating Studio", also known as the marine lab during the regular school year at Pearson College. The Pearson campus is in a fabulous location on Pedder Bay - truly a magical place. I stayed in residence for the duration of the week. Resident students arrive the day before, on Sunday night and also stay the night of the final day of class, for a total of six nights and leaving on the seventh day. The food is fabulous and all one has to do is art all day with all meals and snacks provided. Students can go back to the studio in the evenings.
Photos by Jill Ehlert unless otherwise stated.
REFLECTIONS AROUND THE FLOATING STUDIO
THE FLOATING STUDIO/THE MARINE LAB - A view from our workshop space and one of the critters we shared the space with.
THE WORKSHOP - "ABSTRACT ALCHEMY: BLACK, WHITE AND WARM METALLICS"
A Description of the workshop from the MISSA catalogue "In this course, students will reinterpret nature’s deep imagery and essence with a limited palette using matter from nature itself. Participants will make paint, ink and home-made gesso from inorganic and organic sources including pine soot, shells, and minerals. Natural metallics will be introduced for warmth. These arcane processes have been employed for thousands of years on ancient Asian screens and scrolls. Collage can be added and embedded for depth. A variety of drawing and painting techniques will be introduced to yield meaningful, process-driven, ecological work on varied supports, embedded with individualized expression, heart and spirit."
THE INSTRUCTOR - JUDITH KRUGER
Judith Kruger, is an American visual artist whose paintings, prints and mixed media works address Human-Environment connectivity and their shared vulnerabilities. She is recognized internationally for her advocacy of natural painting materials and historic, ecological processes.
Judith currently resides in Northwest, CT. Her studio is located in an old hosiery mill, 125 miles north of New York City, at the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. Click here to read Judith's artist statement.
SOME OF THE TOOLS AND MATERIALS IN THE WORKSHOP
DRAWING/PAINTING WITH SUMI-E INK
The Sumi-E ink drawings above were incorporated into the mineral pigment painting below.
Shadows as inspiration. Photos and work (12" x 12") by Jill Ehlert
My WORK IN PROGRESS AT MISSA
Water reflections as inspiration. Experimentation with Sumi-E ink, wax relief, Japanese silver leaf and mineral pigments on illustration board - 12" x 9"
I learned so many new techniques and had a good introduction to mineral pigments. This was an excellent workshop that I would recommend. Click here to see Judith Kruger's workshop page for 2018.
June trip to Ucluelet and Tofino, BC
Drawing inspiration from dried seaweed root balls
Collecting dried out seaweed root balls for drawing. They feel and look like wood and have a charred look as if they have been burnt, but they are not. These root balls have the most wonderful textures. with lots of complex networking - a good challenge to draw. Compare the root balls in the top row to the bottom three images, which are seaweeds recently washed up on the beach. The photo's taken in December 2016 and '15 show some of the many seaweed clusters containing a variety of seaweeds, which are decaying and deteriorating. Going back to that same exact spot is where I collected these dried root balls. The piles are still there but have really shrunk in size to the once huge mass and tangle. I had to really look hard to find my collection, part of which is in the last photo..
DRAWING (FEELING) WATER MOVEMENT
The quick blind contour drawings below were inspired by the water motion at Brown's Beach, Uculelet, BC as shown in the video above. Sitting up high on a rock totally mesmerized by the movement of the water below and drawing what I was feeling.
I am sure these photos of whale bone will enter into my drawings. These were taken from a whale skeleton in one of the shops in Tofino.
Inspiration from the beach for further drawings and mark making
Jill Ehlert - solo show at the Stairwell Gallery - Victoria, BC - July/August
The Stairwell Gallery is a space devoted to the visual arts in St Philip Anglican Church. The gallery is open for viewing Monday to Friday 9am to noon and by appointment.
STATEMENT - JILL EHLERT
The body of work in the "Stairwell Gallery" and Sanctuary explore stages of the Life Cycle. "Birth - Growth - Maturity - Decay - Death - Renewal" - I am fascinated by the series of changes and transformations that an organism undergoes as it returns to the starting state.
The six drawings at the bottom of the stairwell are an exploration into the later stages of maturity and decay. Shrivelled forms of a day lily…the decaying structure of a Hosta leaf…the beautiful form of the poppy capsule -full of seeds ready for renewal.
The two triptychs in the Sanctuary are part of a series titled "Transformations". I combined dissimilar objects such as pomegranates, plankton, pears, decorative curtain tassels, the inner ear and the mechanical structure of a potato masher. These forms were simplified into smaller components through a process of drawing, editing and refining. I intermixed these unlikely combinations, creating an invented language of organic shapes.
The work on the right hand side of the stairwell and the little painted pieces on the bulletin board are invented idiosyncratic shapes inspired from those found within my "Transformations" series - keeping in mind natural forms and stages of birth and growth.
Studies on the bulletin board show my ongoing interest in the structure and stages of nature.
Music by the Sea - Bamfield, BC, July 2017
Music by the Sea is Classical and contemporary solo and chamber music, sophisticated jazz and alternative music—each concert features an unique and diverse selection. Superb acoustics and the spectacular backdrop of Vancouver Island’s mystic, bold Pacific make this truly the most inspiring venue anywhere in the Pacific Northwest—an intimate musical experience in a breathtaking settings.
We travelled to Bamfield from Port Alberni on board the ferry "MV Francis Barkley" booked through the Lady Rose Marine Services. They provide ferry and freight service to Bamfield three times weekly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Additional sailings during the summer months on Sunday. Passenger service only.