Mountain Station
24 x 18 in., oil on linen-lined panel
Available through the artist here

Capturing Life in Oils

Each time exploring a new place to paint brings fresh inspiration…but often the return trips offer even greater insights and observations. Mountain Station was almost complete when oil painter Jill Banks finished up the 2017 Telluride Plein Air, an event Jill will return to for the third time in the week surrounding the 4th of July. On her first visit there, a memorable request from young visitors to her easel was when or if she had painted the gondola yet. Eventually on that first year, Jill did paint a view of the gondola descending the slope (Riding High). Mountain Station followed year two as the “source” of that ride, full of that alpine air and sense of place. Who knows what awaits in year three at the event?

A huge part of the fun of painting plein air, whether in a competition or other excursion is the way the world around the easel weaves its way into and around the painting on canvas. In Mountain Station, Jill’s husband Randy catches the early evening glow on the bench (he’s in the hat on the right), sharing a seat with an unsuspecting but still helpful subject. Jill’s canvases are filled with life, combinations of strangers, acquaintances and sometimes friends and family. Each painting becomes a joyous coming together of artist, place, and an array of a neat cast of characters.

Jill paints a variety of subjects including portraits (she completed her 100 Faces in 100 Days Project in 2011, painting an alla prima portrait of anyone volunteering to sit for her), still lifes, animals and streetscapes. It was actually after her 100 Faces project that Jill started seriously pursuing plein air painting. If interesting subjects were no longer coming to her studio daily, she would go out into the world to find someone or something compelling to paint.

The artist says, “painting plein air and figuring out what I’m truly working to convey naturally led to details and extra stuff falling to the wayside. Stylistically, I continue to evolve from realism with feeling to impressionism with even more emotion and simplification.” The viewer has room to fill in the rest, to be transported into the scene.

When Jill is not out in the field painting or traveling, there are two studios ready and waiting to put all that gathered inspiration to good use. One’s in her home in Fairfax, VA. Another is a studio shared with ten other artists at the Artists’ Atelier at 756 Walker Road in Great Falls, Virginia. Visitors are welcome during open hours, First Friday Art Walks (April to December), special events and any time by appointment.

To view more of Jill’s work, please visit
Contact Jill at [email protected].

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Events and Exhibits
Bucks County Plein Air – PA (June 4-9)
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club Members Exhibition – Salmagundi Club, NYC (June 4-15)
Telluride Plein Air – CO (June 28 – July 5)
Oil Painters of America Salon Show – Traverse City, MI (June 22- September 1)
Wickford Fine Art Festival – RI (July 7 & 8)

Recent Awards and Recognition
Artist to Watch, Southwest Art Magazine July 2017
Best in Show, BoldBrush Painting Competition September 2016 (out of 1400+ entries)
Best in Show – Board of Directors Award, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club Member Exhibition, Salmagundi Club, NYC
Top 9 Painting and Drawing Teachers in Metro DC area
Monthly Finalist, January 2017 Sedona Art Prize Competition