ARTS & COLLECTIBLES

CAPTURING LIFE
IN OILS

Renowned impressionist artist, Jill Banks, captures the beauty
of the world and those who enjoy it, one stroke at a time.

JESSICA HALL

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Dancing Days
30 x 30 in.
Oil on linen

 

“For Dancing Days, I invited a favorite model from my first painting class years to sit for me in my home studio. She is a true antidote to the gray loneliness of winter.”

When tourists descend on the picturesque beaches in Key West, Jill Banks is there, brush in hand. When the fall foliages give Telluride locales a sigh of relief where one can appreciate the solitude of the surrounding mountains, Jill Banks was there, brush in hand. When a whimsical day leads to cocktails at Paris café, Jill Banks was there, brush in hand. Considering Jill teaches multiple classes a week over three semesters; exhibits at top fine art festivals; paints in juried and invitational plein air competitions; takes on portrait commissions; travels for personal painting excursions and inspiration; and plans a Collectors’ Soiree at her Northern Virginia home annually, it’s hard to imagine when the renowned artist doesn’t have a brush in hand.

“Almost all of my work is captured directly from life – alla prima portraits from subjects right in front of me, plein air urban landscapes of people enjoying their days with my easel set up on the sidewalk, and still lifes or interiors when homebound,” explains Jill. “I crave color and company, using my canvas to pull you by my side to enjoy the view together.”

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Aperitifs
20 x 16 in.
Oil on linen-lined panel

 

“When I was starting on this painting journey, one of my top goals was to travel and to support that dream through income from my art,” continues Jill. “That initial vision didn’t include setting up my easel in all these places but rather bringing that inspiration back home to my studio.”


In 2011, a pivotal project prepared Jill to take on the task of painting people – plein air and not posing – from life. Jill invited friends, acquaintances, and strangers of all ages to sit to have their portraits painted, allowing her to get to know her subjects and her volunteers to learn more about her passion for painting during the process. The 100 Faces in 100 Day Project was a success on all levels and led her to pursue plein air painting -- to capture her subjects wherever they roamed.

“There is something deeply different about painting from life versus copying a photograph,” Jill emphasizes. “It gives the viewer – and me – the opportunity to see the world around us in layers. The beauty of it at first glance – and then, more and more. It captures the richness of memories, atmosphere, feelings, thoughts, and vibrancy. There is always something more to see. My impressionistic style allows viewers to fill in the blanks, see their own story within the work.”

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Love by the Sea
12 x 24 in.
Oil on linen-lined panel

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Good Morning, Telluride
24 x 36 in.
Oil on linen

 

“Six 4th of July celebrations have been spent capturing the town of Telluride during Plein Air Telluride -- and then for one week in September during the pandemic in 2020 (when it had to be postponed by a few months). Because of travel limitations, my husband and I drove to Telluride that year -- from Virginia. The road trip allowed me to pack much larger canvases and frames than I’d be willing to ship or able to pack for a flight -- and Good Morning, Telluride is the result.
I painted it over three days from the balcony of the Airbnb we were staying at -- capturing the town waking up with dog walks, mail pickup, and morning hellos included.”

Since Jill turned art into her second career in 2003, her works have been well-received by collectors across the globe, published in well-respected art publications, and recognized with top awards and accolades, including First Place (Best in Show) at Knoxville’s Artists on Location 2022 (judged by Kathie Odom), Best Symphony Award at the 2022 Gloucester Plein Air Invitational, Honorable Mention in the American Impressionist Society’s Associate Online Exhibition, and #1 Top Seller Telluride Plein Air 2020, to name a few.

And there is no sign of her slowing down soon; as we speak, Jill is getting ready to head to Key West for the third time. Keep a close eye out for the talented artist alongside the scenic roads and beaches as she captures the beautiful sunny vistas and those enjoying them in her loose impressionistic signature style.


https://www.jillbanks.com/

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1999 – American Beauty/James Turrell,
The Light Inside
55.5 x 48 inches

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1932 – Grand Hotel/Georgia O’Keeffe,
Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1
52 x 36 inches

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1940 – The Philadelphia Story/Stuart Davis,
Hot Still - Scape for Six Colors-7th Avenue Style
48 x 36.5 inches

 

Some of Lautenberg’s pairings in the series featured at the Boca Raton Museum also stem from her personal history. In the 1960s, her father purchased the 1940s Stuart Davis painting Hot Still-Scape for Six Colors ‒ 7th Avenue Style. In this pairing, she juxtaposes the Davis painting with a scene from the 1940 film The Philadelphia Story (pictured right). Lautenberg admired this painting at home during her childhood, and the family sold the painting some 25 years later.

Ultimately, the work was donated to the Boston Museum of Fine Art. Years later, Lautenberg was reunited with the painting when she visited the museum and was heartened to see it was still in the same frame it had during the many years when it hung over their family fireplace.

Lautenberg’s “1952” is her combination of a scene from Singin’ in the Rain with Yayoi Kusama’s painting titled The Sea (both from 1952). This year marks the 70th anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain, one of Hollywood’s most beloved films of all time. It was directed by Gene Kelly, who also starred in this Hollywood classic. In honor of the film’s milestone anniversary, Warner Bros. Studio is releasing a new 4K Ultra HD movie version. In keeping with Bonnie Lautenberg’s keen ability to tune in to the zeitgeist, this newly released high-resolution anniversary edition of the film is currently making headlines worldwide with screenings across multiple cities and at major festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival.

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1928 –The Mysterious Lady/Rene Magritte,
The Lovers
60.61 x 40 inches

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1938 – Jezebel/Henri Matisse,
Lady in Blue
26 x 37.7 inches

 

 

To view her artworks and photography, visit www.BonnieLautenberg.com, where the artist showcases images she has taken in Israel, Antarctica, Cuba, and around the world for the past 25 years.