Artist Jill DeFelice Paints Summer Pleasures in a New Graphic Style

May 16, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson Artist Jill DeFelice focuses on fun, contemporary images for her new style. ‘Hunting Egret’ and ‘Oystercatchers Parade’ (left) and ‘Heron at Dawn’ (right) are just three of her 18 shorebird paintings.

Artist Jill DeFelice has had an interesting travel life; her husband and she spent years in China and Russia for business, and many of her early paintings reflected that wonderful experience. Now that she has settled in Tuckerton Beach, she had refocused her attention on local wildlife and habitats and was successfully working in oils in an impressionist style; last year she exhibited some of that work at the Little Egg Harbor branch of the Ocean County library.

This year she had two months to prepare a new exhibit, and somewhat surprisingly, she changed up her style of painting.

“I knew I couldn’t paint all that I needed using oil paints, so I switched to acrylics. I started with the ‘drinks’ paintings (still life paintings of liquors and beers) and jumped into the shorebirds.”

She started in February and completed 32 paintings in time for her May 9 opening at the library.

DeFelice drew her inspirations from Japanese wood cut prints and William Rice’s Art Deco prints, but also credits her artist-nephew Eric Hinkley’s contemporary works.

“I could see myself painting more in this style, a more graphic style – this is the first time in my 17-year painting career that I’ve painted in black outlines. They are more contemporary and fun. They are realistic enough, but as my art sponsor, Tom Rutledge, said, ‘You must show less to style in style.’”

DeFelice has painted “Oystercatchers Parade,” “Flamingo Conference,” “Hunting Egret,” laughing gulls and herring gulls – all with personality and attitudes.

“They lend themselves to this graphic style.”

Some of her still life paintings can be paired, such as “Bloody Mary Mix,” of celery and tomatoes, and “Bloody Mary,” a drink on a table; or “Strawberries and Lime’”and ‘Strawberry Daiquiri.” Also, her small square paintings of gulls can be grouped effectively for a portion of a wall home gallery, but all are priced individually and reasonably.

DeFelice said the act of painting the summer drinks series and the shorebirds was particularly uplifting during this past winter’s harsh weather. “They were such fun to paint. I was happy doing all of them.”

The exhibit continues at the library through May. 

— Pat Johnson 

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