capturing nature's transient beauty
Pansies and Crocheted Lace
5x5 inches / oil on panel
I recall as a child, accompanying my mother to the plant nursery where she told me to search for the pansies that had "faces". So even today I still refer to Pansies as the smiling faces of Spring. They are a personal favorite to paint not only for this reason, but also for the wonderfully translucent qualities as the light shines through the petals such as shown on the flower on the left. Note how that deep, rich purple fades on the backside where the creases of the petals shine through.
Bundle of Asparagus
Oil on Panel 5 x 7 inches
Here I finally satisfied a long standing urge to create this painting — ever since my first exposure to the subject as art via a painting of white asparagus by Adriaen Coorte in 1696 and then again with a painting of asparagus on a bed of chives by Edouard Manet in 1880. The simple, pure beauty of a tied bundle of asparagus signifies the earthy freshness of spring. The warm tonal greens are particularly attractive with various shades of blue, mauve and lavender — an irresistible palette. This painting marks my full immersion into contemporary realism having previously worked exclusively in the style of classical realism.
My CFAI Magazine Feature Article on Bud Selig's Retirement Gift from MLB Baseball Oil Painting Still Life Contemporary Realism "Where Art Lives" pages 84-87
Feature Article in CFAI's "Where Art Lives" Magazine Pages 84-87
"Well Played" by JEANNE ILLENYE
With the baseball season currently in full swing, I thought it apropos to share with you a particularly fun painting from a very special client, the Major League Baseball Commission. It was such an honor when I was the artist chosen to create a corporate retirement gift for long time great, Allan H. "Bud" Selig, MLB Commissioner for 22 years.
I could barely contain my excitement, even though I'd only ever been to a Major League Baseball game a couple of times in New York City at the old Shea Stadium with my husband, a diehard Mets fan, as well as seeing a game at the old park in Cooperstown, New York when I was just a child. I recalled that it wasn't the first time in recent years that I'd been approached by a corporation regarding my baseball paintings. Previously, the publisher of famed American journalist and novelist Jim Lehrer included one of my paintings in the cover design of Jim Lehrer's novel, "Oh, Johnny".
So the plan was set, contract executed, then the arrival of two official baseballs with Bud Selig's signature. One was in a classic display cube for posterity and the other which was even more thrilling to me, was well worn from the game. Imagine, I held in my hand an official baseball that was actually in play...flown across home plate at speeds of 95 mph, cracked against the powerful swing of a bat, and sunk deep into a glove at first base! Oh, I could almost hear the roaring cheers...and yet there it was before me in my studio, silently resting on my lap in the gentle grasp of one hand, paintbrush in the other.
In this quietude I studied my subject...how it felt, the pattern of the stitching, the logos and fonts printed on it, and I thought about the artist who designed the fabulous MLB logo, the hands that stitched that vibrant red thread through softly puckered leather and the unique design of the ball itself. I began the process of merging the two baseballs together in my mind's eye, utilizing the logos and signature from one and the aged appearance from the other along with the dramatic lighting from a previous painting, which was my client's request. The main challenge was the fact that since the ball needed to be lifesize at less than three inches, it meant extremely tiny details with logos, laces and Bud Selig's signature. You’ll see in the image of me holding the ball alongside the framed painting how I deliberately aged the ball. The title came to me immediately as I painted, which so often is the case. "Well Played" seemed especially suitable to celebrate Bud Selig's career and immense dedication to this time honored sport as he embarked upon a new chapter. It would be a treasured retirement gift from the Major League Baseball Commission in recognition of his historic leadership.
After my experience, this classical floral painter has now committed to getting back in the game of painting baseballs again! As we all look forward to Spring, which for most of us means flowers and birdsong, I will also be joining the ranks of dedicated fans by celebrating the game. To view more of my baseball paintings and read my personal recollections visit jeanneillenye.blogspot.com and keep an eye out for future paintings of nostalgic, time worn baseballs commemorating this beloved sport for all to enjoy!
White Dress with Peony
10x8 inches oil on panel
Something completely different for me, a white chiffon dress with the softest hint of baby blue in the satin sash, all accentuated with a butter yellow and white peony. The crisp black and white theme is refreshing and presents this gossamer dress with an ethereal quality. If you have a wedding gown, christening dress, baby bonnet that or perhaps a special pair of lace gloves you would like interpreted as a custom oil painting, I'd be delighted to create a gorgeous memento especially for you! email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wild Turkey Feathers & Robin's Egg
6x6 inches / oil on panel
Reminiscent of classical botanicals, this arrangement of what I believe are two beautiful Turkey feathers and a Robin’s egg, make for a striking composition. The creamy white feather with tints of gold is silky and the brown feather is downy soft. Surprisingly, we didn’t see the usual flocks of turkeys this past season. We do always enjoy their antics as they strut and cluck up the driveway and move in waves all around the property sampling my garden and cleaning up under the bird feeders. Perhaps they’ll grace us with their presence next year....
white phaleanopsis orchid blue and white oriental bowl moss elegant classical contemporary still life oil painting
White Phalaenopsis Orchid
10x8 inches / oil on canvas
Larger than I've painted this subject in the past, a white Phalaenopsis Orchid is stately and elegant in a rich, classical setting with a moss filled blue and white Oriental bowl. As always, a nod to Nature's transience is evident in one bruised leaf.
OREO Double Stuf
5x5 inches oil on panel
We baby boomers have been enjoying what many term the “retro” look of things, and oil paintings are no exception. Here I’ve focused all my attention on studying the details of this childhood favorite. Even after a lifetime of dunking and twisting off the tops of these treats, I never noticed until now, that they are impressed with the OREO logo as well as the words “Double Stuf” so I’ve included all those details, even shadows behind the crumbs, which make realism painting such fun!
Little Gems Series small still life oil painting Fluffy Little Bird's Nest with Eggs 6x6 inches daily painting
Fluffy Little Bird's Nest with Eggs
6x6 inches oil on panel
This tiny little bird’s nest is actually painted life size, the subject being one which we had rescued from the ravages of Winter. For this painting however, I chose to add several eggs to symbolize the rebirth of Spring as it abounds just outside my studio windows; perhaps even the former occupants are contributing to the chorus I hear now. Having included birds and bird’s nests in many of my larger paintings, I chose to focus all my attention on this delicate little gem with its particular abundance of fluff. One cannot look at these tiny creations without marveling at their structure and pondering how we humans are not the only artists roaming this earth.
Large Classical Floral Still Life with Peonies, Books and Baby Robin Bird Figurine 20x16 oil on canvas
Antique Wallace Grand Baroque Sterling Silver Fork
Triptych Left Panel
30x20 inches / oil on canvas
...and the final piece in the triptych, the fork, which features daffodils and forget-me-nots. I'll be photographing all the panels together for another post, but must wait for a bright day to achieve even illumination for accurate depiction of tonal values. Oh, and don't you just love the shadows of the fork? This triptych is quite fabulous in person as the scale is so large with overall dimensions of 30x60 inches. I can imagine each panel framed on the wall for an elegant yet powerful statement.
capturing nature's transient beauty
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After dabbling in a vast array of subjects, I've finally decided to focus my new still life oil paintings predominantly on flowers which are my absolute favorite along with everything that can accompany them such as crystal, lace, glass jars, silverware, teapots and teacups contrasting with rustic, textural elements of painted wood, moss and nests. In other words, all my favorite things of beauty. As I state on my website homepage, "It's all about beauty in nature and antiques."