Jill McLean is a Southern California native, born in Los Angeles and raised in the beach city of Corona del Mar. Her childhood was creative, including 12 years of piano and extensive travel which filled her with memories that now inform her studio practice. Experiencing a huge range of cultures as a young girl opened her heart and mind to understanding life and people in a deep way.
After garnering a Bachelor of Science degree in Fine Art at University of Oregon, her creative pursuits switched tracks to the visual communications industry, where she owned an independent design studio for 25 years. Her entrepreneurial spirit translated well when the big day came -- she transformed her career into what would be a life-long endeavor as a professional artist.
“I’m a big believer that whatever our core is, no matter how far away we travel from it, at some point we cannot deny it any longer and must return to our first love. Fine art has always been my truest love of all. Now my art business and studio practice thrive in a spacious Chicago-based studio at the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport. Whatever our past provides (for me, it was my graphic design business), it can be leveraged for our bigger path. Now I utilize all the wonderful things I did in my earlier years: running a business of my own, working with clients, presenting campaigns, and all that jazz. It has allowed me to continue as a professional artist without limitation. So many ideas are brewing in me for creative endeavors, and I am incredibly grateful that I get to do this everyday!”
For most of her professional art career, Jill’s medium of choice has been oils on canvas. Over the past 5 months, she rediscovered her love of paper and drawing, so there is a new direction emerging which use oil washes and chalk pastels on paper. The most recent collection underway is titled “Jewels In My Eyes” and brings forth her fascination with how light refracts through different stones and jewels to create greater dimensions and facets.
“Life is not a one-note experience, and jewels with light refractions really illuminate how I see this concept. It’s such a larger, more beautiful composition than we might recall, my goal is to present it to the public in a way that opens our eyes to all that life is … it’s really an amazing thing and we all need these reminders at times.”
Jill’s work is completely faith-centric and — as she strives to share her internal sight and understanding with others — it really all comes down to creating life, being renewed and lifting up.
“Create Life … this is my constant light and guiding principal, my True North, the golden thread that was woven into me long before I was even a tiny spark.
In my ongoing dialogue with Creation, there is a seed of life that is sprinkled into all I am, all my mind ponders, the things my hands have the privilege to make. Leaving behind the culture of death in the deepest furrows of that which does not last, I seek instead to regenerate in my own beautiful way, my own time, and with the mission of illuminating these things in others.
Color, movement, energy … these unify to capture the fullness and gratitude I experience each and every day. They are the words written upon my heart, the perfection of hope without measure, the true love story between myself and Life.”
Jill’s work can be seen on her website and through social media. Her paintings are held in private collections locally and nationally. She loves doing commissions and having studio visits, as well as opening her studio doors (#410) every 3rd Friday at Zhou B Art Center. Her forecast for 2019 includes extensive efforts for exhibitions, representation and development of bringing her original artworks into the fashion industry. So stay tuned, follow, visit and reach out!
Watch the studio visit with Jill McLean on Facebook: