Jill Karlin Fine Art

Born when the sun was heading towards its zenith in the middle of the calendar year, yet only a juvenile in the zodiac, my life was destined to be a kaleidoscope of colors and experiences. Blessed that my father, the most precious of gentlemen, was a shaman of the American elite, a medical doctor at Harvard University, where he doctored the future heads of our world. So kind and gentle a spirit was he that all I wanted to do, as a middle child, was please him.

My mother, an artist and cultural doyen, gave us the tools of art, music, dance, and theatre, to explore. A shy, introverted, blonde, blue-eyed babe of privilege, in that obedient generation, that was at the brink of learning to fly, to break away from the expected roles imposed by suit-wearing, bow-tied clad fathers, and June Cleaver, tight waisted dress aproned mothers, I followed the Victorian adage, “Little girls are to be seen, not heard” until I didn’t. Timothy Leary and The Beatles hit the scene begging us to tune in, turn on, and drop out. What an adventure it proved to be. I yielded my multi-colored flower paintbrush onto every surface it could touch.

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Open to Commission Work

The fragility of a flower is a window into the realm of spirit, which has attracted Jill as a subject for her paintings. Her exquisite renditions of orchids are a
means of expressing her own inner flowering, and the awakening of her own spirit. Flowing, harmonious, luxurious, Jill’s orchid paintings express Jill’s belief that paradise on earth is possible.

 

Lucid, flowing, 2 dimensional but sculptural in their rich textures, Jill’s handmade paper paintings are inspired by cosmic gardens and visions of angels.

Jill’s first house portrait was very personal: The Captain Fisher House in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where she spent many summers, and much of her youth. A neighbor saw her painting and asked her to do one of her homes, and thus began Jill’s career. Jill depicts the home, building, boat, or whatever is the subject, centrally, and then creates a border of vignettes, each one a small painting describing something about the owners, the home, the town, like a patchwork quilt painting. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Jill’s House portraits are worth about twenty thousand words. Their charm and personal character are legendary.

Whimsical building histories, painted in a classical, American, naïve style, these mixed-media “house portraits” of your home, hotel, museum, cottage, condo, castle, apartment, summer digs, business, boat, city, municipality, cultural organization, loved one, or pet make marvelous heirlooms.
 
The subject is rendered centrally, and the border vignettes capture details, recording history and memorabilia in a charming manner. Artifacts, family stories, hobbies, interior views, city or building history can be rendered. Greeting cards made from original art provide the ultimate in personalized sophisticated stationery and announcements. Please send photos, and specifics like your property’s name, favorite colors and family name or address if you wish for it to appear.
 

Plein air painting made popular in the
late 1800s requires that the artist set up her canvas outdoors in nature to paint.
Jill has been blessed to live in beautiful
places throughout the world and loves
plein air painting most of all. The
contact with the natural world thrills, and inspires Jill.

 

Classically trained, in Europe, Jill studied the human figure, creating oils and works on paper. She boldly executed large paintings on paper, depicting the movement of dancers at The Boston Ballet and exhibited these paintings at Boston Symphony.

 

In 1980, as a graduate student at Boston University Jill, through revelations, began “Peaceable Kingdom” paintings, in which the lion lays with the lamb, and people live in harmony with nature. In 1992, she was introduced to Lee Porter Butler’s environmental architecture, which enables man to live, doing “no harm” to the earth or each other. Together they formed “The Dolphin Dream”, which Jill painted, and, in 2000, won The Philip Hulitar award for one of these visionary works of art.

Yogini, Jill, expert in this ancient art and science, combined her artistic talent, knowledge of the human form and asanas, too create the typography, BODYTYPE, which she trademarked and copyrighted in 1980. You’ve probably seen it: bodies in asanas to form the alphabet. Hired to illustrate Coconut Cuisine by whole foods chef, and nutritionist Jan London Jill created a new typography called Coconut.

Art transcends the parameters of the wall in Jill’s world. “Her work spills beyond the strictures of conformity onto any inert surface” says Jack Owen in November 1994 Ocean Drive article about “Environmental activist and artist Jill Karlin”. Functional art inhabits Jill’s paradise environments, and the ones she creates for clients worldwide.


Throughout her career, Jill has used the painted word as a vehicle to communicate artfully deeper truths.

 

Jill’s first journey to Nepal and India in 1988 was so inspiring that she rose at 4 to capture the light, and painted daily. Biki Oberoi, to whom she was introduced in New Delhi, invited her to
come back to India to exhibit her paintings, which she did in 1992 at the Oberoi, New Delhi. Her exhibition was
favorably reviewed by all the major press.

Colored-Filled Life

At sixteen, I commenced a correspondence with the greats of (female) artists, Georgia O’Keefe. She encouraged my career, and I emulated her style, painting broadly and dynamically exotic and rare orchids, expressing my rainbow child self by reaching into the heart of their mysterious fragility in my soul each time I spent days with them in The Hunniwell’s greenhouse of magical splendor.

There was another aspect to my bohemian child’s life that appeared before the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, at the age of seven, when my elder sister shared with me a book of Yoga. I copied the poses, one by one until I mastered them. This was the moment I picked up the mantle “Yogini”, which was written in the stars. In this era of opening up, allowing exploration of possibilities, the phys ed teachers in my progressive school discovered that I was gifted and invited me to teach Yoga. I have never veered from the path. When the moon moved into clutz, I walked off a cliff in Mexico during a yacht race, that rendered me three broken vertebrae, a broken leg, and many broken ribs. I spent hospital weeks on my back writing and illustrating the instant he’s seller, “Exercises To Do While In a Body and A Leg Cast”. This book was mostly an exploration into various practices of the ancient science of Pranayama that I had been exposed to by Hatha Master BKS Iyengar.

BKS was my teacher, and for the next many years I followed him and all his senior teachers around the world, devouring every pose, every nuance of practice I could. He slapped me, yelled at me, and woke up parts of my body that I didn’t know existed, as awareness is a harsh teacher. My soul cried for more. I craved
enlightenment. Mr. Iyengar’s answer didn’t satisfy, so I had to leave the comfort of the familiar and venture into the austere practice of 10 days of silence: Vipassana Meditation as taught by SN Goenka. … It happened… I experienced a full Kundalini awakening, blowing my mind into the stratosphere of bliss, and the exquisite “peace that passeth all understanding” that Jesus refers to. This has led me to a life of service in Vipassana, as I continue all these practices and one more: Kundalini
Yoga. It is said that twenty-two year of Hatha Yoga are equal to one year of Kundalini Yoga. So about 44 years in, (2 years Kundalini Time) I got certified in Kundalini, which I teach. India beckoned for the third time. This time I was invited by the owner of The Oberoi Hotel chain to exhibit my paintings in the flagship Oberoi New Delhi. Each of my almost six-month journeys in the Subcontinent were filled with magic, and mystery which I expressed through paintings and words in, “An Artist’s Inspired Journeys In India and Nepal Paintings and Tales by Jill Karlin”, first produced as an exhibition catalog and later published as a coffee table book.

An Artist’s Inspired Journeys In India and Nepal Living in the exotic Shivas Niwas Palace on the shore of tranquil Lake Pichiola, the guest of The Maharana of Udaipur, practicing Yoga by my poolside room, riding the king’s horses, driving his Willie’s Jeep, creating art, teaching Yoga to the royal family, teaching art to children…life was grand. And then, as if God were speaking to me directly, an epiphany, a voice clearly in my ear, “Go home, to the place you call home and make a difference in your community”. Within two months I was back in the charming Flamingo Park neighborhood of West Palm Beach, in my little 1920s hand-painted (by me) bungalow.

I lobbied the local government and got a commission to paint a series of paintings in my historic “House Portrait” style which I had developed years earlier, combining my mother’s Americana needlework, Grandma Moses, and traditional Rajasthan Miniature painting, to create my signature iconic “House Portrait” works. I was commissioned to do a calendar.

In my mind I was accomplishing my mission in “my community in the place I called ‘home’”, “to make a difference” by helping to preserve and save the local historic properties. Little did I know my mission would be so grand to encompass the entire earth.

There, painting in front of the Art Armory, I was made aware of the potential destruction of magnificent shade trees the following morning. Mustering all the strength in my arsenal, I rose at 5:00 in the morning, after a night at the base of the black olive tree slated for execution. I had been communing with every fiber of my soul, so I could gather the courage to call all media: newspapers, magazines, TV Stations, radio stations (pre-cell phones) listed in The Yellow Pages, and tell them about a lady (that be me, not yet) tied to the black olive tree at The Art Armory to prevent the city from cutting it down. I then jumped on my trusty steed, a bicycle, equipped with handcuffs and a bike chain, to hunker in for what it might take.

Arriving back at the tree pre-dawn, I discovered that the job required another set of hands to allow me to reach the unruly plastic-covered wired bike chain from hand to hand. Destiny nudged me. With heart pounding in my chest, I pedaled back to my home to telephone an environmental architect, I had recently met. Without hesitation the tall southern gentleman, Lee Butler arrived to help me accomplish the task.

Plant, Nurture and Protect Trees The tree cutters arrived simultaneously with the news cameras, which scared the executioners away. My mission, I thought, was a success!
Rejoicing with my accomplice was premature, he warned me. The tree did not survive, but our joining was truly in the stars. Lee Porter Butler, the father of environmental architecture, and I
joined together in epic love to establish EKOTECTURE: completely self-sustainable living systems, which allow humanity to live safely, in comfort during climate change. Lee and I educated globally until his death in 2005. I continue to steward EKOTECTURE, holding the criteria sacred.

I teach Yoga, and EKOTECTURE globally while exhibiting paintings, making films, writing articles, books, and leading large scale tile mural art projects that bring communities together.

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