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.
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.
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.
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.