This Magnificent Life spoke with painter Jill Bryant.
“I was born in West Australia, and I have lived in Brisbane for the last 4 years. I have produced and sold both abstract and impressionistic paintings throughout Australia. Living temporarily on the East Coast, I have focused on Australian watercolour painting in the last few years. Initially out of convenience because of storage issues but as a result, I have truly fallen in love with this medium.
What are your influences? Artists, nature, the immediate world around you?
I have a few select master watercolour artists who have influenced the way I paint and look at subjects. I feel I have adopted elements of their techniques, depending on what I’m painting. For example, the way Herman Pekel paints trees, the looseness and spontaneity of Alvaro Castagnet, and little details of Joseph Zbukvic. But my two favourites, who for me are the pinnacle of Watercolour mastery are Chien Chung Wei and Marc Folly. Absolutely brilliant!
Basically from the moment I open my eyes, almost everything I see, I see from an artistic viewpoint. I love the Australian landscape and never tire of seeing the way it changes with light. I live near water, and I am daily inspired by its beauty. The morning sunlight produces diamonds on the surface, the silvery reflections on an overcast day, and the way the sun illuminates little bits of detail so valuable in finishing an artwork. We are also blessed with a variety of trees where I live, and I am constantly fascinated by their beauty, whether it’s the Poinciana with its angular branches that extend horizontally to produce the most amazing patterns against the light, casting equally beautiful shadows. Or the mangrove trees along the Brisbane River that create mesmerizing reflections in the water to the palm trees of far north Queensland that make for the perfect lining to a tropical beach. These are the things that inspire me.
What drives you to create?
I am constantly analysing the light, form, contrast and mood of whatever I look at. To be honest, I’d like to switch my brain off sometimes, but I suppose, as an artist, it’s impossible to turn creativity on and off. Then there are those little moments that captivate me, and I just want to paint then. Like the intimate moments between a mother and child at the beach or the in-depth conversation between two people silhouetted against a window. I truly believe it helps in producing artwork with soul.
If you could change anything about The Australian Art scene, what would it be?
In recent years, I have focused more on Watercolour. It’s much more challenging but incredibly rewarding. I would like to see a greater focus on the art of watercolour and more recognition for watercolour societies.
Who were (are) your mentors? And why?
I can’t say any one person, although my family and friend’s support and encouragement have allowed me to feel confident in what I do. That doesn’t mean to say I don’t second guess myself or fail many times. But I don’t want to give up on learning, improving and refining, both personally and with my art.
Which is your favourite piece of art:- yours – and another artist?
Probably at this point in time, it is:
‘Looking for Shells’ – Jill Bryant
‘Turkish Light’ – Chien Chung Wei
How would you describe your style in a 60-second elevator pitch to the director of the National Gallery?
If you want a painting to reflect the ‘feeling’ of Australia, its casual demeanour, its sunny disposition and raw understated beauty, my paintings do all of that in a medium that offers translucency like no other.
Art is so influential. My paintings leave the viewer feeling happy and uplifted, and let’s face it, don’t we need more of that in this world? Invest in a Jill Bryant.
What makes you happy?
Spirituality, giving, beautiful family and friends and our amazing natural surroundings.
What do you think of the emergence of so-called ‘AI-Art’?
I have seen Watercolour paintings produced by AI, and they lack soul and look too perfect. It’s obvious an imperfect master is not behind the painting. AI has its place, but it doesn’t belong in the art world.”
Would you like to see more of Jill Bryant’s wonderful work? On her website here
Some of the paintings used in this article were sold before publication.
See more Australian artists here.