This IS one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE places to visit when I am on the Big Island!!! I am TOTALLY INSPIRED at the Blue Ginger Gallery!! It certainly speaks to my soul!!
I was soooo excited to talk to Jill about her artistic inspirations and how the Blue Ginger Gallery came to be!!!!
Upon entering, it feels more like an island country home… like you are visiting ohana (family), and not your typical art gallery!! Beauty, whimsy, but mostly JOY surrounds you everywhere!!! Jill is incredibly talented, and she has so much love for the islands… Her Aloha is palpable right when you meet her!!
Here is our interview… Enjoy!!
What inspired you to do art?
Both my parents were very artistic. My mom was doing formal painting lessons and I always had to tag along when she did plein air. She ended up using me as a model. My dad would do cartoons. So I had a little of both ends of the spectrum.
How did your interest evolve?
I started to journal. It was all illustrations. It was one journal after the next and I would be under my covers with the flashlight drawing and my mom would come in and say,” Time to go to bed!!” And I would turn it off, and then turn it back on as soon as she left. I would just continue. I just loved to express myself that way!
Where were you brought up? Yonkers, New York
Who were your mentors besides your parents?
George Peters and all the famous artists, really, because I was brought to museums and constantly exposed to different art in the city. I can’t even name everyone because there was so much!
Also, my sister Suzanne was always a significant influence, encouraging me creatively throughout my life!
When you first got started, did you know exactly what you wanted to do?
I just experimented!
What is your process when you paint?
Depends on the medium, the mood, lots of influences. I think both extreme joy, AND sadness bring art out of me. In the year 2000, my girlfriend died, and I created 27 paintings in a short period of time. All I could do to express my sadness was produce art...
And that was through silk painting? Yes.
Did you start with silk painting?
Originally it was watercolor, pencils and rapidiograph/pen and ink. A lot of rapidiograph since it was easy to carry. You can get really detailed. I used to do a lot of caricatures. People would come over and I would draw them while they were visiting my parents. They were always amazed at the personality I picked up! Then I went to acrylics and oils... When I discovered silk painting, I just fell in LOVE with IT!!
Did you take a class? No, I am self-taught.
How did you get to Hawaii?
I moved from NY to Colorado in 1975 because I loved the mountains. I was a skier and I moved to Aspen. I skied a lot. While there, I designed signs for businesses. I also designed silk screens for a t-shirt shop, and then I worked for a guy who did gold jewelry. His business was named “Kona Gold”. He taught me how to do lost wax and I ended up doing that for him!
I had many friends who were ski bums. In the summer they would fly to Hawaii and surf. One of my friends came back and said” You look just like my sister!! She lives on Kauai!”… I was a little bit shocked by that, so that summer, I went to Kauai to see her.. And we do!! We were twins!! It was really remarkable! I started frequenting Hawaii after that.
When I left Colorado, I moved to Toluca Lake, California, and started taking art classes at UCLA and Trade Tech. Just interesting things. I was actually doing computer graphics, but it was too mathematical for me. So I stopped.
I started designing jewelry... and my love of painting on silk started there as well.
I also created mannequins. I rented the mannequins to Right Bank Shoe Company in Beverly Hills. Many stores were using my mannequins. So I sold a few, packed the remnants of them, and moved over here. I then began this shop which became a gallery in 1986.
And you knew you wanted a gallery?
I just wanted a venue for art. It was GREAT! We had mostly stained glass, since at that time, my ex husband was a stained glass artist and also a wood worker. At the time, it was my silks, his glass and some jewelry. Slowly we collected a lot of local artists work here.
Do you listen to music while you paint? And what do you love?
It’s a large range because I love jazz, Hawaiian music, country and I like rock n roll! Anything is good!! Just depending upon the mood either quiet time or really energized.
Back to your process, do you think about it for a while, is it spontaneous or do you dream and create from your dreams?
I usually create from my imagination. The tendency here is to do Hawaiiana. So if it’s not hula or underwater scenes, it’s floral and plein air type things. Sometimes I have something in mind in the beginning, sometimes there is definitely something I want to express. But a lot of times, I will just free form, putting the paint on the canvas and pretty soon, I get a feeling of what I want to do and establish it from there. Then sometimes it even goes in another direction after that!
What are your favorite places on the island?
Kealakekua Bay of course! There are a lot of other GREAT beaches but there is Mana here… I LOVE SOUTH KONA. Love the People. It draws a lot of Goddesses and Mermaids.
Jean Kingsley-Love and her Dolphin Yin Yang Painting
And what is your favorite place in the world to travel to?
I haven’t traveled a whole lot. I’ve been to Bali many times. I love Italy and Switzerland… Colorado is really great too, really beautiful. It seems like home to me. I am sure I could live in Italy and Switzerland if I had to! I like Spain and I have been to Portugal. I love the coast there. It is gorgeous! My favorite though is Hawaii and Colorado.
What do you do when you are not creating art or running the gallery?
Bicycling, paddle boarding, boogie boarding, beaching it, looking for shells and skiing!( And one she forgot to mention, that I know she adores, is swimming with dolphins!! )
Do you dance hula? I do!! I LOVE HULA!
What inspires you now?
The Hawaiian culture and A Lapa Au, the herbs and the plants and the MANA.. I have taken Lomi Lomi and have worked with the healing stones. That moves me!! That and the ocean… that’s endless, you know, and of course, Nature!!!
What do you collect?
What do I collect… wow, besides art??? FRIENDS!!! And Shells!! I make jewelry with them. I would also LOVE to have ALL the local artists work!! Lol!! I collect nice furniture, a couple kitties. I like miniatures of Dalmatians, since I used to have a Dalmatian, but I don’t have a lot. Oh and those little fish they use for chopstick holders, I like those. And ART SUPPLIES!!! I have just about EVERYTHING you could think about doing!! From Felting to Batiking!! Haha !! I’ve got it if you need it!
And, wisdom that you live by?
The Truth. I really honor being honest with people and sharing. And I don’t really follow any one religion. I just honor everybody. I feel everyone has their own story. I LOVE to collect those stories. That’s GREAT! I appreciate health and healthy food, and really enjoying what you eat because it’s nurturing for your soul. That’s the most important part. The wisdom that you learn from your own experiences is really the best.
Anything that you would like to be living?
The religion that covers all the best parts of other religions, I like that. I think it is called Baha’i. And I would like to learn more history, different religions, where the roots came from and why people chose to follow one or the other and what were the best parts about them.
What do you aspire to create next for your life?
Oh, my gosh! I would love to go nationwide with my art. I would love to create a product and share with everyone. I like the reaction people have when they see whimsical art. It’s really healing for me when people enjoy what I have created!!
Your work is truly beautiful… Feels good to me!!
Anything else you would like to share?
I think creating is really healthy for everybody… when people say they can’t draw a straight line, I say ” NEITHER CAN I !! I USE A RULER!!!”
( Right at this point in the interview, local artist, Suzanne Dix drops by to bring more of her art to the gallery and shows Jill pictures of the baby chicks that Jill gave her as just-hatched fluff balls that now are grown) .. there was a great feeling of joy exploding between them, like proud Mamas talking about their children! )
I just like to show people that there is really nothing to it (ART) and there is nothing wrong OR right. Everything is PERFECT! The whole drawing a straight line thing? NO one does it! IT"S WONDERFUL!!! I just really enjoy turning people on to new creative avenues to express themselves!
You can find Jill and the Blue Ginger Gallery on the Big Island of Hawaii: http://www.bluegingergallery.com/
79-7391 Mamalahoa Highway
Kealakekua, Hawaii, 96750 808-322-3898
PS She also has 2 GORGEOUS spaces for rent in Kealakekua Bay.. Check it out:
The Manini Mermaid Vacation Rental
The Mermaid Studio
>>>: )))))))) :8>
Tell her, Nancy at Inspire Paradise sent you!! Aloha!!!
Join our mailing list to receive the latest and greatest on Paradise!!
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.