Over the last four decades, well-known Mebane artist Jill Troutman has painted almost everything. But she’s most well-known for her florals, which adorn the walls of hospitals throughout the state of North Carolina, including our very own Alamance Regional Medical Center.
“I have, for the last 40 years, done every flower in every hospital in North Carolina. And they’re everywhere,” Troutman said in a recent interview at her Mebane home studio. “Somebody said, ‘Oh Jill, we’re going to get some flowers,’ and I said, ‘You’ve already got flowers. I’m not doing anymore. They’re everywhere.’”
On Thursday evening (October 3), Troutman will introduce her latest collection, titled, “New Beginnings Again - Paintings by Jill Troutman,” at the Mebane Arts and Community Center. The exhibit starts with a meet-and-greet on October 3 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in an opportunity being called “An Artful Gathering.” The exhibit will be on display at the MACC through October 19.
Coming off a recent stroke, Troutman needed time to get her facilities back together. But now that she’s feeling well again, it seems that nothing can stop her as she readied for her latest exhibit.
“When I had this stroke, I didn’t know who I was for eight days. And that is very scary,” she said. “I had people who would stay with me. Now I paint about eight to twelve hours a day. That’s what I’m doing now, because I’m strong and I’m healthy, and I’m not just nitpicking at it."
"I quit my real job when I was 40, and here I am at 80," she added. "I’m really fine, and I’m excited about this opportunity. If I have something that’s really going, and it’s like falling out of the end of the brush or pour or whatever I’m doing, I just stay right there. I don’t stop. I don’t switch over to something else.”
For her latest project, the Mebanite elected to try several different means and different techniques to add texture to her work. By adding new elements such as tissue paper, grocery bags, and other household items to these pieces, the items have a three-dimensional feel to them.
“They’re going to get Jill like they’ve never seen her before,” she said. “I’ve been known for these great big, huge things. Well, people still want them, and they’re still buying them. But I’ve never offered small pieces. I need to keep growing in that area. With collage material, it’s something that I can put on that canvas and raise it up and change the dimension.”
Along with her move away from florals to more beachscapes and moonscapes, Troutman also incorporated smaller pieces of artwork into this particular exhibit.
“I worked on a lot of small things. One of the things that I wanted to do was not have any flowers at all. And I wanted to create some texture in the images. I’m not the flower lady anymore,” she said.
In addition, Troutman largely avoided brushstrokes in many of her new pieces, allowing instead for the paint to dribble and trickle onto the canvas, creating new streams and bands of vibrant color.
“I discovered a whole new line of paint. It could be called acrylic, but it could also be called “transparent glazes.” What happens is there’s things that start coming through. You can’t make that. You’ve got to pour it. So I’ve been pouring.”
By introducing different elements such as actual shells into her beachscapes, this particular set of art has more of a realistic feel - a feel that you can actually touch as well as see.
“I have a very good friend, and she and her husband walk a lot of the beaches in North Carolina,” she said. “She gave me a big bag of small shells that have never been broken. She gave me these, and I wanted to put them in a painting. And that led me to the moons. The moons have become a big thing for me. I’m a Cancer girl. The moons, we’ve got some pretty big, dramatic ones."
Guests at the art exhibit will be able to choose and purchase favored paintings at the time they see them. If one purchases a piece of artwork at the event, they can take it home that very night. The item will be replaced by another piece of Troutman’s artwork.