What’s behind the creative mind: Jill Lougheed

By Hannah Polinski

Celebrating the arts in Brome-Missisquoi

From her studio in West Bolton, painter Jill Lougheed uses vibrant colours to bring her inner world onto the forefront of her canvas. Her paintings take a creative approach to the self-portrait, showing us a subjective vision of the artist’s gaze.

Typically, Lougheed’s work has revolved around landscapes inspired by the Eastern Townships or realistic portraits of people, both friends and strangers. Her newer expressionist work differs from her past styles and is one that grew out of the time spent alone in her studio during the pandemic.

“I was doing a lot of portraits during that time of the elderly, people who were suffering the most in the early pandemic, then when I went out to my studio I just let loose,” she explains. “I use acrylic paints so I move very quickly and don’t often have a plan, so I’m coming from deep within.”

This series is her most personal and creative work, exploring the different aspects of herself as a woman and artist. While many may consider self-portraiture to be an idea that requires a realistic sense of portrayal, Lougheed revels in the expressiveness of her creations.

“The function of [the self-portrait] is to visualize what’s going on inside… Most art is a self-portrait, some aspect of it.”

Colours, patterns, tones, and compositions all combine on her canvases to present a portrayal of Lougheed’s state of mind and being. Being able to find this mental space and bring it to life is a skill that not all have mastered, one that is often subject to frustration; yet Lougheed rises to the challenge and finds herself quite pleased with the results.
Her use of vibrant colours to represent herself is influenced by her travels to places like India, Mexico, Cuba, and Thailand; countries which all make use of the full colour wheel in day-to-day life. Buildings and trucks are stray from the neutral colours of Canadian architecture, and daily life has a unique brilliancy from fashion choices to the bustle of markets.

Lougheed finds that viewers connect less with these modern paintings than they do her work in landscapes or classic portraiture, however. Landscapes are an easily accessible subject that many can relate to, drawing on the natural beauty of the world around us and the inspiration that is derived from there, particularly in the Townships. The approval of the audience is not something that she is seeking as an artist though, as she acknowledges that connection with artwork is something that often happens on the subconscious level.

“Sometimes [art] will just come alive to you and you don’t know why… If I keep looking back at it and I see something in it, that’s when I’ll judge whether I think it’s good or not.”
Lougheed splits her time between her studio and Montreal, where her expressionist works will be shown at the Old Brewery Mission. In 2022, she will be having a show at Arts Sutton in their members gallery. You can find more of Lougheed’s work on Instagram at @jm.lougheed.artist.

This project has been made possible by the Community Media Strategic Support Fund offered jointly by the Official Language Minority Community Media Consortium and the Government of Canada.

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