Choreography in color

You know the feeling….  you walk into a gallery and are drawn to a work of art. It’s as if a string is attached, pulling you toward the wall in it’s direction. You can’t help yourself, you are drawn in, compelled to study it.

Where I begin by Jill Caldwell  30x30

Where I begin by Jill Caldwell 30×30

I love abstract art in all mediums. I connect with it. I appreciate it. But sometimes I really get excited about a piece. I fell in love with Jill Caldwell‘s work at Art Space gallery, being drawn in as described to one of her abstract landscapes. I immediately went online to view her body of work and contacted her for an interview. When I walked into her home and saw several paintings in their intended environment, that’s where the excitement came into play!

Accidental Namesake by JIll Caldwell 30x30

Accidental Namesake by JIll Caldwell 30×30

It’s so amazing how art work comes alive when hung on a wall. The image on a computer never quite makes it, no matter how good the photography is. Jill’s home is furnished with  both contemporary and traditional elements. A view of the sea is just beyond large picture windows. It demonstrated that one does not need a city loft to display abstract art. It is completely at home among antiques and portraiture.

Antiques and abstract art, painting by Jill Caldwell

Antiques and abstract art, painting by Jill Caldwell

As we walked down the stairs to her basement studio, I imagined late night painting sessions, paint brushes flinging, music blaring. We stood and talked about her process. I was trying to find words to describe my emotional response. Movement, interactivity, dance, were thoughts that came to mind. I experienced interplay of color and line, a strong feeling of movement through time. But her words describe it much better than I can.

Rockland Studio, Jill Caldwell

Rockland Studio, Jill Caldwell

“My paintings are non-representational explosions of color. The challenge is to find the balance between the boldness of colorful shapes and the subtlety of multiple layers. My subject matter springs from the emotional rather than the physical. It’s a feeling, a thought, a spark of energy. The world of melancholy: love, loss, desire…..the usual characters in the fabric of life.”~Jill Caldwell

Studio, Jill Caldwell

Studio, Jill Caldwell

We sat and took in a large image on the wall, almost complete.  I was intrigued by her use of dark against light, cool against warm and yet each element cooperated. Diversity yet harmony, what a delightful concept!

Between You and Me by Jill Caldwell 24x24

Between You and Me by Jill Caldwell 24×24

“The layering of paint and materials is also about the passage of time. The layers of things that build up over time, like life experiences, like relationships built  between people. All these moments of time and experience add up to who we are. Generally, every day experiences are ordinary, but still each one adds to the next and together they create a lifetime. Similarly, I capture moments of color to create a painting.”~Jill Caldwell

Beyond Light by Jill Caldwell 24x24

Beyond Light by Jill Caldwell 24×24

Passage by Jill Caldwell 18x18

Passage by Jill Caldwell 18×18

Far Away, Close by Jill Caldwell 30x30

Far Away, Close by Jill Caldwell 30×30

Jill creates small works of art 12″ square to larger more substantial pieces. She works with water based paint; acrylic, interior house paint which is often infused with graphite, cray-pas and ink. For a portfolio of her work see her website here.

Process, Jill Caldwell studio

Process, Jill Caldwell studio

Jill Caldwell is one of the featured artists at Art Space Gallery this month. Reception coincides with first Friday Artwalk in Rockland on August 1st, 5-8pm.




Karen Olson

About Karen Olson

Karen Olson is a photographer, writer, and artist working in metal. Her blogs offer a global perspective, a celebration of art and culture. She 'lives like a tourist' in Midcoast Maine where she makes her home and finds inspiration for art and life in her travels. Follow her creative passion with Renuko Style at and Coastal Collage, a Bangor Daily News Blog at Karen's photography portfolio can be found at