Artistically Speaking, The Lake Front Magazine, May 2014

Images of Appreciation: Solo Exhibit by Jillian Mazur

- Submitted by the Garrett County Arts Council

Valuing the beauty of life is Jillian Mazur’s message in “Images of Appreciation,” the current solo exhibit of her paintings on display in the Backroom Gallery of The Gallery Shop in Oakland, Maryland. “Beautiful scenery, happy memories, and my niece and three nephews inspire me. My landscape paintings are pieced together from snapshots I've taken through town and driving on long trips. My still-life paintings are often arrangements of objects or flowers with particular meaning or connection to loved ones.  My portraits and scenes of everyday life feature the innocence and beauty of childhood, which my niece and nephews share with me every time they visit.”     

Since her early childhood, art has been Jillian’s primary means of releasing her imagination and communicating her ideas and feelings. “My mother tells the story of my four-year-old hands running a pencil across a page in two quick dashes. I had created a reflection in a window, an indication that the window panes were made of glass. It was important to me that she understood the details of the building I held in my mind. I needed her to understand in a way that my four-year-old words could not adequately express.” 

These days, Jillian’s work reflects tangible scenes and objects, rather than creations from her imagination. When describing her work, she stated, “With every painting, I strive for a clean, crispness in my colors and forms, and a painterly touch of the brush. Both aspects combine for a more modern interpretation of my subject matter.” Frequent subjects include contemporary interpretations of landscapes, portraits, still-life tableaus, and scenes of everyday life.

Similar to her childhood drawings, Jillian’s current work reveals her perceptions and emotions. “By appropriating scenes, faces, and objects from my world, I invite my audience to see how I see, and feel how I feel. Like most artists, I simply aim to capture what I think is beautiful in this world and share it.” Additionally, Jillian continues to hone her understanding of color and challenge herself to create more texture with paint application.  

Over the years, Jillian has been blessed with many mentors, who have encouraged and inspired her artistic endeavors, especially her family and teachers. “My elementary and high school art teachers, Mrs. Brubaker, Mrs. Graf and Mrs. DeJohn, challenged me with extra art projects when I finished my class assignments early. My middle and high school teachers Mrs. Graf and DeJohn even commissioned some of my first portraits and paintings.”

Jillian’s mother, Grandmother and Grandfather also played key roles in her artistic development. “None of them were artists themselves, but all three were huge supporters in all my artistic endeavors. They were always finding new ways to provide me with the space and materials to paint. From building easels with PVC pipe, supplying me with paint and brushes that once belonged to my great-grandmother, to allowing me to turn the family living spaces into temporary studios and teaching me how to stretch my own canvases.”  Jillian remembers her grandpa excitedly laying out a huge roll of canvas over the kitchen table and giving her first lesson on stretching canvas. “My grandpa was a carpenter and carpet installer, not an artist. He taught himself how to do this and then taught me.” 

Jillian’s formal arts training includes a degree in fine arts and education at West Virginia University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a pre-K-12 teaching certificate in 2008.  She also spent a semester abroad at the University of Hertfordshire in Hertfordshire, England, where she expanded her artistic repertoire by learning the basics of fine jewelry making, glass work and mixed media.

 An artist, teacher and entrepreneur, Jillian opened her first private art studio and school, J.F. Mazur Fine Art Studio, in Oakland, Maryland, during the summer of 2011. She specializes in children's classes, private lessons, and commissioned art work. Since that time, Jillian has produced a number of commissioned paintings and drawings for clients throughout the United States. Her studio currently offers seven different classes ranging from Mommy and Me Art for preschooler, to Beginners Oil Painting for adults.

Jillian’s exhibit, Images of Appreciation, is on display through June 6th at The Gallery Shop, 206 E. Alder Street, Oakland, Maryland and the works are available for purchase.  Please, join us at a reception to honor her and her work from 5-7 pm on Saturday, May 3rd. For more information or to become a supporting member of the arts throughout Garrett County, contact the Garrett County Arts Council at 301-334-6580 or visit