a varied palette
It's all in the details for artist Jill Avery

By Kim O'Brian, Food & Home Magazine

It's as hard to classify Jill Avery as a particular type of artist as it is to get her to boast about her incredible talents. She paints murals, transforms furniture, adapts famous works of art, and applies artistic finishes to just about any surface. Her portfolio ranges from detailed faux travertine marble columns to enchanting nursery murals of circuses and fairy tales, and from playrooms painted like pirate ships to portraits of famous musicians that line the walls of nightclubs and the Morninglory Music stores- with many other projects in between.
Avery, a native Californian, spent her elementary and high school years in Geneva, Switzerland, where she had a first-hand look at the antique finishes and European style she recreates today. She returned to the States to study Fine Arts at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and after graduation, set up shop in Santa Barbara where she was commissioned to paint a mural of Lake Como on an elegant Riviera interior garden wall. Word of mouth and a consistently exquisite works have provided Avery with a steady flow of clients ever since.
The one common element in Avery's eclectic body of work is the quality. "I put the same care into each project regardless of the style I am painting in," she states. "They say 'God is in the details,' so I just keep looking - I guess you could say I am a perfectionist."
Highly practiced techniques and a comprehensive knowledge of color theory have helped earn the artist a loyal network of clientele. One family flew her out to Hawaii and commissioned her to paint trompe l'oeil tiles over an entire wall of their kitchen, after the rare tiles they had used for the back-splash were no longer available. Avery had to match the design, colors and sheen of her painting with the original tiles and grout, and then precisely measure each square and the spaces in between in order to create a flawless illusion.
Avery enjoys the variety of her clients' requests and the architectural challenges inherent in mural painting that are seldom present when painting on canvas. "I know how to build upon a client's ideas and interpret their vision," Avery explains. "Of course, the more direction I get from a client the better. But sometimes it can be as vague as, 'I want this room to look bigger,' or, 'I want to feel like I am on vacation when I come home here.'" Whether providing color consultation or discussing a portrait design, Avery takes the time to get to know her clients throughout the process. The end result is a finished piece of art or a revitalized atmosphere that is exactly tailored to each individual's tastes and style.
Aside from working on her own projects, Avery enjoys sharing her love of art with others through teaching. She created the art program at Midland School in Los Olivos, and with the help of several enthusiastic students, transformed a lifeless and dilapidated barn into a studio full of colorful inspiration.
"I like to give people a positive shift in their lives," Avery says with an honest smile. "It's amazing what you can do with a little color and a new idea."

Jill Avery can be contacted at (805) 569-5606 or via e-mail at jillavery@hotmail.com

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