I aim for realism with a painterly twist allowing the rich hues and textures of a scene to dominate.
Wagner’s subjects are varied, ranging from country landscapes to inner city architecture, formal portraits to casual nudes. She loves to travel and sometimes work from photos taken on the road, but when weather permits, her first choice is always to paint outdoors (en plein air), especially in her beloved Italy.
The consistent theme is light and shadow. How does sunlight play on an old building? What happens to the folds of material on a dress when light cascades across it? Do leaves on a tree appear differently at various times of day? How is color affected when ambient light changes?
Oil and pastel are exhilarating mediums that lead to endless adventures… and sometimes she is just happy to follow their lead.
Jill Stefani Wagner was born in Port Huron, Michigan. She received a B.F.A. from The University of Michigan School of Art and was the owner and creative director of a successful advertising and graphic design firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before "seeing the light," and becoming a full-time artist.
Watercolor is a very fresh, intuitive process that involves layering water-based paint on paper. You start with your lightest washes and build successively darker with each pass, leaving the white of the paper showing through for your brightest highlights. There’s no turning back once you’ve made a design or color commitment and I must admit, I throw away more pieces than I keep. But every once in a while, you have an inspired moment where you create exactly the effect you wanted – or even more exciting, you produce something that veers from your original idea and exceeds your expectations!
Pastel art, the polar opposite of watercolor. This opaque, dry medium uses strong unadulterated color. It is painting with pure pigment. Starting with dark and medium colors first and slowly build to bright highlights with lighter pastels. A more forgiving medium that allows for changes of color and form. Jill is constantly learning new skills and techniques.
Jill’s newest endeavor in oil painting is an extension of her pastel process. Starting with a dark sienna underpainting and work her way forward, bringing color and light into the composition.
Jill uses water solvent oils, which look identical to traditional oils, but do not need toxic solvents. Painting en plein in oil is (again) challenging, but absolute heaven when it clicks!
Jill is a professional artist, based in Michigan, and and loves the simple joy of layering pigment on paper and canvas.
Jill Stefani Wagner’s watercolor and pastel paintings have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and are included in various corporate and private collections.
ONe of Jill's paintings graces the cover of the November 2016 Plein Air Magazine Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine highlighted her work in and article titled "Today's Masters, Artists Making Their Mark," and Pastel Journal has given her 6 Honorable Mention Awards in their Pastel 100 Competions as well as including her paintings in multiple articles. Recently, the best-selling French magazine, Practiques des Arts, featured her in a "Skyscapes" article. Ms Wagner is a Master Pastelist in the Pastel Society of America and has Master Circle Status in the IAPS. She is a member of the Great Lakes Pastel Society, Degas Pastel Society, Oil Painters of America and American Impressionist Society. In 2016 and 2017 Jill was invited faculty at the Plein Air Convention sponsored by Plein Air Magazine. She has been named a Master Pastelist by the Pastel Society of America, and belongs to the Michigan WaterColor Society, Great Lakes Pastel Society, Ann Arbor Women Artists and Ann Arbor Area Pastelists.