News


June 2017
Juror Barbara Jaenicki awarded my pastel painting “Little Meadows” the Second Place Prize at the Mountain Maryland Plein Air Festival.  juried artists from all over the country painted the counties around Cumberland, Maryland. The 2017 Festival was the 9th annual event sponsored by the Allegany Arts Council.

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April 2017
I was honored to again attend the Plein Air Convention as Faculty in 2017. The event is the largest gathering of Plein Air painters in the world, with over 900 artists and 60 demonstrators/field painters to teach and assist those interested in painting outdoors. This year’s five-day event was held in San Diego, California.

January 2017
My painting, “Moment” was awarded Best Pastel in the December 2016/January 2017 Plein Air Salon sponsored by  Plein Air Magazine. The international competition was juried by Jean Stern, the Executive Director of the Irvine Museum, which is dedicated to the preservation and display of California Impressionist art.

October 2016
Editor Stephen Doherty chose my pastel painting, “Big Rock Point 6,” for the cover image on the October/November issue of Plein Air Magazine. No words to describe my gratitude for such a fantastic opportunity.

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October 2016
Juror Lyn Asselta, PSA IAPS MC gave my painting “After the Snow” the First Place Award at the Pastel Society of North Florida National Exhibition. And the icing on the cake? The piece was purchased my a Master Pastelist that I really respect. A winter snow scene at a Florida show…go figure!

October 2016
For the first time in Lake Seneca Plein Air Festival’s history, there was a tie for the coveted Artists’ Choice Award. I am so proud that my peers chose my oil landscape, “Havens Corners,” and was happy to share the award with fellow painter Kari Ganoung Ruiz!

August 2016
“Mill Pond Bridge,” an oil waterscape painting, won the First Place Award at the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival. This is my fourth year at this event and I’m honored to have been selected for one of the major awards each year.

July 2016
My oil landscape, “South of Frankenmuth” was awarded an honorable mention in the Great Lakes En Plein Air Festival, and “Zac’s Kandy Haus” won the Quick Draw First Place Award.

May 2016
The Wayne Plein Air Festival near Philadelphia, PA, was one of the largest, well-attended events that I have participated in. I was excited just to be juried into the festival and when my painting “Osteria” won the Golden Artist Colors Award, I was over the moon!

May 2016
The Great Lakes Pastel Societys National Exhibit was held in Holland, Michigan this year. A Bi-Annual event, this competition attracts entries from pastel artists from around the country. I was honored that my painting “After the Snow” was given the Great American Art Works Award–which included my choice of 78 of their luscious pastels!

April 2016
My painting “Arancia” was given an honorable Mention Award in the Pastel 100 Competition. Accomplished artist Robert K. Carsten juried the piece into the Still Life/Floral Category and it appeared in the April edition of Pastel Journal Magazine. This is my sixth acceptance into this prestigious exhibit.

March-April 2016
Artist of the Month: Jill Stefani Wagner  “Our Town, Our Land – Painting Saline”

Jill, a Saline resident, is a nationally recognized, award-winning artist who works in both pastel and oil. And she LOVES to paint our local surroundings. Over the years she has created hundreds of studio and plein air paintings depicting our downtown and nearby farmlands. Wagner’s primary focus is always “the light” and how it affects the scene she is trying to capture. She approaches her paintings as a sculptor would, carving out nuances of highlight and shadow. Come by 212 and celebrate our little slice of heaven in Saline!
Artist’s Reception: Friday, March 4, 7-9pm (Closed Sunday) Location: Two Twelve Arts Center

November 2015
I am so pleased to announce that I am now represented by J. Petter Galleries in Douglas, Michigan. I’ve always loved this gallery and was honored to be invited to join their fine stable of artists. Petter Art Gallery, a unique 12,000 sq. ft. gallery first housed area artists in the 1930s and was reintroduced as the Joyce Petter Gallery in 1993. The Petter Art Gallery features fine paintings, sculpture, glass, and more. The Gallery also is home to Petter Wine Gallery where you’ll find boutique wines and artful foods. The Wine Bar/Shop is also known for its private collection of unique cheeses and hand poured chocolates. And Yes! You may stroll the gallery with a glass of wine or handcrafted beer or cider.

October 2015
I visited the beautiful Finger Lakes region in the fall to participate in the Seneca Lake Plein Air Painting Festival. I loved the area and was honored to win the First Place Prize for my painting, “South on Bentley.”

September 2015
My painting, “Rogers Farm 3” won the Pastel Society of Canada President’s Award at the Pastel Society of America‘s 43rd Annual Exhibition in New York City. With this honor, my third award in their presitgious competition, I was designated a Master Pastelist, one of only a few hundred in the world.

August 2015
I participated in the third annual Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival, August 17-22. I was honored to receive the Quick Draw First Prize Award for my painting “Dexter Time.” Over 70 artists congregated to paint Dexter, Michigan and the surrounding countryside.

April 2015
My pastel pieces, “Orchard 6” and “Orchard 7,” were juried into the prestigious 2015 IAPS Pastelworld Exhibition in Alburquerque, New Mexico. The paintings will exhibited in conjuction with the International Association of Pastel Societies Convention in June, 2015.

April 2015
My oil painting, “Sunday Brunch,” was given the First Place Award at the Ann Arbor Women Artists Spring Exhibit at the Mallets Creek Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The painting is one of the first in a new series depicting interiors infused with light.

January 2015
I’m proud to announce that the Ann Arbor Art Center will be representing some of my work! As one of the oldest arts organization in Michigan, the Ann Arbor Art Center strives to engage the community in visual arts by offering:

  • Studio art and art appreciation courses
  • Monthly public exhibitions
  • A Gallery Shop promoting regional artists
  • Outreach programs funding art education for children
  • Special events such as Paint the Town, Sundays @ the Art Center, Artini, 30 x 30 Art Sale and more!

August 2014
I was honored, for the second consecutive year, with the First Place Award in the Dexter Plein Air Festival. International artist and juror, Kenneth Cadwallader,singled out my oil painting “Dexter Midday.” Over 70 artists from around the USA and Canada painted for five days in downtown Dexter, Michigan and the surrounding countryside.

August 2014
My oil painting “Rob’s Gaze,” has been selected as a finalist in the Portraits/Figures category of The Artist’s Magazine 31st Annual Art Competition, December 2014 issue. The painting was recently juried into the Ann Arbor Women Artists Summer Exhibit.

August 2014
My pastel painting of Cafe Zola was featured on the cover of the August 2014 Ann Arbor Observer. You can see the magazine here.

April 2014
Two of my pastel landscape paintings were juried into the 2013 Pastel Journal’s Pastel 100 show. You can see the spread on which my pieces were featured in the April 2014 issue of the magazine here. This is the second time my work has been included in this national competition.

April 2014
Juror Desmond O’Hagan juried my pastel painting “Water Reflections 9” into 2014 Great Lakes Pastel Society National Exhibit in Traverse City Michigan. The Dennos Museum Center will host the exhibition from April 13- May 25, 2014. I will also be giving a program lecture on business practices at the GLPS Biennial Convention on Saturday, May 17th in Traverse City.

April 2014
My large pastel paintings of Tuscany will be included in the exhibit “Terra Nova…Landscapes”
Curators: Barb Williams, Fran Wolok and Nora Venturelli
Artists strive for new ground, exploring the familiar and not-so-familiar in search of ways to expand themselves and their bodies of work. TERRA NOVA at the Power Center for the Performing Arts (4/2/14 – 5/19/14) charts the discoveries of 13 mid-career artists in 55 works, including drawings, fibers, paintings and photography. All work is available for purchase and offered commission free.

November 2013
I was honored to be awarded 3 large commissions from First Martin Corporation to commemorate the Ann Arbor Area. About 30 of the 45 commissions were featured in an exhibit at the Ann Arbor Art Association. You can read the article about the show, which includes thoughts about my process, here.

November 2013
After 5 months of painting assigned Legacy Land Conservancy areas, a beautiful exhibition was held to celebrate the land and raise money to preserve it. One of my paintings won an honorable mention, and another was deemed a “superior artwork” by art critic John Cantu in a recent newspaper review. You can read the article here.

August 2013
I spent 5 wonderful days in August painting the town and farms of our area in the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival. My painting, “Dexter Fields,”  took home the First Place and a $750 Cash Prize in the first annual event.

August 2013
My painting “Lodi Creek 2” was accepted into the 41st Pastel Society of America Exhibition in New York City and won the Pastel Society of the Southwest award. It will be displayed with the other 179 accepted pieces from September 3-28. There were over 1000 entries this year. This is my third (consecutive!) pastel painting to be juried into the prestigious exhibit and has earned me Signature Membership Status in the largest and oldest pastel organization in America.

July 2013
Juror Michael Chelsey Johnson accepted my painting “Field Palms” into the Great Lakes Pastel Society Members Show. The exhibit will be held at the Novi Civic Center in Novi, Michigan from August 2 through September 25, 2013.

June 2013
In the freezing months of winter in Michigan, I wrote an article about summer plein air painting in my hometown for the Saline Life magazine. The new local publication had requested community contributions, so I thought “what the heck, I’ll give it a try.” I sent along some photos and then promptly forgot about it. Imagine my surprise when the June 2013 issue came out with me on the cover and a nice spread about my art musings! The article also appeared in other affiliated local publications. You can read the article here.

May 2013
I was honored to be included in the new book Dare to Dream by Urania Christy Tarbet. Urania is the Founder and Past President of the International Association of Pastel Societies. My pastel story and artworks are highlighted along with many other talented pastel artists. The article can be read here.

February 2013
I was chosen as a participating artist for the 2013 Legacy of Land Through Art in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Legacy Land Conservancy, in association with the University of Michigan, Matthei Botanical Gardens, and the Nichols Arboretum will be hosting a mixed-media, juried art exhibition  in 2013 and 2014, with proceeds helping to preserve land in the area.

November 2012
Juror Richard McKinley awarded my pastel painting “Winter Palms” the Airfloat Award at the The Pastel Society of North Florida National Show at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville Florida.

October 2012
Juror Sally Strand awarded my pastel painting “Orchard 5” the Terry Ludwig Award at the The Great Lakes Pastel Society National Show. It can be seen at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts from October 5, 2012 – January 8, 2013

September 2012
I attended Terri Ford‘s pastel workshop in Monterey, California, through a scholarship that was awarded me by the International Association of Pastel Societies.

September 2012
My pastel painting “Janet” was accepted into the The 40th Annual Pastel Society of America Exhibition in New York City. It will be shown at the National Arts Club from September 4th – September 28th, 2012.

August 2012
Juror Maggie Price included 3 of my pastel paintings in the 20th Juried Exhibition of the International Association of Pastel Societies in Brea, California. “Cambier Park”, “The Way Home”, and “French Maiden” are on exhibit at the Brea Gallery August 4- September 14, 2012

August 2012
The editor of Pratique des Arts emailed me and requested the use of some of my skyscape paintings for an August article titled “Les Yeux au Ciel” (“Eyes to the Sky”). From what I can tell (I actually do read a bit of French) it is a really nice piece with eight artists featured from all over the world, each painting in a different medium and with a different vision. I was really honored to be included! You can read my part of the article here.

August 2012
My paintings of Italy were included in and article about art inspired by travel in the the August 2012 Pastel Journal Magazine. The piece discusses how 4 artists work in foriegn places to create their art. You can read my part of the article about pastel paintings and travel here.

May 2012
I was honored to be chosen as one of Fine Art Connoisseur‘s “Today’s Masters” in their May/June 2012 issue. I love this magazine, one of the preeminent art collecting magazines in the world. It was especially wonderful to share the honor with my friend, Nora Venturelli!
Read the article here.

November 2011
“Faraway Places: history, objects, spirit & spaces” Watercolor and Pastel Paintings of Italy by Jill Stefani Wagner
November 5th – December 18th, 2001
Reception: November 5th, 5-8pm
River Gallery
120 S. Main St., Chelsea MI

August 2011
Orchard 1 given the Art Times Award at the Pastel Society of America Show in New York City!
Pastel Society of America 39th Annual Juried Exhibition
September 6 – October 1, 2011
The National Arts Club
New York City, New York

March 2011
3rd Place Prize at the Ann Arbor Women Artists 2011 Exhibit for “Everglade Morning”
Juror comments:
”Beautiful, unlike the 1st and 2nd place paintings, there was no great mystery or narrative to unfold or spatial conundrums to consider. It is just visually complex and pleasing at the same time. The craft and skill with the material is exceptional displaying a sophistication of layered marks and complex color and value.The use of perspective and space is unquestionable in its intent, but still the work seemed to leave me wanting more from it. I found myself going back to it more as a maker than a critic, how was it created, what colors did they use and in what order. Was it the contrast of lights and darks with in the high chroma pigment that created the light or was it the subtle layers of multiple strokes? But the real question was how could I get to that place. I wanted to be in the image. It made me want to be in the space.”

March 2011
Great Lakes Pastel Society’s Member Show

Carnegie Center, Three Rivers, Michigan

February 2011
Awarded 2011 International Association of Pastel Societies Scholarship to study under Instructor and Master Pastelist, Terri Ford

November 2010
Exceptional Award of Merit for “Everglade Morning”
Pastel Society of North Florida National Exhibition
Northwest Florida State College, Niceville, Florida

April 2009
My first national magazine coverage! The Annual Pastel Journal 100 Competition awarded 2 of my paintings, Abundance and Tuscan Bouquet, Honorable Mentions in their April 2009 edition. You can see the spread with the Still Life and Floral Category Honorable Mentions here.

April 2008
3rd Place Award for “Waiting Room”
Celebrating the Female Figure
Daisy Lake Gallery, Dexter, Michigan

December 2007
Best of Show Award
for “Winter Woods”
Ann Arbor Women Artists Fall Exhibition
University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor, Michigan

July 2007
Michigan’s St. Joseph Mercy Hospital buys 10 RiverStone paintings as main lobby art for their new Surgery Building!

June 2007
Michigan Water Color Society 60th Annual Exhibition
Painting chosen for Traveling Show
Patrich Auditorium, Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

April 2007
“Recent Pastels
River Gallery Featured Artist Solo Exhibit
River Gallery, Chelsea, Michigan
www.chelsearivergallery.com

May 2007
“Painting Tuscany – Watercolors”
Solo show at Pfizer Headquarters, Ann Arbor, Michigan

May 2006
Great Lakes Pastel Society 2006 National Show

Juried by Elizabeth Mowry
Midland Center for the Arts, Midland, Michigan

June 2006
Michigan Water Color Society 59th Annual Exhibition

Painting chosen for Traveling Show
Studio 23, Bay City, Michigan

June 2006
“Tuscan Days- Recent Watercolors of Italy”
Solo show at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor Michigan

Wagner Captures Tuscan landscapes But Masterwork is a Watercolor Portrait
Sunday, July 2, 2006
By John Carlos Cantu
Ann Arbor News Special Writer

It’s one thing for an artist to visually capture her surroundings, but it’s quite another for her to imbue them with immediacy. Jill Stefani Wagner’s “Tuscan Days” at the University of Michigan Hospital does this by vividly illustrating the lush landscapes and rich architecture of Northern Italy.

Offering up 41 watercolor paintings, Wagner’s autumnal Italian adventures favor off-the-beaten-path locales that only a dedicated traveler might uncover. Wagner’s “Tuscan Days” show us a devotee colorfully conveying her enthusiasm.

Among the locales Wagner illustrates are Barberino Val d’Elsa, Florence, Lucca, Petrignano, Pienza, Siena and Tignano. Wagner’s travels carry her from the wooded hills of the Mugello to Renaissance sites of Florence to the vineyards of Marcella.

This is a lot of richness to paint. And perhaps what’s most interesting in “Tuscan Days” is how quickly the scenery changes at harvest. The artworks focus predominantly on Tuscany’s countryside, but she also pays care attention to marketplaces and restaurants, statuary and architectural facades, as well as vineyards and florals that make up this wonderful country. The final watercolor in the display is a portrait.

One of Wagner’s strengths as a painter is her knack for choosing the form that suits her subject matter. Her landscapes tend to be dashed off with a vigor that captures the scenery that’s inspired her. By contrast, her architectural studies tend to be more deliberate as she opts to focus on the man-made features that gain her attention.

“Castellina in Chianti” neatly fits this first strategy. A wide-angled view of a Tuscan countryside in autumn, three-quarters of the painting is geometrically abstract brown fields covering the composition’s expanse. Wagner breaks the pattern, however, with a strategically placed series of parallel vertical pines on both sides of a drive leading to the Castellina estate. A quickly execute watercolor, “Castellina in Chianti” uses its distant architectural setting to supplement this fertile farmland.

By contrast, “Tuscan Valley” gives us a bravura sense of Wagner’s forte. Using a complex seven planes of perspective to lead the viewer’s eye through a handsome Italian hillside, this painting is anchored by a foreground pine tree whose verdant green contrasts nicely with a series of diagonal plowed fields. A midfield stand of trees and the painting’s horizon cast a tantalizing glimpse into the furthest reaches of the countryside.

Ironically, the exhibit’s masterwork is neither a landscape nor architectural facade – “Cecily’s Siesta” is instead a keen psychology. Wagner’s watercolor portrait of a friend sitting at a ristorante table is analogous to her architectural studies in that she creates a composition whose details provide the work with its emotional depth. Yet the watercolor washes that predominate her landscapes also give this work its moody atmosphere. Looking pensively at the viewer, with her left hand pressed gently against her cheek, “Cecily’s Siesta” is an intimate revelation of character.

“Tuscan Days: Recent Watercolors of Italy by Jill Stefani Wagner” will continue through August 16 at the University of Michigan Hospital Taubman Lobby, North Floor 1 Gifts of Art Gallery, 1500 East Medical Center Drive. Gallery hours are 8am-8pm daily. For information, call 734-936-ARTS.

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