Honor thy nature -- with paint - The South End: Arts & Entertainment

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Honor thy nature -- with paint

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Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 11:13 am, Fri Apr 5, 2013.

Traveling has always been an influential part of people’s lives. The experience of seeing something new has a way of leaving an impact.

Jill Nienhuis, a Wayne State senior painter and sculptor, is inspired by nature and from the scenery she photographs while camping during the summer at national parks throughout the country.

She photographs a scene in nature, whether it is a couple of lizards or her boyfriend walking through Ozark National Forest in Arkansas, and paints what she sees. Sometimes elements such as lens flare from the camera make it into her pieces as a result.

“I feel like I’m honoring nature by presenting it in my paintings,” she said.

A lot of her work highlights issues in the natural world like overpopulation and conservation.

She likes to use oil paints and layers the canvas with multiple coats. She has numerous pieces on display at the Art Department Gallery’s Undergraduate Exhibition that runs through May 13. It was announced at the gallery’s opening reception April 15 that she won the $800 Brian Gahagan Scholarship.

Nienhuis, 31, has two classes left after this semester to get her bachelor’s. Nearly all of her time is spent in the studio while she isn’t working and while she has a double concentration in painting and ceramics, she said she prefers to paint.

“I feel like I can express myself better in (a) two-dimensional (way),” she said. “I really like to draw, and painting seemed to be a natural progression.”

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