Jean Pollock turns travels into art

Article Published: Sep. 20, 2012 | Modified: Sep. 20, 2012
Jean Pollock turns travels into art

‘Bass Lake Autumn’ by Jean Pollock

Turning travels into paintings is a specialty of nationally acclaimed artist E. Jean Pollock, who has created a new body of work, “My Favorite Places,” showing at Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis through mid-October.

Pollock will greet customers at an opening reception Saturday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
An Impressionist oil painter, Pollock, who has been painting for 60 years, has traveled the world, but many of her favorite places depicted in these new paintings are right here in the High Country: Blue Ridge Parkway bridges and overlooks, a waterfall in Blowing Rock, an orchard and Julian Price Park.

“All these new paintings depict scenic places that everyone loves,” Pollock said. “Like a lot of travelers, I take many photos on my trips, because I like to have a visual record of where I’ve been – and then later at home in my studio, I create paintings based on the photos. The places that I love, I like to share with people.”

Other scenes in the new show include St. Mark’s in Venice, Italy, the Grand Canyon, the Beech trees near her home, Duke Gardens in Durham, the Grand Tetons, Mt. McKinley and, of course, Monet’s Garden in France, which is a mecca for Pollock and her painter friends. She has visited both France and Italy three times, and the photos from these trips have yielded a wealth of paintings.

Every Pollock painting has a story, and the paintings from her travels have some of the best. Pollock said that on one of her painting trips to France, her group made advance reservations to paint in Monet’s Garden. Since she had to work hard to accomplish as much as possible during that brief time in the garden, Pollock ignored an American woman who came up to her easel and complimented her work.

Later, Pollock’s friend asked, “What did Julia Roberts say to you?” Pollock replied, “I never saw Julia Roberts,” to which the friend replied, “You were talking to her for 30 minutes!” Moral of the story: Make eye contact, and you might sell your painting to a famous actress!

Pollock also loves to tell stories about her trips out West, especially the many camping trips with her children to Mt. McKinley in Alaska. She also loves to tell about planting her orchard 20 years ago – and she’s still planting cherry trees, even at 84 years old.

“I love trees of all types, and I love to paint them over and over, just like Claude Monet often painted the same scene many times,” Pollock said. “Everything changes over time. I’ll paint a certain tree, and the next time I paint that tree, it looks totally different. An artist paints best what is familiar, so I often paint the beech trees near my home.”

Alta Vista Gallery owner Maria Santomasso-Hyde said, “Pollock has created 14 new oils for this show. She has been an artist in my gallery for 12 years, and she is always one of my best-selling artists, so I know her show will be very popular. Last year, we sold 10 of her paintings during the opening reception. People enjoy her use of so many colors in every painting. They also like that her work is a balance between Impressionism and realism. And they love meeting her. Jean Pollock is delightful – and quite a storyteller!”

Nationwide, individual buyers of Pollock’s work are joined by corporate collectors. Several large banks and corporations own oils by Pollock.

Pollock’s show will include a variety of sizes of oil paintings, with many of them as small as 8 by 10 inches or 9 by 12 inches. “Collectors of Pollock’s work own many paintings, so Jean wanted them to be able to get something small enough to put on an easel, or to easily find a spot to hang it,” Hyde said.

The Sept. 22 artist reception is a part of the monthly Avery Tour de Art, which showcases 14 galleries and studios. Maps of the tour are available at Alta Vista and at each stop on the tour. The event is held on the fourth Saturday of each month, June through November.

Alta Vista Gallery’s Oct. 27 event will be a group show, featuring paintings that depict autumn. The opening receptions include refreshments and wine-tasting from Shelton Vineyards.

Alta Vista Gallery also shows more than 100 other artists in various mediums, including oil, watercolor, prints, handmade jewelry, stained glass, fused glass, art tiles and Mangum pottery.

Alta Vista is located in a National Register of Historic Places farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis. For a map and directions, visit and, or call (828) 963-5247.

Gallery Times

Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of The Mountain Times, featuring short news items submitted by local galleries.

For more information or to make a submission, contact editor Frank Ruggiero at ( or (828) 264-6397.

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