Jean Pollock’s Favorite Places

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Article Published: Sep. 26, 2013 | Modified: Sep. 26, 2013
Jean Pollock’s Favorite Places

'West Jefferson Farm' by Jean Pollock

Nationally acclaimed artist Jean Pollock offered some words on her inspiration.

“I just gotta paint!” she exclaimed.

The results of such painterly passion will be unveiled this Saturday, Sept. 28, at the opening reception for her new show at Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis.

Pollock will be at the gallery from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to greet the public and show 15 new oils from a body of work, titled “My Favorite Places.” The show will hang at Alta Vista through mid-October.

As an impressionist oil painter chiefly influenced by Claude Monet’s work, Pollock strives to capture a moment in time.

“A scene will hit me, and I just have to paint it,” she said. “I’m so excited about it that I have to get to a canvas immediately to capture that scene and convey to others what struck me.

“This is my means of expression. I love nature, and I love landscapes, so I simply have to express how I feel about the beauty that God has created. I want the viewers of my work to feel the awe and excitement that I feel when I see beauty in nature. I want them to feel like they’d like to live with this image forever.”

Pollock, who has been painting for 60 years, has traveled the world, but many of her favorite places are right here in the High Country. Therefore, her new show includes paintings of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Bass Lake in Blowing Rock, mountain farms and flowers, a waterfall and Julian Price Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“All of these new paintings depict scenic places that everyone loves,” Pollock said. “Like many travelers, I take a lot of photos, because I like to have a visual record of where I’ve been — and a reference, so that later, at home in my studio, I can create paintings based on the photos. I stand in front of the canvas, and I say, ‘I am there,’ as I’m painting the scene.

“The places that I love, I like to share with people. An artist paints best what is familiar, so I often paint the beech trees near my home. 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. Everything changes over time. I’ll paint a certain tree, and the next time I paint that tree, it looks totally different.

“I feel that artists should paint what they know and love, and what I know and love is the mountains and also gardens of all types — but especially flower gardens with dahlias, irises and day-lilies, because my mother hybridized these and shipped them all over the country, so these flowers are especially dear to me.”

Alta Vista Gallery owner Maria Santomasso-Hyde said, “Pollock has been an artist in my gallery for 13 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.”
Pollock’s show will include a variety of sizes of oil paintings, with some as small as six- by eight-inches and other sizes up to 24- by 30-inches.

“Collectors of Pollock’s work own many paintings, so Jean wanted to offer some paintings that are small enough to place on a shelf or a tabletop, on an easel or to easily find a spot to hang it,” Hyde said.

Nationwide, individual buyers of Pollock’s work are joined by corporate collectors. Several large banks and corporations own oils by Pollock, such as Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Sara Lee Corp. and R.J. Reynolds.

The artist reception is a part of the monthly 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 October.

On Oct. 26, Alta Vista Gallery will host an opening reception for Amos Westmoreland, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As the gallery’s newest artist, it’s fitting that Westmoreland will be at the gallery to celebrate its 23rd anniversary, Hyde said.

Westmoreland will show 12 new oils in his very loose, gestural, impressionist style, with a theme of “Autumn in the High Country.”

Alta Vista Gallery also shows more than 100 other artists in various mediums, including oil, watercolor, pastels, 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 or on Facebook or call the gallery at (828) 963-5247.

Gallery Times

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

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

Additional Images

'West Jefferson Farm' by Jean Pollock

'Cornstalks and Pumpkins' by Jean Pollock

'Hay Bales' by Jean Pollock

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