When James Postill was told by his employer to stay home for two weeks in March due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Vernon artist viewed the short hiatus as a gift.
“Time has been a precious thing,” Postill said Saturday, May 2 as he and Nadine Wilson, owner of Nadine’s Fine Art and Frames, arranged his work on the walls of the Vernon gallery.
Postill is the gallery’s feature artist for the month of May. While some of the works now on display were produced in those two short weeks of self-isolation, their inspiration dates back to his first forays into painting in 2009.
“I was out field-sketching one day and it was raining out and I was in the car, just sitting and looking for ideas, and it just kind of came in a flash,” he said. I was looking through the glass of the windshield and suddenly saw everything in a new way.”
Postill uses oil and acrylic paint with an airbrush technique to create portraits of cars and local scenery, abstracted by water-like patterns, as if seen through rain-spattered glass.
“I never would have thought that I’d be an abstract artist, and this series for me has just been a way of bridging those two, representational and abstract, together,” Postill said.
“I’m really in love with the process of airbrush because I feel like I can put things quickly down onto a surface that would normally take three times as long to do with a brush, so there’s a real advantage to seeing an idea come out right away.”
Postill’s work is in part an expression of the comfort a car can offer amid stormy weather—a timely expression as people hunker down at home amid unprecedented times.
“It’s a cozy feeling, a sort of protected feeling of being in your own bubble,” he said. “We’ve all sat at a stop light, contemplating and feeling those kinds of feelings.”
Postill still applies Wilson’s teachings from around the time her gallery opened in 2005.
“I remember she gave me some lessons here when I came back into town, and I still use those techniques,” he said.
Under non-pandemic circumstances Wilson holds an open house upon showcasing an artist’s work, inviting the public and members of the local art community.
This month, with social distancing measures in place, Wilson turned to technology to give viewers a taste of the gallery’s new look, posting a video to Facebook.
Nadine’s Fine Art and Frames is now open to the public, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. To ensure social distancing, only one person or small group will be invited inside at a time. On Saturday, May 8 the gallery will host an open house, keeping with the social distancing protocols.
“I don’t want to have a specific time for people, just come in at your convenience and you can view the show,” Wilson said. “It’s fantastic and just so unique.”
Postill’s art show also features fresco paintings created in the traditional way, a process dating back to the Roman Empire era.
Most of Postill’s works are for sale, excluding his newest, titled Rhapsody in Rain, which is in the running for the international Luxembourg Art Prize.