Published on 29-12-2022
Meet the Artist: Beverly Wilson
Napa Valley Mustard Celebration poster

“I have been an exhibiting artist at the Jessel Gallery for several years and was honored when Jessel asked me to create a piece of art which would be used to promote the 2023 Napa Valley Mustard Celebration. I chose to paint a view from one of my favorite vantage points up in the valley foothills.  In the early morning light, the balloons were up and I was struck by the beauty of the long shadows and quilted color patterns of the brilliant mustard season.”
Beverly Wilson


I am often asked “What do you call your style of painting?”

My answer is that it is pieces and parts of many different styles with the addition of my personal collection of color combinations. I have been inspired by many artists throughout history especially the Early California Impressionists and have incorporated my favorite elements of different art genres into my paintings. My distinct use of color is my signature and I feel this sets my work apart from any other painting styles. My works are inspired by the dramatic changes of the California seasons, temperature and light. With bold compositions, unique strokes, and my collection of colors, I express the universal rhythms of rural life and my love of the countryside.
Using traditional oil paints, I start with a very loose sketch on canvas, then begin layering on the paint…I work from dark and muddy colors to light and bright hues, allowing the colors to dry between sessions. I start experimenting with unusual combinations which will bring my subject to life. A painting emerges after many sessions of layering the paint which gives the finished piece a unique, luminous quality. The painting comes to life as I slowly  bring the images into focus using color, light and shadow. The bold color combinations are a result of experimentation and intuition as opposed to traditional color theories...discovering new color combinations is a huge part of the enjoyment I get from painting...I simply paint until the results pleases me. A painting of mine usually has thirty to fifty layers of paint underneath. I work from my collection of photos and sketches but if I  feel the composition can be strengthened  I will add or subtract imagined or remembered elements to tell the story. I keep camera and sketch pad with me at all times and often stop off the road or trample through a field to discover the most unique perspective of what has captured my attention.  


I have always been an artist. My earliest memories are from elementary school where I tried to turn every homework assignment into an art project…sometimes it worked! I had several teachers including one who allowed me to design book covers instead of doing the traditional book report. In junior high school geography class, I was the one who was assigned to draw the maps and in high school science lab, I illustrated the dead animals instead of dissecting them!
 My parents were very supportive of my interest in art and when I was ten, they signed me up for Saturday morning art classes with Carmelo DeSimone, a traditional still life painter from Italy. I painted the same bottles, jugs, napkins, silk flowers and plastic fruit for five years and learned a lot of basics about color, composition and harmony which I did not appreciate until much later.
 After graduating from UCL A with a BFA, I saved up for my dream trip to Europe which included a Eurail Pass, and a guidebook to Europe on $10 a day. After three months of hopping around several countries I realized I was not ready to return home and I began a year-long adventure traveling all over Italy, supporting myself by selling pen and ink sketches of local scenes along the way. It was this love of the Italian countryside and the tranquility of rural life that brought me to Napa Valley ten years later.
On returning to California, I got a job as a pen and ink artist for a designer of wine packaging in San Francisco. My first assignment was to drive up to Napa Valley for the day and do some sketches at the Beringer Winery. I loved my trips to to the wine country and eight years later I moved to Napa to start my own graphic design company, specializing in the wine business, later expanding to many other industries. My paints and art supplies lay unused for twenty years.
As happens to many of us, a traumatic loss, the death of my mother, spurred me to rethink my priorities and rediscover the artist within. I was determined to make time for my personal artwork while continuing commercial design work for several more years. In 1990 I became a full-time professional artist. I only wish my parents could be here to share my accomplishments.

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