From the Artist:
"No, I am not originally from here! I grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved with my family to Kearney 16 years ago from the suburban sprawl of Chicago to take up a position as an architect here in Kearney. The landscape has captivated me and I have enjoyed depicting that beauty and some of the unique features of this region of the Midwest. The ever-changing Platte River has been a constant fascination for me and the local rural landscape.
Studying Architecture at university and attending Art School part time for two years whilst I completed my degree betrays a long interest in the fine arts. Many workshops and art exhibits have followed through the last 40 years in order to develop my skills. I have chosen opaque watercolor for this exhibit but transparent watercolor has been a strong love through numerous years of painting. Probably that love started in my youth, coloring production drawings for my father, who was an architect as well.
Hobbies related to my love of Nebraska would be long distance treks through the countryside on foot and with few provisions. I have completed eight treks such as walking to Hastings over a weekend as well as Ravenna to Loup city via Ashton over another weekend and always with a bunch of guys taking backroads and soaking up the incredible countryside and sleeping in homes or churches.
I enjoy the life of an architect and artist with my wife, Rebecca, seven adult children and ten
grandchildren. It has been a wonderful journey so far!"
The Brickwalk's take:
John Lillyman has the ability to capture the local landscapes in a way that brings life to the canvas through his preferred opaque mediums. Watercolor and gouache are very unforgiving and tend to "leave it all on the canvas" and offer a very expressive and oftentimes illustrative touch to the piece. John's architectural inspired background, paired with an appreciation for the current environment he's taking in, makes his work stand apart from typical landscape artists. We are anxious to see how his work will evolve as he continues to take in Nebraska.