Plein air art collection
Tara Will, "Deepdene Sparkle," 2019, pastel, 24 x 24 in., Plein air

Art Collectors Profile: Joanne and Roger Quillen

“Neither of us had a special interest in art or even moved beyond admiring it until recently,” says Roger Quillen in 2019. “Our passion for collecting plein air began by watching artists paint during the week of the first Olmsted Plein Air Invitational. We were blown away by the graciousness of the artists in allowing us to watch over their shoulders and ask questions. It was like going to the Masters and being able to walk with a player and ask how he planned to hit his next shot. The access was incredible. After attending numerous lectures through Olmsted, I’ve just taken up drawing in preparation for learning to paint.

“Our first plein air purchase was ‘Tranquility’ by Hiu Lai Chong. The artists had been restricted to painting in a very limited area around Olmsted Park. Joanna wandered around and saw Hiu Lai painting this piece. It was love at first sight, from the composition the artist chose right through her execution.

“We’ve made all of our art purchases at the Olmsted event, or as a result of meeting artists there. We love the art we have purchased, but we are also committed to supporting this art form, not only for the artists we have come to care so much about, but also for the Atlanta region. If people like us don’t buy art when the artists come to town, we’ll lose this terrific cultural event.

“As for why we buy any particular piece, it’s always because it’s what pleases us the most from an artist whose body of work we respect. Happily, that is often a piece by one of our growing band of artist friends. At this point we have not purchased a piece from a gallery, but we are following our favorites on Instagram and someday soon we probably will purchase something we see there, either directly from the artist or from a gallery representing their work.

“To date, we’ve collected pieces from Cindy Baron, Jill Basham, Russell Jewell, Thomas Jefferson Kitts, Hiu Lai Chong, Christine Lashley, Tom Lynch, Kathie Odom, Cynthia Rosen, John Brandon Sills, Patrick Saunders, Jill Steenhuis, Tara Will, and Vladislav Yeliseyev. If we had to, for today at least, we’d say our favorites include Christine Lashley’s ‘Garden Whites’ and Tara Will’s ‘Deepdene Sparkle’, which we purchased before it was awarded Best Painting in Olmsted Linear Park at [the 2019] event.

“A huge part of our love of plein air is that it’s so personal. As a result of having developed a relationship with Christine Lashley and Jill Basham, I invited them to come and paint from the 35th-floor windows of my midtown Atlanta offices. Both produced high-perspective pieces they entered into this year’s Olmsted competition.

“The only challenge we face in terms of collecting (other than saving our money to be able to purchase art) is finding worthy placements in our home. We love these pieces and the artists they represent, and we want all of them to be with us. As a result, we rotate our paintings frequently.”

Collecting Art in Memory

“When my father passed away,” says Joanne Quillen, “we wanted to do something special in his memory for our three adult children. He had always championed spending ‘extra’ money in ways that brought lasting joy or made a positive difference to others. Since our art collection has certainly brought us joy, and the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational event improves the metro Atlanta area and supports fine artists, we decided to buy a painting for each of them at this year’s event. They all picked something they loved — and each think their painting is by far the best: ‘Lily Sun Dapples’ by Christine Lashley, ‘Coming In’ by Jill Basham, and ‘Barn Dance’ by Rusty Jewell.”

collecting art - Christine Lashley, "Lily Sun Dapples," 2019, oil, 9 x 12 in., plein air
Christine Lashley, “Lily Sun Dapples,” 2019, oil,
9 x 12 in., plein air
Jill Basham, "Coming In," 2019, oil, 9 x 12 in., plein air
Jill Basham, “Coming In,” 2019, oil, 9 x 12 in., plein air
collecting art - Russell Jewell, "Barn Dance," 2019, watercolor, 12 x 24 in., plein air
Russell Jewell, “Barn Dance,” 2019, watercolor, 12 x 24 in., plein air

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