The “Portraits of American Veterans Project” began in August 2009 by Algonquin artist Jeanine Hill-Soldner as a continuation of her artwork about war and veterans. This groundbreaking exhibit incorporates original oil paintings of local American Veterans with photographs and stories about the veterans. The Artist’s goal is to create new art about war that authentically depicts and honors the citizen soldiers and Marines that have served in foreign conflicts from the 20th to the 21st Centuries. The lives of these men and women were defined or shaped by their experience during war or while serving in the military. After their military service they went on to raise families and build lives in their communities.
A portrait begins with the veteran visiting the artist’s studio in Crystal Lake. The Artist quietly listens as the veterans talk about their military experience, at times, reviving long forgotten memories. These discussions are an integral part of the process before the painting begins. The veteran then poses in the studio for about 1½ hours while Jeanine starts the painting from life. Digital photos are taken during the painting process, which are used as reference for completion of the painting. Meaningful objects such as medals, uniforms, and photographs, chosen by the veteran are brought to the Artist’s studio. The memorabilia chosen to be included are carefully painted to provide key elements in the story telling process. The paintings and stories provide a visual dialogue, and a connection between the viewer and the veterans. This is a healing project that aims to touch all who view the portraits and read the stories from three generations of American veterans.
The Artist has completed 23 portraits to date. Sixteen of these will be on exhibit at the GE Capital Corporate Art Gallery located in Fairfield, Connecticut from November through January in honor of Veterans Day. This will be the first exhibit outside of the Chicago area for “Portraits of American Veterans”, and Jeanine Hill-Soldner is the first woman to exhibit in a solo show in the gallery. The Artist’s work was brought to the attention of GE Corporate Gallery and Valarie Cooper, an Art Consultant who works with GE, by the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago.
Jeanine Hill-Soldner was born in Quantico, Virginia and raised in a military family. Her father was a 30 year career Marine who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He passed away in 1993, and from the loss she began creating new work about war and veterans. She began painting as a child and started acrylic classes at age 15 in an artist’s studio. She then went on to earn a BA in Art Ed. from the University of Florida and MA in Art Ed from University of Illinois and has taught art to all ages. Her work exhibits regionally and nationally, received a number of awards, and has shown in more than 100 juried and solo gallery and museum exhibits. Exhibits include National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Fine Art Florida State University, and Rockford Art Museum. The Artist’s Profile featuring “Memories of an Era”, her studio, and family history during the Vietnam War was featured on PBS nationally, WTTW Artbeat Chicago, Fox News Chicago and many feature articles including McHenry County Living Magazine.Contact:
Jeanine Hill-Soldner: Soldner Fine Art Studio, Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Rd, Crystal Lake, IL
www.portraitsofamericanveterans.com | firstname.lastname@example.org