Artist Brings Awareness to Endangered Species

By Pat Johnson | Sep 18, 2019
Artwork by: Jill DeFelice While a few of the 17 macaw species are still abundant, more than half a dozen are considered critically threatened or endangered. There are believed to be fewer than 3,000 hyacinth macaws in the wild, and fewer than 1,000 red-fronted and blue-throated macaws.

Southern Ocean County — A collection of original art depicting a variety of species facing imminent extinction will be on display in Ocean County libraries throughout autumn 2019, beginning with the Little Egg Harbor branch. The paintings are the work of Tuckerton artist Jill DeFelice.

As a former elementary school teacher, DeFelice feels strongly that art should help inform and inspire the viewer. Information on each species represented in the collection is provided, as well as ways in which various conservation organizations are working to preserve these animals for the future.

DeFelice is a self-taught artist, painting primarily in oils and acrylics. Her works encompass a wide variety of themes – from portraiture to landscape to the animal world.

For nearly 24 years, the DeFelice family lived overseas. The places DeFelice called home and the many locales she visited left deep impressions on her both personally and as an artist.

Her subjects reflect her life. “The infinite variety and beauty in this world are constant sources of inspiration,” she writes. “Many of these places are changing or disappearing, over time. With each new location, the paintings reflect the bits and pieces of our travels that touched me.”

She began painting in Moscow, Russia, in 2001. Over the years she has exhibited and sold work in Hong Kong, China and, most recently, here in the USA. Her work is in collections in Brisbane, Hong Kong, London, Istanbul, New York and San Francisco.

“In my own way, I try to remain true to both my subjects and my Impressionist influences. I want my paintings to look like I have had a hand in their creation. The subjects should be recognizable and real, but still painterly. I use texture, brushwork and vivid color to reflect my personal connection to the subject. For me, these are always important elements of my paintings.”

The library tour kicks off in Little Egg Harbor Library through September. Then the exhibition moves to the Long Beach Island branch, located in Surf City, for October, then to Barnegat in November, and finishes the year in the Lacey Township’s library branch of the Ocean County Library.

DeFelice is passionate about painting with a larger purpose. This exhibition has a double purpose: educating the public about some of our critically endangered species and giving back to the local community through her art sales. All works in this exhibition are available through the artist, and 10 percent of sales will go to the Tuckerton/Little Egg Harbor food pantries. —P.J.

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