We lost Jini McNeice this week, one of our great local artists, mother, grandmother and member of the Valley Artisans Market (VAM) in Hubbard Hall. Jini is a great artist and someone whose smile always lit up every room she was in. Every time she swept into the Hall, usually headed into VAM, she warmed the space and made us all smile.
I mostly spent time with Jini at the baseball field. I would often sit near her at my son’s baseball games, as we cheered on our kids. As a proud grandmother of Gabe, who played with my son Henry, she would cheer and encourage – and always smile. I’ve often thought of Gabe as having the best smile I’ve ever seen on a kid. I’m realizing only now that his smile is Jini’s smile – and that the joy and exuberance with which she lived her life is maybe her best legacy, along with her amazing family. Similar to our friend Tom Cuite, Jini leaves an amazing lineage of family and friends who reflect and continue her spirit of love, joy and creativity. We will miss her greatly – and celebrate her always.
Here’s more about Jini, her work and her view of the world, from The Laffer Gallery website:
Born in New York City, Virginia McNeice attended Pratt Institute of Art and has studied at the Art Student’s League, SUNY Albany, Skidmore College and the Vermont Studio Center. McNeice’s work in pastel and oil is inspired by nature, and her primary focus is upon color relationships, contrast and the effect of light at various times of the day. She lives and works on an old farm in Cambridge, New York which is surrounded by her personal garden.
“I paint the landscape because I live in a beautiful area of upstate New York. When I stand out in a field in front of the woods, a pasture or pond I am stimulated by all the possibilities that present themselves to me – the colors – the light – the dark shapes. It is all so wonderful and full of promise.”
Nature and Transition show me the way.
“The traditions of artist from the past, their techniques and very personal interpretations of what they see have always proved exciting and inspirational to me. I am drawn to the long shadows and strong contrasts of a tree line with early morning light, the play of experimenting with and exaggerating the colors in a landscape. Even when I am confronted with a “green” landscape, my love of color compels me to find the turquoise in the hedgerow, violet in the shadows and pinks in the grasses. My greatest challenge, and where I find the most joy, is making the same scene new every time I approach it.”
“Path to the Barn” by Virginia McNeice
Post Update: While researching the history of Hubbard Hall today I came across a note that Jini had helped to restore the Forest scenery we still have in the Hall, circa 1891, with her masterful painting in 1982. We use this scenery still in many shows and presentations throughout the year. So in many ways Jini will literally be a part of our work ongoing for many, many years to come.