Jeanine Hill-Soldner Veterans Painting in Algonquin Library

“Where Are You Today?” visited artist Jeanine Hill-Soldner’s exhibit “Portraits of American Veterans: A Continuing Dialogue”. Jeanine is a McHenry County artist with a studio in Crystal Lake. Her exhibit at the Algonquin Area Public Library is part of the Vet Art Project.

The mission of The Vet Art Project is to provide “opportunities for veterans and their families to work in collaboration with artists to create art about war and service, and to foster discussion about how war and service affect us all.”

Growing up, Jeanine loved to visit art museums and draw. At age 12, she began painting after her grandfather sent her a set of paints.

Jeanine

Jeanine Hill-Soldner with portrait of veteran Allen Jakes. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

 

Through these portraits of veterans, Jeanine tells their stories about their time both in the military and after discharge. Currently living in Algonquin, she grew up in a military family and in the 1960’s lived in Hawaii. In 1965 her father was deployed from there to Viet Nam and trained some of those first ground troops.

“These paintings are about veterans.” Jeanine says, “I am doing work about veterans because my childhood was defined by my father being in the military. My dad was in Marine Corp. It has been very worthwhile, I feel like it is quite an honor that all these wonderful people come into my studio for their portrait.”

Each painting represents a person who has come into her studio and posed for their portrait. The paintings are all oil on canvas and 30×40 inches. Each veteran is pictured with items that are meaningful to him or her. Jeanine is currently working on her 17th veteran portrait in her Crystal Lake studio.

We spoke with Virginia Freyre, Adult Reference Librarian at the Algonquin Area Public Library which hosted this exhibit and I asked her how patrons benefit from exhibits like this.

Virginia said, “The patrons benefit because we are providing exactly what our mission states which is the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational aspect of art. We collaborate frequently with a lot of artists. Jeanine, who has done all these art works, was the first one to actually exhibit in this library, And she is also the one who got us the hanging system here. So she is quite a star here at our library.”

Librarian Virginia Freyre

Librarian Virginia Freyre with portraits of Allen Jakes and De Yip G. Louie. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

The library also collaborates with other artists, Jacobs High School and the Village of Algonquin to display art. Follow the library on Facebook.

April M. Williams with portraits of veterans De Yip G. Louie and Matt Ping. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

April M. Williams with portraits of veterans De Yip G. Louie and Matt Ping. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

 

Edgar Gonzalez Beaza

Veteran Edgar Gonzalez Beaza. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

 

Portrait 2

Veteran Phillip Seyller. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

 

Portrait 1

Veteran Charles McHenry. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

 

 

 

 

The Journey to Chicago’s Lakefront

This weekend we made a journey into the city to see the Burnham Plan exhibit at Millennium Park on the lakefront. It was a trip we contemplated for a while but were discouraged by the time commitment.  As we traveled into town, we reminded ourselves why we don’t do this trip very often.

Saturday afternoon at 3:30 PM we started out by car and 100 minutes later had crawled our way as far as Wrigleyville. We stopped there to park our car at reasonable rates. A 10 minute walk to the el,  then a 20 minute ride before another 10 minute walk. Over 2 hours of commute time one way.

Now some of you may suggest we opt for public transportation. The train is 20 minute drive  from home, runs once an hour and takes 90 minutes then a 20 minute walk to the park. No time or money saved there. The closest el stop is almost an hour drive from home. And buses? Never see them out here.

So now we are at beautiful Millennium Park on a warm late summer evening with my Dad. We took video at the Crown Fountain where children and adults are delighted by the smiling faces and surprise awaiting them.

Millennium Park Chicago Lakefront

Millennium Park Chicago Lakefront

Our journey was inspired by the Burnham Plan exhibit with lighting  by artist Tracey Dear.  After our walk we happened upon Hot Woks, Cool Sushi and had dinner under wall art commissioned by the restaurant. The artwork changes colors like the pavilion across the street. We talked to David, one of the owner of this new restaurant to get the scoop. If you like sushi and art – this is the place to be. The service was slow during our visit. The waitress did not get to our table for over 10 minutes when we arrived. Our appetizers arrived before our drinks. Just open since June, they may still be ironing out a few kinks.

Our diners enjoyed the sushi served and gave it hit marks for freshness and presentation. I recommend the sweet potato and asparagus maki rolls. The tempura was served hot with a batter fried light and crisp. Vegetarian items on the menu were clearly marked.

For the art lover, take a stroll along the long narrow room where each area displays a different artists work. You can read up on the artists in their bios within the menu.

All in all, it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Just wish the commute time was shorter. If the 2016 Olympics land here, perhaps the infrastructure will improve and travel times will drop.


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