Saturday 11th September - Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Jillian Johnston is a portrait artist and illustrator based in County Durham. As a former teacher, she is passionate about people and writes books encouraging children to get outdoors and be creative. Her first book was written in the first lockdown it is called, 'Can I go outside to play? Not today!' It was designed to give ideas and inspiration for children looking for something to do and is based on her daughter Millie. Since then, Jillian's books have sold across County Durham (this book was made into a doorstep play and was also shared as part of the Art stops scheme across Durham).
Jillian is also a passionate portrait artist. She has exhibited widely including internationally and nationally. Jillian says, 'I enjoy capturing something deeper than a likeness and telling a story through my portraits. Everyone has a story to tell and something to say.' She enjoys combining media in her portraits, she often combines painting and printmaking to encourage the viewer to look closer at the work.
This Exhibition displays both aspects of Jillian's work. It is an exhibition of Covid Selfies which are a selection of portraits created during the Covid Pandemic, they represent Jillian and her friends and families experience of the last year. It also launches the book called, 'Song of the Deer Park' which is a story of a little girl's trip to the park in autumn and her imagining's and play as she walks. She makes imaginary friends and creates prop's, songs and games as she journeys through the Deer Park at Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland.