Jill Gustavis
Naturally Inspired
Backyard Sunrise through Trees.jpg

natural inspiration



My husband and I bought a house in early 2016. Originally a Pittsfield, MA native, now moving outside the city, I was inspired by my everyday immersion in the nature around, and having always been involved in art since childhood, I took that influence and re-focused on my painting. I started an art Instagram account that Spring and now I am working to invest more time into exploring styles and developing my practice.

Using mostly watercolors, I enjoy focusing on natural subjects such as flowers and landscapes, as well as still life and architectural pieces. Another of my favorite subjects is old buildings, of which the surrounding countryside and towns have in abundance. Equally interested in the science of art, experiments and sketches to study the nature of colors can often absorb an entire session of painting. Although not as often, I also take photographs and paint with acrylics, depicting many of the same themes.


My studio space in our house.

Being traditional at heart, there's a certain everyday inspiration living in a very old house. Like 1830's old. From extra wide floorboards to a stone foundation and timbers in the basement, this old farmhouse has a few stories that definitely radiate out as you pass your life within it's walls. [No, it'm not talking about it being haunted.] I am genuinely lucky though, in such a small house to be able to have almost a whole room to use as my studio space. Whether it will stay so available, time will tell, but in the meantime, I'm not taking it for granted one bit. 

The room currently does not have a switched light and using desk lamps can cause hotspots and be an issue for color rendering, so what I do is use a floor lamp with an upward fixture. The light does shine downward but more importantly upwards, bouncing off the low white ceiling, and illuminates my surfaces more evenly. The bulbs are daylight spectrum as well, so I don’t find any color surprises when I look at my work in the morning!

Using a desk from Ikea, I’ve set the height at in-between an average desk height and bar height. Paired with a stool (which is also adjustable) that I can lean on, my back stays straighter and I don’t find myself hunched over my surface as much. I can also work at this height standing up if I choose. The easel can also rotate to provide a flat surface I can stand at and work on larger pieces that are taped to drawing boards.


Not only do I have a dedicated space upstairs, but I'm also able to utilize other areas around the house depending on my mood. We added a countertop 'bar' to an alcove in the living room (my husband's fabulous idea), where I have plenty of space to spread out and still interact with the household, or watch movies. I've also been know to paint at the kitchen table while cooking dinner, or on the couch with kitty company.

Of course there's also an argument that painting outside cannot be beat in nice weather. I actually love painting anywhere that isn't my normal space as it has a tendency to take me out of my routine and focus on painting. There is no habit associated with painting somewhere new.

Each year I’m able to get outside more often due to better organization and new locations. The Etchr line of products (Art Satchel, Slate, and Field Case) allow me to have supplies ready to go and easy to tote around since I have a hard time limiting my haul, even when I’m only going out in to the backyard for 15 minutes. Joining the Guild of Berkshire Artists in Spring 2019 introduced their Creating Art Outdoors program with daily locations from mid-June to Mid-September. Having company while painting has been a huge motivator to get out there!

Demonstration at the Clark Art Institute for their “In Plein Site” summer interactive program.

Painting on location in West Stockbridge with the Etchr Art Satchel


In addition to sharing the house with my husband, we also adopted two kittens from a local shelter in November 2016. They're ever curious and are always there to remind me when I forgot to cover my water containers or I left a painting out where they can leave footprints all over it. Franklin is also an expert on letting me know when my lap needs to be occupied. In return both kitties are always up for modeling, and you'll see them occasionally in my work.

Franklin thinks my blank page would look better with his face on it.

Jax (Left) and Franklin (Right)

Always the perfect model.



In addition to painting in my personal time, I also get to paint as part of my day job. Lymphedivas is a company that designs and manufactures compression garments for those affected by lymphedema. As Art Director, it's my job to make them as beautiful and fun as possible. Throughout the year I create the designs for our semiannual seasonal collections. Many of the patterns that are painted involve florals or nature, and with each previously unexplored subject I get to spend time researching and learning how to paint something new. Sometimes I spend so much time painting at work, that I'm too drained to paint when I get home! In addition to physical art, I also carry out most of the photography and other art-based marketing tasks to switch it up.

Want to know more about my job? Check out this Q&A
with me over on the Lymphedivas blog!

Setting up some styled photos for print and web use.

Setting up some styled photos for print and web use.

A variety of patterns that include paintings in their design.

A variety of patterns that include paintings in their design.

All patterns were commissioned by, and are property of Lymphedivas, LLC. All images are posted with expressed written permission.

If you would like to contact me, drop me a message at jillgustavisart@gmail.com