Temecula artist Janice Cipriani-Willis doesn’t need to go very far to be inspired — all she has to do is step outside her door and the rural jewels of Dorland Mountains Arts Colony greet her.
“I love it. The oak trees, the sun going down over the hills. It’s beautiful,” Cipriani-Willis said.
Cipriani-Willis lives at the mountain retreat perched above Highway 79 South just outside of Temecula, along with her husband artist-in-residence Robert Willis.
She said she is happy that her surroundings allow her to become fully immersed in her craft.
While Cipriani-Willis’ work can be viewed at Fallbrook Brandon Gallery, her intimate watercolor portraits are also set for exhibit at Gallery at The Merc later this week.
Cipriani-Willis began her art education by earning a B.A. in Fine Arts from California State University, Los Angeles.
She said that painting has a been lifelong pursuit that she shelved only briefly to raise her children. Her work, since that time, has continued to evolve.
“What I am most interested in is showcasing light and its relationship to the subject matter. I like to contrast light and dark,” she said.
Focusing primarily on portraits, Cipriani-Willis said she will often take photos of some unsuspecting person to capture a moment.
“I am fascinated by people’s expressions. I am attracted to people from all walks of life — rich, poor, young old. I almost feel like a voyeur into their lives when I paint them, like I know them in some way. I try to capture expressions of intensity,” Cipriani-Willis said.
The opportunity to show at The Merc is fortunate, Cipriani-Willis said, adding that a sluggish economy has slowed business for many local artists.
Cipriani-Willis said: “It would be nice to see even more of the arts in our community.”
An opening reception for Cipriani-Willis is planned from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 at The Merc, located at 42051 Main Street, Temecula.
The show runs through Jan. 6.
To learn more, visit www.temeculatheater.org.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.