The Art Mob

the Art of Dennis Bredow
Home / Blog / jill

What's So Great About: Jill Soukup

Chico Basin Percherons 48" x 72" copyright Jill Soukup 2015

She has been called one of the '10 stars that will help define the future of Western Art'. Her work has been featured in countless magazines, including Western Art Collector, American Art Collector, Western Art & Architecture, and Canvas REBEL to name just a few. She's been featured on podcasts, offers classes on YouTube, and leads some of the most intriguing in-person paint workshops out there. But is she really that good?

Here's what's so great about Jill Soukup.

THE FUNDAMENTALS. It's not every day you hear someone talk about their passion for composition and color theory, but Jill Soukup is one such artist. Her work is so visually pleasing to look at, and her application of paint so seemingly effortless, that the structure on which it all hangs might easily go unnoticed. But the framework is all there, evident to anyone who will take the time to look. Her draftsmanship is SO solid, her compositions are intentional and bold, and her colors are rich and layered. I mean ... I can't be the only one that gets excited about aggressive cropping or beautifully layered paint?

White Horse Rhythms 36.25" x 40.25" copyright Jill Soukup 2020

THE MARK-MAKING. With an absolutely stunning use of color, layered with beautifully gestural mark-making, Jill Soukup's work comes together to create something that feels both real and ethereal. At first blush this is all representational painting, but a closer look reveals much greater complexity. What first appears as highly rendered detail is merely a masterful 'suggestion' using the fewest possible strokes. Each work is a beautifully balanced combination of light and dark values, soft and hard edges, real and abstract regions. Her application of paint is so confident and versatile - sometimes implying movement, other times lending history and interest to a completely static surface, with each stroke leaving some hint of what came before it.  

Green Criss Cross 72" x 72" copyright Jill Soukup 2011

THE INSTRUCTION. You can marvel at the work, but you can't follow Jill Soukup very long without learning something. Her Instagram account is a gold mine of finished works, sketches, and thumbnails that lend an insight into her process. She has led online workshops, joined podcasts, and found countless ways to invest in other artists. Perhaps her most significant teaching investment are her regular workshops at Ranchlands (a family ranching and conservation business that owns and manages livestock operations in the American West), a destination learning opportunity that incorporates intensive art instruction on a working ranch. What more could you ask for? 

Saddled 28" x 36" copyright Jill Soukup 2017

THE PERSONAL NARRATIVE. Call it kismet, destiny, or providence - there is something deeply satisfying about a person doing exactly what they were meant to do. The story of Jill Soukup is exactly that. A girl who loved horses and knew by the age of six that she wanted to be an artist. Combine the dreams and passion of that young painter with years of learning and concerted effort and you get this spectacular result. I can't help but think that her personal history lends a little extra 'something' to the work we see today. And her story should be shared with every aspiring artist, no matter how young. 

Saddled Dark Horse 20" x 16" copyright Jill Soukup 2013

Fundamentals. Mark-Making. Instruction. Personal Narrative. These are just a few of the things that make Jill Soukup's work so engaging. I didn't even have a chance to mention that her architectural work is just as compelling as her western work. Do yourself a favor and take the time to look at her prolific body of work. Then take the time to tell an aspiring artist about her story. Who knows - you may inspire the next Jill Soukup.

Visit her website, follow her on Instagram, or maybe keep an eye out for that next Ranchlands workshop experience. You won't regret it.