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 Ira Bartholomy Hillyer  (1932 - 2007)

About: Ira Bartholomy Hillyer
 

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/California      Known for: landscape, marine, cityscape and seascape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted November 2004 and updated January 2007, is from the artist, who lives in Palm Springs, California.


Ira Bartholomy Hillyer (Bud) was born on July 19, 1932 in New London, Connecticut.  He was the only son of Hartford, Connecticut artist Amy Anne Bartholomy Hillyer and Ira A. Hillyer.  Amy had been art student of James Goodwin Mc Manus of Hartford and also Guy Wiggins of Old Lyme CT.  Hillyer learned art at his mother's knee; she gave him formal art instructions covering the first 18 years of his life.  Amy was diligent taskmaster and instructor, teaching him composition, color, design and form in pencil, ink, charcoal, pastel and finally oils.

He received numerous awards for his artwork all during his public school and college years.  After attending the University of Maryland for two years.  Hillyer returned to Connecticut to enter the business world as a banker and married Patricia M. Baldwin of New London.

Oils and art were a part-time endeavor for some years thereafter due to growing family needs (he sired and parented 15 children with Patricia).  He later studied with Waterford, Connecticut artist Clifford Thurber, who had been a student of Old Lyme Colony artist Winfield Scott Clime.

Hillyer joined the Lyme Art Association Gallery as an Associate member when they juried, hung and sold his oil painting Sunlight on Golden Street, New London in the early 1960s.

Hillyer became a patron, friend and protege of Lyme artist Frederick L. Sexton for nearly 15 years; - befriending other Old Lyme artists Roger Dennis, Alpheus Cole, B. Bruestel et al. during those years of Old Lyme Art Gallery association.  Some paintings from this period include large and small oil paintings titled Eldredge Boat Yard, Noank; Blood Street Dam, Old Lyme; Mystic CT. Docks; St. Agnes Church, Niantic; Sunrise, and MC Cook's Point Rocks, Niantic.  Signatures on art of this period were signed either Hillyer, I.B. Hillyer, Ira Hillyer or Ira B. Hillyer.  Paintings from this period were mostly Connecticut landscapes, cityscapes or marines in oil or still lifes in pastel.

In the late 1990s, due to health problems and the dissolution of his marriage to Patricia, the artist moved permanently to California, settling in Palms Springs, California.  This new location move and life change was the ideal time for the retired New England artist to shift gears entirely into a complete new medium for him, watercolors.  California scenery - the glorious light and brilliant colors of his new home were the impetus to cause the complete change in art medium.

The artist now paints landscapes and seascapes primarily of California.  He has painted over 200 watercolors in the last few years in Palm Springs, Laguna Beach, Pasadena, Woodside, Yosemite and San Francisco - and still tries to complete at least four new paintings per month at his studio or in the field.  He has studied watercolor with Dottie Lynch and Robert Weil of the Desert Art Center Fine Arts Academy, attended watercolor workshops, and studied with Jim Burns of Pasadena, California; Kolan Petersen of Hemet, CA.; and David Becker of Chicago IL.

Hillyer was elected President, 2000-2001, of the Desert Art Center, Inc. of the Coachella Valley.  It is a 65 artist member co-op gallery and fine art school in Palm Springs.  He still serves as Past President on their Board of Directors. The artist is also member of the Coachella Valley Water Color Society, Inc.  His last one-man art show was at Art Connections Gallery in Davis, Ca in 2004. He has multiple rotating paintings on display at DLC in Palm Desert Ca., The Desert Art Gallery in Palm Springs,Ca. and at his Gallery in Palm Springs Ca.

Since Hillyer was a new California resident in 1998, to gain acceptance for his work, he started making art print cards of all his watercolor paintings.  These handmade cards are now sold at numerous retail outlets (including Borders Books, Mosaic, Hallmark et al ) in the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley area.  He completed a series of 12 watercolor paintings of the Mission San Juan Capistrano, and art cards from that series have been sold at the gift shop at the Mission.

He maintains his art studio and gallery in Palm Springs, California.  In conjunction with the change to a new California location and a new art medium - signatures on all California watercolor paintings are now either I.B. Hillyer, I. Bud Hillyer, Bud Hillyer or Ira Bud Hillyer. The artist has a relaxed California artist's attitude and his model for living is best described by his artistic motto "Peace in Paint - Paint in Peace."

Education:
Amy Anne Bartholemy; 1936 to 1950
Clifford Thurber; 1956 to 1960
Frederick L Sexton; 1962 to 1975
Desert Art Center Fine Arts School; Palm Springs; 1998 to 2002
Jim Burns of Pasadena; 1999 and 2002
Kloaln Petersen of Hemet Ca; 2000 and 2001
David L. Becker of Chicag ; 2001
Dottie Lynch of Palm Springs, 2000-2001
Robert Weill of Palm Springs, 2000-2001

Museums:
Beard Art Gallery, Norton, Massachusetts
The Elwood Murray Memorial Library & Museum, Palm Springs, California

Exhibition Record (Museums, Institutions and Awards):
2003 - Honorable Mention - City of Palm Springs Paints & Shoots Show
2004 - Honorable Mention - City of Palm Springs Paints & Shoots Show
2005 - Second Prize - City of Palm Springs Paints and Shoots Show
Exhibition Record (Galleries and Art Shows):
2004,"My World of Watercolors" solo month of March Exhibit at Art Connections Gallery , Davis, Ca. 
Memberships:
Desert Art Center Fine Arts School - member 1998 to 2006 ; President from 2000 to 2001
(Old) Lyme Art Gallery, Old Lyme Connecticut; inhibiting member from 1960 to 1962
Desert Art Gallery, Palm Springs - Exhibitor all five shows each year -1999 to 2005
Magazine and Newspaper References:
2006, The Wheat on Quarterly (Spring)March - appears page 31 - color, Artist says "thank you" to College, Editors,Wheat on Quarterly were authors  

Ira Hillyer died peacefully in his home on February 16, 2007

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.
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