Local artist and art teacher, J. McNeil Sargent, will be signing hernewly-released book, “My Affair with Art” from 2 to 4 p.m. July 28 at the Del Mar Art Center Gallery, Del Mar Plaza, 1555 Camino Del Mar.
Her biography tells the story of a colorful art career that includes friendships with artists like Francoise Gilot and Pablo Picasso, plus color reproductions of Sargent’s paintings and viscosity prints.
During her art career, Sargent’s paintings and viscosity printmaking (which she studied in Paris) are included in private collections and museums including the Bibiotheque Nationale de France and the American Embassy in Paris. She has exhibited her work at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. and has had solo shows of her work in galleries in France and in the U.S., including the Las Vegas Museum. Her work has appeared in over a hundred galleries nation-wide. She was founder of the San Diego chapter of National Artists Equity, and for her contribution to art and teaching, the Center for Women’s Studies at San Diego State University named her one of the four outstanding women artists in San Diego.
Sargent changed her married name from Jean Braley to McNeil Sargent. Her grandmother was second cousin to the famous painter, John Singer Sargent, and her father’s first name was Sargent. On her mother’ side were the McNeils, distantly related to the mother of artist James Whistler.
Sargent has been a familiar figure in the San Diego art scene for 40 years. She began teaching painting with the Adult Community Services Department of Mira Costa College at a time when the college was using an elementary school in Del Mar to hold classes. One of the highlights of her long teaching career has been taking her students to France to paint with her at her summer home in Antibe.
Her 20-year love affair with France may have ended, but not with art. She continues to teach and paint and run the Sargent Art Group, a group of 35 working artists in North Country who exhibit in galleries and art venues in the area.