Chat with ... Jan Dilenschneider: Expressionist and colorist shows off her art in Paris

DARIEN — Though she has painted all her life, Jan Dilenschneider never really considered selling her paintings.

That is, until a friend bought one in 2013.

The New York native, though called an impressionist by many, considers herself an “expressionist and colorist.” With a focus on environment and nature, Dilenschneider headed to Paris last week for her fourth time showcasing her work at the Parisian art gallery Galerie-Pierre Alain Challier.

Through the Institute of International Education, the Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider Scholar Rescue Award in the Arts helps bring artists from repressive regimes around the world to the United States.

Dilenschneider, who has lived in Darien for 22 years, talked about her work and artistic interests.

Q: How did painting start for you?

A: I’ve been painting for a very long time. I think the interest came from my mother, who was an artist. I have always really enjoyed it. It’s great fun to explore your own creativity.

Q: What is your style? Impressionism?

A: I have been called a new impressionist by just about every magazine in Paris, but I keep insisting I’m an expressionist, not an impressionist. I do love the impressionist palate; I love the colors, but as an expressionist you express your feelings. As an impressionist, you take impressions of light and what you see.

There’s a difference, but expressionism would never have happened if it weren’t for the impressionists breaking all the rules and doing exciting, different things.

Q: What subject do you focus on?

A: I have two different things that I go for. One is getting people to appreciate and enjoy nature, be it through leaves, water, marshes. (The other is about) getting them to love what they see so they will appreciate it and participate in keeping our country and the world green and healthy.

Q: Why did you start selling art in 2013?

A: I painted and painted and stuffed it all in the basement. It never occurred to me to sell, and so a couple of friends asked for a painting, so I sold it to them and was really shocked after they left because it was like they took my painting away.

I had lunch with (Pierre-Alain Challier, gallery owner) in Paris and showing him what I was doing and when I came back, he said to me, “We would have to give you a show,” and I was delighted. Under his sponsorship, I was at Art Paris Art Fair (in 2016) and I’m doing one (this) week.

Q: How is it showing at the Galerie-Pierre Alain Challier?

A: That’s the place where I have shown. It’s a very nice gallery and Challier knows his stuff. A lot of my influence comes from my family and a great deal comes from different art schools. I studied in New York City and here at Silvermine Arts Center, a wonderful place with mentors like David Dunlop and Alyse Rosner.

Q: What is the award you sponsor?

A: It’s through the International institute of Education — they do the Fulbright Scholarship and have the greatest number of students transferring back and forth to the States. The basic philosophy is that the more people interact, the more likely they are to become friends and interact well.

Years ago, they had the Scholar Rescue program and most of it they had been doing with mathematicians and scientists. My husband, as a Christmas present, gave me the scholarship for 10 scholars to come from war-torn countries, and this is the only one for the arts.