Posted on 16 Comments

Trading Paintings with Jessica Brilli

Jessica Trade

I was delighted a while back to be asked by one of my very favourite artists of all time, Jessica Brilli, to trade paintings. Jessica has been a big influence on my own style of painting so I feel very appreciated and validated by her contacting me to say she loved my work and wanted to own some and have my work in her home.

I have always have found myself drawn to and influenced by painters who have a special relationship with colour and light and Jessica Brilli’s work is full of sunshine and nostalgia. She combines American realism with graphic design elements, simplifying elements and focusing on everyday scenes and objects. She was Jessica was also awarded as Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 2021!

Jessica Brilli's works
A selection of Jessica Brilli’s works


The paintings we traded: – My painting of Gola Island called “With A Road Running Through It” a rural minimal oil painting.

With a Road Running Through It _ Emma Cownie
With a Road Running Through It
With a Road Running Through It – me posing with my painting on a blustery Donegal afternoon.


With a Road Running Through it - with Jessica Brilli
“With a Road Running Through It” in the USA  with Jessica Brilli


In return, Jessica sent her painting “Cutlass” of a vintage American car – acrylic on wooden panel. I was very excited to open up the packaging and see one of her paintings in the flesh. I didn’t realise that it was painted on wooden panel rather than canvas. I really liked the weight and solidity of the wooden panel. It was also a real pleasure to see the brush stokes and the layers of paint close up. You cannot get a sense of these things in photos at all. So I have been quietly obsessing about how this painting was made as well as the elegance of its composition. There  is a pleasing tension in the slight unbalance of shadows and tiny brush marks that suggest great confidence in the artist’s execution. I really enjoy looking at it.

Jessica Brilli's "Cutlass" - with me holding it

Jessica Brilli’s “Cutlass” – with me holding it

Cutlass on the wall in our Donegal cottage
Cutlass on the wall in our Donegal cottage
Painting of Vintage car
Cutlass- Jessican Brilli


"Cutlass" with one of my husband's self portrait and one of my Gola paintings
“Cutlass” with one of my husband’s self portrait and one of my Gola paintings


Vintage tape measure
The Vintage tape measure – also sent by Jessica as part of her trade


I was fascinated by the vintage tape measure Jessica also sent me – it was a weighty object. I was quite struck by its solidity. I think I am too used to plastic tape measures that have beeb made in China. It also only measured inches – not cm. I am only used to tape measures with both inches and cms on them. It amde me realise that despite all the American culture we are exposed to in filsm amd TV shows, we have very few American goods here on this side of the Atlantic. It felt quite exotic and exiting.

I would like to thank Jessica once again for agreeing to trade paintings with me. I am honoured to have her painting in my home. It has given me a real boost. I am now exploring the world of wood panels!

16 thoughts on “Trading Paintings with Jessica Brilli

  1. This is brilliant, such an exchange. 🙂 I can feel your joy. I love it how both gifts look on the wall. Priceless! (Your husband’s portrait is rather special as well.)

    1. Thank you, Manja. Yes he’s a very talented painter but he hasn’t done auny painting recently as he’s been caught up in DIY and moving us from UK to Ireland.

  2. I can see Jessica’s influence on your work. There is such a resonance between your paintings of houses, the use of colour, shadows, light. The three paintings look brilliant on your cottage wall. I agree with Manja that your husband’s self-portrait fits in so well.

    1. Thank you, Anne. I have been looking at Jessica’s work for some time now which is which its such a treat to have one of her paintings in our home!

  3. A great idea and great exchange.

    1. This is a wonderful exchange. I can see in her work how your painting has been influenced by her style. Neither of you have cluttered views of either landscapes or objects I think the Cutlass looks perfect on you wall. The portrait of your husband is a self portrait? I didn’t know he was also an artist. His portrait has shades of Lucien Freud …just in my non artists’ opinion.

      1. Thank you, Leueen. I wish I was better at “editing” my images, I like to include some details (usually they are to do with a shadow). Yes my huaband’s a talented artist and I rely on his feedback and encourgaement. He does have a bit of Lucien Freud about his work but sadly he hasn’t painted much lately as He’s caught up with sorting out the move over to Ireland. I think his best paintings are his self portraits.

      2. I’m glad you can see the Lucien Freud as well. He did a portrait of one of my cousins. It was interesting but not especially flattering.

      1. Pleasure. Happy Monday.

  4. What a wonderful idea!

    1. Yes, I am delighted she suggested it. I would never had the nerve to suggest it to her!!

  5. I can see how the two of you would gravitate to each other’s work. On a different note, I have never possessed anything but metal tape rulers, at least in sizes up to 20 feet or so. In inches. However, since dressage rings are measured out in meters I do have a 60 meter plastic tape that is in both inches and centimeters. I couldn’t possibly set up the ring without it!🙂

    1. It’s funny how you get used to metric and/or imperial (is that what inches and feet are called in the US?). For many years I bought my canvases from a German company that measues in cm – so I understand that. However, for people’s heights its feet and inches. I know that American collectors only think in terms of inches. I printed out a handy conversion table so I can visualise what 12″ x14″ is in cm!

  6. […] have been experimenting with different supports and media. The Jessica Brilli painting on wood got me curious about how it would be different from painting on […]

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