Oil paintings reflect a past city lifestyle

When was the last time someone put a 6-foot block of marble in front of you and said, “go for it”?  For Gillian Klein, that was the moment she threw down the chisel in favor of oil painting.Oil paints are her time capsule, Klein said.  “Rembrandt smelled it and it made him feel happy, Van Gogh smelled it and he cut off his ear. It feels like being part of a club.”She loves the tradition, the luster and the smell of the paints.  “You never hear about the famous acrylic painters of the past,” Klein said.Her playfulness with oils and love of the medium is obvious when viewing her work.  The muted gray and blue scenes appear childlike and soft.  The fuzzy road ahead pictured in “Dawn” emanates with the comfort of driving home in the early morning.  Yellow and red dot the traffic lights lighting up the dusty, grey buildings.Klein considers being an artist her primary job.  Doing things a little differently this year, mostly due to the sad state of the economy, she put her paintings up for sale last weekend.Selling her paintings is a rare occurrence, but “I don’t want to die with the largest collection of my art work,” Klein said. Self-described as “mellow and easy” but “a real city girl at heart,” Klein’s work reflects her ties to her former home of New York City.   Trying out the rural landscape for a while, Klein said. “I couldn’t stand it.  It was so boring.”Now a resident of Burlington, Klein calls it “microcity,” with a lot to offer but “less attitude.”The urban and rural juxtaposing in the intense blue oils of Klein’s “Bridge” seems to be a representation of Klein’s own life.  Lights dot the canvas, illuminating a serene city — the landscape is under a gentle haze, characteristic of most of her other paintings.”I hope that people can see that calm, the separate chaos and beauty,” Klein said. She exhibited her paintings last weekend at the South End Art Hop.