Thursday, August 28, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Julie Hill

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Julie's painting, "Red Apples" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Julie's DPW Gallery page:

"My paintings are a reflection of what I see, real or interpreted, the play of color and light.....and the feelings evoked. Enjoy!"

A native Southern Californian, Julie Hill began her art career later in life. After several life changes, in 2004 she picked up a pencil and began drawing. Unbeknownst to her, she had been sitting on a creative gift. She then dared to pick up the elusive paintbrush and tentatively applied colors and water to white paper. Pulled by the desire to capture nature's beauty and precious relationship moments, the once elusive and timidness of watercolor paintings has turned into unabashed exploration of color and shapes; as she calls it "Capturing Life with Brushstrokes". (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I went through a period in my life (around 2004) where I had to redefine myself. That definition unknowingly was “Artist”. Looking back I would now say I was to authenticate myself instead of redefine myself. I had to let surface what was created within. Or in better words, it was time to stop denying what God had designed in me.

Keep in mind; I had a high level and very successful career in academic science with no art desire, background or expertise. Once this “authentication” process started within me, I had this overwhelming need to create. It was frightening not knowing what or how to satisfy this need. So I did what we all were taught to do as a child, I drew something. What flushed out in the following weeks were large pencil drawings with great detail. Everyone I knew, me included, was very confused. “Where did that come from? And how did you do that?”. “I dunno” was all I could answer. But the gift of drawing was only the blueprint. A tool that I had no idea would be a foundation for something greater to come.

A few more weeks went by and the creative hunger continued to grow. It was as if I was the painting, where God had initially sketched “me” on the paper in simple black and white ....but now it was time for color and vibrancy. So I picked up my first paintbrush, dabbed up some pretty colors and mixed them in water and finished what God started in me..... it’s been a crazy blessing, letting this gift come out of me.

Red Apples
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Julie's interview

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

No stops and starts. My painting career is defined by one thing, am I creating? Yes, this creating (painting) generates revenue via commissions, online or gallery sales, and teaching; sometimes it opens doors to publications and accolades, or leads to great opportunities like this article. But none of those exist if I don’t go to work every day and create. By continually moving forward....things have just come to me, a blessing indeed.

What other mediums have you experimented with?

None. I am a watercolor artist. I often receive comments from other artists expressing their wonder on how I do it, “watercolor is so unforgiving” and “it is the hardest medium”. I guess I see it a bit differently. Watercolor painting forces me to commit to each piece, be okay with loosing control or even failing, accepting the imperfection of its perfection. It is kind of how I hope God feels about me...perfect in my imperfectness.

La Frigiliana, Spain
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

Living life inspires me, that is why I titled my blog “Capturing Life with Brushstrokes”. I want to see the beauty in the make the mundane look full of life. So a shopping trip downtown can turn into a grand urban street scene. I like that.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Painting. That may seem like an odd answer but procrastination is when you do more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones. Not many things are more enjoyable to me than painting. That being said, I am really not a procrastinator by nature, nor am I the flip side of that, compulsive. I used to be....but now I just paint.

Butch's Smile
(click to see original image)

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I do because I am. It is more of a way of life then a technique. I think we all have, at some point in our lives, tried to be something we are not. I like the saying “You can’t be a bird if you were meant to be a fish”. As I mentioned above I went through a redefining or authentication process. The outcome out of that was “I am an artist”. Once you know you are fish, you can’t really answer the question “What techniques work to make sure you make time to swim?” You just do because you are.

Swaying Lanterns
(click to see original image)

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Having no fear and staying out of my head. As I became more and more skilled at my craft, I challenged myself in deeper ways but also making sure that I always allow myself to just enjoy the process. I always embrace challenging subjects, or perspectives, or try to find something beautiful to say about something that could be portrayed a bit dull. However, sometimes there are voices in your head can be self-deprecating and negative, especially when you are trying something new or hard....the key is to keep them quiet (or stay out of your head completely). Painting is a joy, always has been always will negativity allowed.

Let's Go
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I am learning the value of giving back. The challenge is that I am a self-taught artist, so I have to learn ways to translate to my students what is instinctive to me. Also, each student is unique and has an individual way of learning, I am challenged to find what is the best way to teach and speak to them so that they can truly explore and enjoy their pathway to their passion.

What makes you happiest about your art?

That I painted it.

Thanks, Julie!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

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