Since I was a child I have loved the outdoors. Being outside always lifts my spirits, and getting a scene down with paint makes a joyful moment last even longer. I am drawn to the contrasts in nature, the patterns of light and dark, the colors, and changes that occur over even short periods of time.
My favorite medium is oil paints. Something about the way they feel on my brush pleases me; each stroke adds actual substance to the painting. It's almost like playing with your food...
Normally my process involves walking around till some viewpoint grabs me. Sometimes this takes hours, but eventually I find a place where I feel like I could sit forever. I like to start with the big shapes of things, sketched into my notebook quickly, then proceed to the panel. I paint quickly in warm, complementary colors (reds, yellows and orange.) Then I paint the whole thing over again right on top in the colors I really see-green grass and trees, blue water, etc. I let some of the underpainting show through. This lends a warm, wonderful feeling to the final piece. You can see this in my landscape gallery painting "Escape." There is orange under the blue, red under the green, and yellow underneath the purples.
By this point, usually things have changed quite a bit-shadows will have lengthened, the tide may have gone out, the sky becomes cloudy. This is where my initial sketch comes in handy, to remind me what the scene looked like at first.
Oil paintings take a while to dry, so I have them long enough to be able to study them once I get them home. Sometimes I mess with them later on. That's another thing I like about oils; you can paint right on top of what you have already done if you want to. Intuition tells me when the piece is finished. It might not look exactly like the spot where I painted, but it feels like it.
I want the viewer to feel as though they had been there with me.
to view Julia's interview on "The Second Act<" go to www.ctn5.org/shows/second-act/second-act-3334