Flowers have always been a very important part of my life. My father built me a cold frame when I was quite young because I would start my seedlings in the early spring. I still spend hours in my gardens. My uncle gave me red poppies when my daughter was just an infant and they bloomed for more than twenty five years. The title "On the Road to Oz" seemed fitting for them. I grew up watching "The Wizard of Oz" every year on TV.
Sunflowers have always been the happiest of flowers to me. It's no wonder they were Van Gogh's favorite. I have painted various versions of them and expect there will be more to come!
My driveway is lined with butterfly bushes and I get an incredible number of butterflies each summer. There are numerous sizes and colors. "Butterfly Blooms" is a painting of cuttings from these fragrant shrubs.
The Summer Cottage is a little vacation cottage on the Damariscotta River in Maine. We had the opportunity to stay at this lovely setting for a few summers with friends. The rocks stretch out to the water and provide a wonderful area to walk and find small sea creatures or sunbathe. In the evenings we would build a fire on the rocks, make 'smores, watch the stars and listen to the surf crashing on the rocks. Many happy Maine memories have come from this place.
As a life-long resident of South Jersey, I of course, love the shore. Only someone raised near the shore can truly appreciate the unique smells of the sea, the salt air and even those annoying seagulls! They sure can be pests when sitting on the beach, yet I have always loved their graceful beauty. Perhaps it was reading "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" in the sixties that raised them to a higher level for me. I'm not sure but there is a certain grace to them. I have done several paintings of seagulls, including a more abstracted version, inspired by the book. This, however, is the only pastel painting I have done of seagulls.
Traveling to work each morning I would pass the dilapidated barn of my friend and co-worker, Bruce. Sometimes things that might at first glance seem ugly, or unworthy of being elevated to a painting, can actually look quite lovely. The colors of the barn and the fall colors, blended beautifully to give new life on paper to this poor barn which had definitely seen better days.
The first painting I will write about is "Stirrings." I was teaching at a school that was on a country road at the time. Across the street was a farmhouse. The morning after 9/11 the homeowners had hung a large American flag from a large tree in the yard. It was such a moving sight. The sun was in the background and the tree was a large, silhouette, with little color, except from the flag. Because that was such an emotional time, I didn't actually paint the scene until a few years later.
Julie K Smith
I am an artist and teacher. I have been creating art all my life and teaching it for more than thirty years. I hope you will visit my site and share it with your friends.